Tuesday, August 02, 2005

Ideas for killing time


(Left: A rainbow flag flies around the corner from Calle de la Libertad (Freedom Street). What a symbolic image!)








It has been an absolutely gorgeous day here in Madrid. The temperature and wind have been perfect to keep me cool as I have walked from one side of town to the other. I set out originally to find the Prado Museum, but apparently, the Filipina in the hotel gave me the wrong address, so I ended up walking down to the Palacio Réal instead. (I don´t know why I trusted her directions yet again....she has sent me to various wrong addresses since my arrival here.)

Across the street from the Royal Palace is a cathedral where there is an exhibit of the Immaculate Conception and its presentation in various art forms. There were many many portraits of Mary with the heads of cherubim or small babies sticking out of the bottom of her skirts. It was, I have to say, just a little bit creepy to see all those baby doll heads with Mary walking on them. There was one portrait, done this year, though, that portrayed Mary as a contemporary woman...it actually had a bit of appeal to me to see Mary like an every day woman, who could have become enlightened in some way. If only the Church could find its path to today and to the needs of our current society.

After viewing this exhibit, I found some Polish guys on the street who were selling wire sculptures that you can flip and twist to form different icons of the different planets in the solar system, ultimately arriving at a configuration called the Lotus flower. I talked with them in Spanish for several minutes and tried to convince them to participate in my film, but they said that their Spanish, English and French were not good enough for self-expression and my Polish is non-existent, so the interview turned out to be a no-go. I wished them well, bought a sculpture and left them to their world of twisted wires and small glass beads.

A few minutes later, I happened upon the Plaza de España where there is a huge statue of Don Quixote and Sancho Panza and a mixture of New Zealanders and French tourists who were crawling around on their knees under the horse and mule in order to be photographed next to the statue. I waited for them all to moan and wail about the hardness of the granite on their elder knees and then to clear out before photographing the statue myself. It seems that we all have our times of foolishness and we chase our own windmills at various times in our lives and the statue is a fitting place for us all to be photographed.

As I have been out walking the streets since about 10 this morning, I have begun to try to imagine things that I can do to pass the time. I passed a clinic a few minutes ago that offers massage, but found, upon inquiry, that all the massage therapists are out of the country on holiday. I am next considering a haircut or a visit to a cinema, the latter option being the least appealing as I don´t understand spoken Spanish well enough to appreciate a good film. I think that perhaps a coffee would be nice as I don´t particularly wish to spend the day here in front of this computer. A nap would be my ideal, but my bed is no longer my own....and is let out to a new stranger in town.

Lisbon is on tap for tomorrow and I will be doing this again most likely, only in a town that I haven´t yet learned. I hope that my hotel will allow me to check in before 2pm or that I am lucky and can sleep in my couchette tonight on the train.

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2 Comments:

Anonymous Allan said...

My 10 year old daughter is stubbornly making her way through Don Quixote at the moment (though not in the original Spanish).

I have a painting of Quixote contemplating windmills in my office over my computer.

The brother of one of my friends has two wine vinyards here in California, one called Quixote (which hasn't released any wine yet) and one called Panza (which has a great Petite Syrah in a cool bottle). He was the guy who put the Stag's Leap Vinyard and region on the map before selling it and starting his new vinyards. He's a bit of a maverick in the wine world.

While in Portugal, take a quick trip to Sintra, which is well worth a day's diversion and not too far from Lisbon.

8/02/2005 06:23:00 PM  
Anonymous Jenny Shelden said...

Hi! We're currently looking for North Carolinians who would like to write and read their writings for a local documentary about America to be filmed in Charlotte. You seem quite prolific and well-versed, would you or anyone you know be interested? See www.stffilms.com/myamerica.htm for more details or feel free to e-mail me! Thanks!

Jenny Shelden

8/02/2005 08:58:00 PM  

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