Madrid, Spain — August 31, 2017

Tonight will be my last night at the hostel. Tomorrow I pack may bags and make my way by subway to a hotel within walking distance of the Madrid airport terminals. The day after I take a mid-morning flight to Newark Airport as the first step in my flight back to Phoenix, Arizona. United Airlines has me routed from Newark to Denver and then to Phoenix. At check-in, I will try to get the clerk to switch my second flight to a direct one from Newark to Phoenix. Given the rotten treatment I have received from United in the past, they owe me much more than that small favor. My next trip to Spain, in January, is booked with Delta Airlines.

I mentioned that I have a Greek roommate in our eight-bed dormitory in the hostel, but I didn’t mention that two nights ago we had a third roommate, who stayed just one night. He was an Arab-Berber from Morocco and a quite interesting person. He said he works guiding Italian tourists in his home country and has dual French-Moroccan citizenship. I can testify that he speaks English, French, and Spanish fluently, because I speak those languages. He must speak Italian if he guides Italian tourists. He said that he also speaks  both Arabic and Berber, the languages of his two parents.

He left yesterday morning driving his car northwards toward France. He told me he was picking up four French people here in Madrid who had hired a ride with him through a ride-sharing service.

I did start the day intending to go to the Prado Museum, but I didn’t quite make it there. I left the hostel early, and the museum doesn’t open until 10 am, so I thought I would walk the 3.3 miles. I underestimated how tired my old man’s legs already were from the walking I had done the previous days. Before I reached the Prado, my legs were hurting, and I decided to stop for my favorite Spanish second breakfast, a café americano with a fresh crescent roll. I then took the subway back to the hostel. I managed to take two photographs before I stopped walking.

The first is of another former industrial site converted to a park. The building on the right is an abandoned factory building of some sort. It is in poor condition, standing there deserted with broken windows. However, the land around it is luscious, green, and a pleasure to walk through.

Many of Madrid’s streets are shaded and a pleasure to walk along. The street shown below, the Passeo de las Delicias, is a one-way street with four traffic lanes plus a very wide parking lane on the left. However, it carries a light traffic load, and the mature shade trees on both the right and left make walking the sidewalks a pleasure. If one gets tired of walking, as I did, there are well-shaded benches on both sidewalks.

Now a digression. I am currently re-reading William Faulkner’s novel The Sound and the Fury. I read it once before when it was assigned to I our English literature class when I was an undergraduate university student. I had forgotten how difficult the book is.

I remembered that the first chapter is challenging, because it is the stream of consciousness of Benjy, a mentally retarded male who is unable to speak and whose thoughts jump at random to different times in his life, often in mid-thought. I thought I remembered that the novel got easier to read in Chapter Two. Wrong! Chapter Two is the steam of consciousness of a mentally disturbed man and jumps around in time at random intervals. I have many more pages to read before I finish Chapter Two.

Faulkner gave us some help by putting some of the time changes in italics. When read the novel in college, my professor told me that Faulkner wanted to used different colored text to indicate the different times but that the publisher nixed that idea because it would have been too costly. I haven’t verified that story.

I also managed to complete a few more pages of the novel I am writing. I am far from having William Faulkner’s skill however. My novel will be much easier to read than some of his are.

Today it’s off to….. that hasn’t been decided yet.