What a day! It started late because I slept until 10 a.m. That’s very unusual, but last night I was on the computer until 2 a.m. and I was shocked to see the time.
So when I got out on the Gran Via, my main purpose would be to find a cafe. I walked past Mc Donald’s – no – won’t go there, then there was Dunkin’ Donuts – you gotta be kidding – that’s also a no. Then, what pops up? Kentucky Fried Chicken! Are these Spaniards crazy?
Across the street I saw the Nebraska cafeteria. Huh? Nebraska? Oh, well, it looked nice so that’s where I settled for breakfast. I had two cups of cafe con leche – and had to pay twice, as in Europe, you don’t get a free refill. Then I had some type of fried bread sitting on top of a puddle of vanilla pudding and on top were strawberries and kiwi fruit slices. Hmm, not bad.
Then, back in the hotel, up on the old, tiny elevator – that causes me to say a prayer, hoping it won’t stall – I regrouped and planned the day.
The goal would be to find the apartment Torre de Madrid which would be on the corner of the Gran Via and Paseo de Espana. Why would I want to find that apartment building?
Because my friend Sumi Haru stayed in that building while she was involved in filming a movie, in which she had a feature role. I wanted to take a photo of the building to renew her memory. So I started on the adventure, by first, going the opposite way down the Gran Via from my hotel.
After many stops for coffee and to ask directions, I realized that something was not right.
Several people told me there was no such place as Paseo de Espana, and of course, I argued with them. Why would someone who lived in Spain all his/her life not know there was a Paseo de Espana that intersects with the Gran Via?
Finally, a waitress went inside and guess she had a genie in there to answer all questions. She told me to go back up the Gran Via and head to – now, where did she say? I forgot!
I went into a rather fancy hotel and waited my turn in line to ask the important question: “Where is the Paseo de Espana that intersects with the Gran Via and where the Torre de Madrid Apartments are located? Please?”
She got a map out and convinced me that, indeed, there was no Paseo de Espana, but there is a Plaza de Espana and if I continue up Gran Via, I’d come right to it.
She was right.
So far the morning was a very long walk going both ways, but it was also lots of fun, as I took many photos and watched a lot of noisy, city action. One time an ambulance tried to continue down a street, but cars wouldn’t move. A motorcycle cop got in front of them and made them move so the ambulance could get through. They are noisy!
Something else is also noisy, and those are the flashing green men lights that tell you in bird chirping sounds that you’d better hurry and walk across. About three-fourths of the way across, the sound changes and I swear they chirp, “your guilty, your guilty, your guilty.”
I came upon the Torre de Madrid apartments which are located across from a park of statues and fountains. So I took a photo of the marque on front of the building and thought it might be nice to take a photo of the inside, as well. Sumi would like that, I was certain. I got inside and saw the lobby and the welcome desk but no one was there so I just snapped a photo.
Out of nowhere a large, and very young security guard bounced out and shook his finger at me, and said, “no photos, no photos, no photos.”
“Oh, I’m sorry. I didn’t know.”
I had already began the process when I picked up the camera to delete the photo, he groused: “If you don’t delete the photo I’ll call the police.”
“Listen, you. If you see what I’m doing you’ll notice that I’m deleting the photo. And by the way, you don’t need to call the police, and further, you don’t need to tell me you’ll call the police.
See? Look at this.” I let him see the photo and deleted it in front of his eyes. Okay, it might have been a bit dramatic. But, I didn’t want to go to jail, and I can’t stand to be intimidated by some ‘whippersnapper’ a few decades younger than I.
He finally smiled and apologized so we both communicated our deep and abiding friendship, but we didn’t hug or kiss. I left.
I saw a white pigeon in the park that appropriately symbolized peace.