Monday, June 23, 2008

Day 132. Shopping day!

Saturday is the big shopping day in Madrid, because shops are closed on Sunday, so I fulfilled one of my European stereotypes by dragging the wheeled shopping basket from store to store, close on the heels of Maria Eugenia. First we went to the supermarket, to buy dry goods, seafood, and meat. The place was packed with marujas, which is the nickname given here to the older ladies who do the shopping for the family. They have the reputation of being tough as nails, and indeed one of them gave a lot of grief to the butcher for giving her the wrong type of meat for the cocido, and for attempting to give her meat with a lot of fat. I was fascinated by the variety of exotic foods on display, so I had a great time.

After the supermarket we came back, unloaded, and went out again to the vegetable store, to buy fresh vegetables and fruit. Maria Eugenia lives in fear of running out of food, so we bought enough to survive until the end of the summer. This time we took with us the little princess, Aida, whom I first met 12 years ago as a puppy and who is now an older lady but very much the owner of the house. For those of you who knew Figaro, you should know that he got his operatic name to continue the tradition started by Juan, whose Dachshunds were named Radames and Aida.

Once again we went back to the house to unload, and then Juan and I had to go out one third time to buy milk (about 15 liters) and drinks. Wow!

In the afternoon we attended an end-of-the-season lunch with Juan’s service club. They met in a small town south of the city, in a hostería that is famous for its vast cave system (most of it abandoned and in disrepair). The company was genial, everyone was super friendly, and we had a good time. I, of course, had to try the specialty of the house, and ended with a quart of a suckling pig on my plate, fried to a crisp on the outside and juicy and tender in the inside.

After dinner we went to have coffee at the house of one of the friends (who lives clear on the other side of Madrid, so it took forever to get there). The house is beautiful and has a big garden, so we sat, and drank, and chatted there for a couple of hours before coming home. Yawn . . . bed sounds like the best place to be right now.

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