The Real Madrid – Madrid, Spain

I slept fine until about 4 or 5 am when I woke up to the sounds of hostel life. People returning from the bars stumbling around “whispering” noisily to their drunken counterparts. Our room was pretty hot so we had left the window open so we were able to hear all the courtyard antics loud clear. I decided that I shouldn`t get out of bed so at least my body would get more rest.

I found my little maglight and read until the thing went out. Dimmer dimmer then suddenly there was just a faint glow emanating from the bulb. So I tried to sleep again and guess what? It worked! Until 7:30am when the Mexican girls let their alarm go off for a full minute before turning it off. I wiggled around for a while in bed before jumping down, sliding into my track pants and wandering off to breakfast.

Now I really know I am back in Spain with the free hostel breakfast served up with MTV blaring from the big screen in the common room. Same menu of coffee, orange juice and croissant or cardboard-like corn flakes brings back memories of Kabul hostel in Barcelona. The only thing missing are my team of Argentines, Italians and Aussies enduring their morning after hangover.

I said adios to Aesoon before packing up and checking out. I have been invited to stay with a lady from (another home share program like Couchsurfing) who lives a few metro stops up from where the hostel was. The day was hot and sunny so I was glad to finally get to the end of the long street she lived on. I could tell I wasn`t in tourist land anymore but was able to speak enough Spanish to get my directions. Elena is a translator and works for home as well so we had this mode of making a living in common. After showing me around her lovely apartment and having a coffee, we went to our respective laptops to work. And that`s where I am right now.

I took a few breaks and watched the people in the courtyard talking, playing and living a typical day. The boys kicked ball around and a little girl pushed a doll stroller while wearing oversized pink high heels. A man was trying to train his puppy to come while some women smoked while engaged in deep conversation.

I listened to the ramble of the most romantic language in the world rising up from the clusters of neighbors visiting on this fine afternoon. Every now and then, a random outbreak of singing would come from some lady who must have been in her apartment. I couldn`t see her but everyone knew she was there with her spontaneous melodies brightening up an already sunny day. Moments like this remind me why I love this culture so much.

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