Monday, March 19, 2012

Monday, March 19

A day filled with diverse people creates colorful memories. One of my most colorful memories occurred in front of our hotel in Madrid, prior to our leaving for the day. Two street beggars were out in front of the church engaged in an argument--pushing, shoving, and yelling at each other in their native language (possibly immigrants). One female went into the church and found a broom--she came out gesturing as if to sweep the other out of her territory. By this time, the second female was sitting on the ground by the church gate, coin cup by her side; the first female resumed her demand that the other move to another location. Evidently, this particular spot was her territory. Finally, the first female found a spot by the second gate--though the verbal exchange continued for about five minutes--at least until the parishioners walked up, ready to enter the church, dropping a few coins in the cups along the way.

Interesting people have been everywhere. Along the plazas were street performers--musicians playing jazz, performers dressed as humans with invisible heads, and performers dressed as colorful animals and cartoon characters.

"Infamous people" have been everywhere, though none of us knew where. "Pick pockets" (the art of pick pocketing appears to be a growing profession) are dressed as professionals, commoners, and tourists. Traveling in groups, they're considered "smooth operators." According to the tour guides, pick pockets don't intend to hurt anyone--just remove wallets without being noticed. One distracts or bumps into the target, the other removes the wallet within seconds. As a precaution, we left passports and most of our money in room safes; we took paper copies of passports with ample euros when leaving the hotel.

Overall, Spaniards have been delightful! They are attractive, courteous, and multi-lingual, though many do not know English. Young children traveling with their parents are extremely well-behaved. Visiting historic sites with hundreds and maybe thousands of tourists has been most pleasant.

Here's to humanity...and to another day!

Deborah Lamm