Blogs in this series

Life in Culebrón is a disconnected series of pieces about the banal and ordinary of everyday life in an inland Alicante village seen from my very British perspective.

Sunday, July 06, 2014

Keeping schtum

Everyone knows that Brits in Spain wear socks with sandals, go bright red in the sun and swill beer. One of those conversational topics, designed generally to use comparatives in English, with students is about countries. We always agree that one difference is on the Tube. In London everyone keeps to themselves, reading or simply looking grim faced. In Madrid on the other hand the babble between passengers is drowned out only by the occasional impromptu musical jam session.

I was in Madrid the last couple of days and I'm sad to report that everyone on the metro is now glued to their mobile phones. For business suits and skaters alike their thumbs are dancing across screens catching or killing things. Earphones are everywhere to block out the surrounding world. Mobile phones, the great leveller.

Madrid looked very green too. Trees all over the place and that's without going anywhere near the Retiro. Busy of course but then, if you lived in Culebrón, most places would seem busy to you too. And expensive; it's not that paying 2.20€ or 2.50€ for a bottle of beer or 4€ for a tapa is too bad really but we generally pay about half of that so the final bill can be a bit of a surprise. And exciting - flash motors on the street, odd and stylish characters in equal measure, galleries, museums and events everywhere. And, best of all in the recently renamed Aeropuerto Adolfo Suárez Madrid-Barajas Maggie popped out of one of the doors with a cartload of luggage which means she gets to eat pork and drink wine and I get my playmate back.

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