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2005-07-04 12:32

Art failure and other ramblnings

There's a lot of art in Mathree, for very sure. Yesterday we took advantage of the Domingular freeness of the Prado and did Goya's paintnings of blackness, El Greco and Heironymous "Ronny" Bosch. The rest we mostly skipped - we can only take in so much.

And today we've been for a nice wander, bought stamps, written and sent our postcards, and seen some of the architectural sights while trying to stay mostly out of the crazy-mad sun. And we also bought a very excellent touriste poster of a bullfight or corrida with "Your Name Here" on the bill, which it now duly is. Hoorah for tat!

The Rough Guide we are using, incidentally, although the current edition was published in 2002, since which the interweb caf business is other than which it once was, for sure. (Neither of their top two (2) suggestions exist, in particular.) These days interweb access cohabits with (in the sense of largely having been replaced by) the voice over IP phone business whose booths are everywhere.

A fringe benefit of this trip, also, has been that the legendary sociability of mathematicians has meant we've mostly been dining alone, which actually isn't so terrible - we just take a book and all is well. (You need something, though; even good and attentive Spanish service is not exactly brisk.) We're by now a bit fed up with Krugman's economics - it's good, but it's wearingly polemical and repetitive and we get it already! So we're onto Anna K, instead, which is nice but which we suspect of being an instance of the Makey-Uppy, which we have methodological issues with.

We should have resisted splashing seven euros (7) on Max "Chuckles" Weber's El poltico y el cientfico but we didnt. In our defence, it does feature an introduction by Raymond Aron, and anyway (a) there's a lamentable shortage of Donald Duck comics. What's that about, Espain? You'd better have a good excuse! (Franco is probably the makings of a good excuse, of course.) and (b) We fancy we'll be able to read it with vair little effort:

La moral de Kant o la tica del Sermn de la Montaa se aplican a los hombres de buena voluntad.

Other sentences may require some intervention from a dictionary, but not, we feel, all that much. We need to learn Espanish anyway, since they really don't speakee the Engleesh and we might also have to go to the FDR where most of the people with real power over our towels and our soap are likely to speak Spanish, to say nothing of our hopes for Hispanophone TV as an emergency sanity-preservation measure.

But now it is after 14:00 and it is time at last to consider thinking about the whereabouts of our luncheon, yum yum. We'll be back in Blighty and going sleepybyes in our own bed tonight, although we're up to smoky old Londontown at the weekend.

This is Des bon Vladet, signing off from Mathree, sunny Espain.

2005-07-01 20:02


Lock up your sucking piggywigs, Mathree, here we come!

2005-07-01 16:05

A per diem at last!

I'm travelling at the Espanish tax-payers' espenses this time, which has amusing implications for their refundning. The appropriate bureaucrat summoned me and gave us cheques, cashable at a bank a mere 15 minutes walk away, for my daily or quotidien living espenses. Flights and hotels remain to be dealt with (at nightmarish length and complexity, for sure) but for everything else there's this glorious per diem, and given that food is cheap and I am vair vair stingy I am quite a few Zlotys up on the deal.

(Beer isn't cheap though, so that may yet take up much of the eslack.)

I haven't actually estracted any cash money from my own account, here - I had some zloties left from Italy, and I hadn't been spending much. And now I have been slightly preemptively reimbursed!

Plus the wine (Via Major, yum yum) at lunch has cushioned my anticipatory distress at estaying so late again tonight, together with the knowledge which I have which is mine that that will be that for work.

2005-07-01 11:40

About those seoritas...

We've changed our mind.

"I should think so! Say what you like it is one of the pleasures of life!" said Oblonsky. "Well, then, my good fellow, bring us two - or that will be too little,... three dozen oysters, and vegetable soup..."

[Anna Karenininina, Tolsto]

Have them washed and sent to our room.

2005-06-30 18:12

Monday Review of Stuff

It is the Lonely Planet Spanish phrasebook! It is achingly hip and includes abundant Rude Words and words for Rude Things!

It has 256 pages! None of which will tell you how a regular verb is declined! I mean, fair do's, you can hide the grammar at the back or whatever, but pretending it doesn't exist really doesn't make it go away.

As a result of this (obviously deliberate) oversight users are more than usually dependent on the phrase book anticipating everything you want to say. Which, in common with all phrasebooks, it doesn't.

(The pronunciation is wretched, for sure, but that's par for the course. The 1964 Polyglott guide runs IPA rings around it for that, which is why I brought that too.)

We will count ourselves content, however, if at least one dirty smelly hippy takes it upon itself to say "No uso la medicina occidental."

2005-06-30 16:26


You know how everyone says Spanishes in general and Madrileos in particular are unimaginably stylish and cool?

We're guessing not everybody has been to lunch in the National (if it is National) Institute of Whatever This Is the National (if it is National) Institute Of. Call it a hunch, if you like, but we'd bet cash on it.

2005-06-30 15:56

A ginormous fish!

We may be on the road, but we can't resist - we never could! - teh Giant Fish.

It's a supernormous one; don't miss it!

2005-06-30 10:37


(This week's special guest keyboard will be Spanish. Ol!)

The Easyjettning was delayed; we need to figure out how to demand our new Statutory Rights in this respect at some point.

True to form, the boss has got himself a nice hotel in the Franco monumental part of town, while we luxuriate in teh imperial magnificence of a 30 hostl in the old town, right by a bunch of bars.

So far, we have been driven from an airport to (near) our hotel, been kept awake by the eejit next door, passed (as ever) on breakfast, marvelled at the samedayness of the local-Foreign press and negociated the Metro and several mischievously unmarked streets to the fourth floor of an institute of something or other.

We're looking forward to some din-dins, at some point, for sure, and we've discovered that there is a vast enormous and gigantique array of art to boggle at on our three (3) days here off duty.

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