While in Spain there were two major protest. Thousands and thousands of people protested the potential war in Iraq while on another day thousands more protested because of the devestating oil spill in the Galacia region of Spain!
I am sure somewhere else on VT you will learn about the ETA. I had no bad experiences here. You might also learn about a train bombing that occured in 2004. This one I think can be attributed to the US President George Bush's antics around the world.
Spain is a perfectly safe country in my view. I was very impressive with the millions of people in Spain that protested the war in Iraq.
Madrid is the capital of Spain, so is not unusual to see demonstrations of any kind along its streets. People from all over Spain come here to complain against the central government. So U might find now and then some streets closed to let this people express theirsleves. The most common pathways are Castellana, Gran Via, Sol, Alcala...
At the pic, the last parade of the "Gay Pride" day, 3th july.
...when it comes to fab art exhibits, among other things. You know how this gentleman feels when you wander by the Prado and the sign says MANET!!! and then you realize you are there a week or so tooooo early. Grrrrrrr...;-O
There are a lot of beggars in Madrid, and some aren't honest about their poverty. While we were eating lunch at an outdoor cafe, a little old lady in rags came and started going from table to table asking for money. She was carrying a sign that said something like "I have a heart disease, please help me" in Spanish. When she came to our table she said in Spanish "Charity for a grandma..." but a staff member at the cafe yelled at her to leave. It seems mean, but something that one of the girls I was with noticed, is that for a little old lady with a heart disease, she was very mobile.
Another time, a guy in nice clothes put some lighters on our table, along with a card that said "We're a Romanian family, we're homeless, I'm unemployed, help me feed my children". Since he was obviously dressed well (khaki pants, a nice sweater), we figured he was probably lying about his poverty. So when we didn't give him any money, he took the lighters back and left.
But another time, we had a humorous incident. One night when we were eating supper, a beggar put a paper on our table that described his poverty in Spanish, and the paper also said something like "For English, flip to other side". So we flipped it and the guy had written "I am s--t". We thought it was funny, and so AJ gave the beggar a few coins just for having given him a good laugh.
I always taugh that our mothers had teached us some basic stuff. You are not supposed to lit explosives or fireworks in doors, specially in a house with more than 30 people. It's called high risk.
Well I guess at this point of the celebration no one really cared. And what happend?
Well, Samy was really excited congratulating everyone whilst she had a luz de bengala in her hand. According to her version of the story this guy cross her path and run into the the lited stick. His new shirt had a black hole, the size of thumb... and he had to leave to change.
If you want to visit the Prado Museum on sunday morning, you better go early. On syndays theentrance is free so you will find long queues, specially when there is some temporary exhibition.
It opens at 9, queues start at about 8.30...
When in Retiro be aware of drug dealers. They hang out in small groups but approach seperatly. They will try to get your attention by making a loud hissing sound(which is the american english version of HEY!) Just don't look at them and continue walking and you won't have a problem.
We were in an exchange booth on our last day and I put my ruck sack on the chair at the side of me, my friend saw something out of the corner of her eye and told me to check my bag, my purse with passports etc in had gone, the guy next to her had taken them, She very bravely grabed it back and he ran off, It was my own fault for putting it down,be ready for anything and always be on guard in these big cities
Don't make the same mistake I did. Make sure the taxi you get at the airport is legitimate. Also, wear your neck wallet and mind your valuables.
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