Una noche en Chueca

On Saturday, a friend of my roommate, Lucia, was having a birthday dinner.  I was invited, so it was my first official night out in Madrid.

Things I learned that night:

  1. The metro system, while absolutely enourmous, is actually very easy to use and very very clean.
  2. In Spain, if you are the newbie in the group, it doesn’t really matter.  People accept you without question.
  3. Spaniards drink. A lot.  But no one ever gets wasted.  Their tolerance seems to be through the roof.
  4. When you’re at dinner and someone else has something else that looks good, just ask for a taste.
  5. It’s true, the clubs don’t really get started til after 1AM.
  6. Yes, some people party up until 6 or 7AM.

Lucia and I took the metro from our apartment down to the center of the city in an are called Chueca.  It’s also the gay district.  We were early and met up with one of her friends, Tony.  We each had a beer in the plaza until everyone else got there.  I don’t normally drink beer, but I’m in Spain.  I figured what the hell!!  Apparently in the summer the big thing is beer with lemon.  So that’s what we all had.

Dinner was on the roof of the local market.  They had giant pieces of plexiglass that opened and closed for breeze during the summer.  It was a beautiful space.  And for those that don’t know, dinner in Spain is usually somewhere between 9PM and 11PM.  I think by the time we sat down, it was 9PM.

There was about 15 of us at one long table.  Between all of us, I think we drank either 6 or 7 bottles of wine.  I didn’t even know where to start on the menu!  There were so many options and just about everything seemed like a good idea.  I ended up having Rigatoni with ham and mushrooms.  Lucia had some kind of salad.  People had anything from steak to seafood to just about anything really.

Everyone was asking questions.  What’s the US like?  Where is St. Louis?  What is St. Louis known for food-wise?  I answered Ted Drews, Toasted Ravioli and Anheuser-Busch.  Now they all think I drink nothing but Bud.

After dinner, we went out for, guess what, more drinks!  It was probably around midnight at this point.  So we walked to this little bar that was hidden off some street.  I was totally lost at this point.  I’m not sure I could get back there if I tried.

So it was lots of drinking and lots of talking.  It got so crowded there that I couldnt hear anything anyone was saying.  We were there til almost 2AM.

Our last stop for the night was out dancing.  And that, of course, included more drinking.  I knew I was done.  Anymore and I probably would have fallen flat on my face.  We danced til 3.30AM.  At that point, Lucia and I took a cab home.  The metro closes at 1AM.  I know a few others left, but the majority of the group just kept partying.

I got home and collapsed in bed.  But I had so much fun.  My face hurt from smiling so much.

I think I’m gonna like it here