Madrid, Spain — August 28, 2017

I was awakened at about five this morning by what sounded like a tremendous explosion. It was very loud thunder. When I got up an hour later and looked outside, the ground was only slightly damp, so the rain must have been insignificant.

There has been no more than the very occasional light sprinkle of rain since I began this trip in Lisbon more than three weeks ago. I have been very lucky.

The night clerk is going leaving on vacation on a several-week hiking trip in Armenia later today. Breakfast is theoretically not served until 8 am, but he eats his breakfast at around 6:30 and allows me to do  the same. He makes himself a pot of coffee and shares it with me. Who knows if the person on duty early tomorrow morning will be so obliging.

Yesterday was anther day when I didn’t feel well, I didn’t feel sick, but I was tired and had no energy. I even slept several hours in the afternoon, which I never do. I still don’t know what caused it, but I am swearing of pre-packaged supermarket salads beginning today, just in case they are the culprit.

Staying in the hostel all day does not make for an interesting blog entry. About the most interesting thing I saw yesterday was a chess game between two of the Arab guys staying in the hostel. I was outside eating my lunch at the other end of the picnic table where they were playing. As you can see, the one on the left, playing black, was getting clobbered.

The third Arab is setting on the bench in the background. The three of them seem to be together. I wonder if they are refugees.

I tried speaking to one of the Arab guys staying here two days ago, but it didn’t work. I spoke to him in Spanish and he answered in Arabic. I don’t think he understood me any better than I understood him. Later I tried French with one of the guys, and that didn’t work either. The person to whom I spoke got me to understand that the only European language he speaks consists of a handful of Spanish words. It’s a shame. I have found almost all of the Arabs I’ve met in Europe to be very outgoing and friendly.

Here’s hoping that today I will feel energetic, walk to someplace exciting, and have some interesting photos to post tomorrow. One positive thing about the two days I haven’t felt well and have stayed in the hostel is that I made quite a bit of progress on the new novel I am writing.

By the way, Donald Trump’s pardon of our former Maricopa Country Arizona Sheriff Joe Arpaio made all of the major European news organizations. Most Europeans could not locate Arizona on a map of the USA, but those who follow the news know who Arpaio is.