A friendly Brazilian saves the weekend.

Trip Start Oct 06, 2004
Trip End Ongoing

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Flag of Spain  ,
Sunday, March 26, 2006

When I woke up early this morning I realized that I have been in Madrid for exactly two months, the time has practically flown by. Looking out my bedroom window I found a clear blue sky and people walking around in shorts and t-shirts. That's just great I thought, while looking at the thermometer showing 25 degrees Celsius, here you work long days during the week (am I already back in the rut?), and when the weekend comes closer you end up catching a flu with a bit of fever and a bad cough. I felt absolutely crap, and went back to bed instead of joining the happy crowd outside. A few hours later I woke up again, this time with a rumbling stomach. The fridge was pretty much empty (my roommates are in a small village just outside Valencia, down by the Medeterrian Sea, and I didn't join them because I'm sick, aaargh!!!), so I put on my jeans and Colombian t-shirt before I wandered off towards Colonia Jardin, the closest neighborhood to where I live. The sun pretty much hit me as soon as I got out the door, and it made my headache and snotty nose even worse. I walked over to Carrefour, the big supermarket chain, but found it closed. Great, it's Sunday, that means pretty much closed shops here in Madrid. I continued walking around Colonia Jardin looking for a corner shop, but I found none. I could of course just have taken the quick Metro trip into the center of Madrid, but didn't feel like it. I just wanted some bread after all. Defeated I started the long and strenuous 20 minute hike back to where I live. But instead of trekking the normal route, I decided on the rocky detour along the fringes of Casa de Campo, a huge green park basically right on my doorstep, with lakes, a zoo, a teleférico, an amusement park to name a few. In fact it takes me a bit more than an hour to walk from my apartment and through the entire park to get into Príncipe Pío (more or less downtown Madrid), so lets say it's decent sized. Anyway, just next to the park entrance, I found an open corner store. I walked inside and couldn't believe my luck, I found freshly baked baguettes, huge olives and jamón ibérico. Time for a feast I thought, after all you haven't spent a dime this weekend after staying both Friday night and the whole of Saturday inside feeling sorry for yourself. And then when I walked by the beverage cooler I almost fell on the floor. This guy actually sold Guaraná, and not just any Guaraná..., nooooo, but my favorite Brazilian Antartica brand. Wow, it's the first time I have ever seen it outside Brazil. I quickly emptied the cooler and walked over to the cash register.

"That will be 8.75 Euros."

"Shit, I forgot my money at home."

This is just great I thought. Here you almost turn a crap weekend into a great one, and then you forget your money at home, making it a super crap weekend instead. No way I would survive the 40 minute return walk to my apartment and back to the corner store. Why me???

"You're not Colombian are you?"

"No, I am from Norway, but I went to Colombia last year. I bought the t-shirt in Cali. Great country."

"I know amigo, my wife is Colombian. I am from Boa Vista in Brazil, that's why you will always find Guaraná in my place. And Pony Malta (pretty much the national beverage in Colombia)."

"I went to Brazil as well. I loved the country almost as much as the beautiful women and the Guaraná. I even went to Boa Vista on my way to and from Venezuela. Great little town by the way."

"Boa Vista??? Mentiroso, mentiroso, de estómago fogoso (liar, liar, your stomach's on fire)."

I had a great chat with this friendly Brazilian who I never got the name of. We talked about Latin America, Spain, Norway, how we both had ended up in Colonia Jardin, women, travel, the World Cup in football coming up this summer, and of course the Guaraná market outside Brazil.

"Hey amigo, why don't you just come back and pay me some other day. No problem, I trust you."

I gulped down two Guaraná and walked out the door with a big smile on my face. I immediately felt better, my headache was almost gone. I found myself a huge cork tree inside the park and sat down to smell the flowers (with my snotty nose), just like Ferdinand. The baguettes were still piping hot and the Guaraná icy cold. Soon my stomach was full and I laid down for a read. I had brought Papillon with me, a book I have read a good few times before. It didn't take long before I drifted off to a Latin American adventure once again (no comparisons by the way).
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