Madrid: La estaci´┐Żn de Atocha. Don paying his respects.

Diary from Hell

04-16-04 - 6:43 pm

Our first full day in Spain.

Before settling into our hotel we decide to laugh in the face of "Jet Lag" and the nine hour time difference between Madrid and Los Angeles. The first thing we do is take a long walk from the Port del Sol to the Atocha Train Station. Our intention is to pay our respects and to join in solidarity with those who grieve the April 11, 2004 terrorist attack. We find the sorrow is palpable, and so is the anger. Anger daggers the air striking Terrorist, Muslim and American alike.

Back at our hotel we decide to relax a little before setting out on the town. I'm reading the English translation of El Pais, Spain's leading newspaper. A letter to the editor claims to be from an American in Nebraska and he calls all Spaniards cowards, sissies, wimps. No wonder the Spanish hate us. And yet, to a native ear, the letter does not ring true. I doubt it was written by anyone from Nebraska or anywhere else in the U. S. for that matter. Why was this particular letter drawn out and selected for publication?

Late in the afternoon we strike out again, this time in the direction of the Palacio Real. Don and I have stopped near a Metro entrance to check our guide book. We're well out of the path of traffic, backed up against a light standard, bent over examining our book. I feel a sharp blow in the small of my back. I'm almost knocked forward off my feet. An elderly man has elbowed me out of his way so he can walk between me and the light post to the subway stairs, not the direct, intuitive route. He is cursing me (I think) under his breath in Spanish, a language I've not learned the curse words for. Don catches me and I don't fall. He has no idea what has just happened. When I tell him he starts to take off after the old man, but I catch him and the man disappears underground.

Our first full day in Spain.

Love, --Val

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