The Desperate Artist: Recoletos and Beyond

I forgot to add that there was a time when Colón did appear to have a little sense of harmony and that someone out there was making an effort to look after it.  It even had this cool waterfall that poured over a lip tat stretched nearly the entire block.  You could go behind it by taking one of the stairs that flanked the cascade.  They lead to a theater known as…  The thunderous roar was awesome.   Even when you drove by it in a car, the sight was impressive. It was a nice departure from your regular square.  That doesn’t mean you don’t have to go to Colon.  It chaos and that’s worth seeing every once in a while.  I probably won’t be there, but you can and should at least once.

And by then I was waling down the right side of Recoletos, which is really la Calle Castellana but with another name.  I say this because even though everyone knows this, even though everyone knows that it is the same street, they still differentiate the two. 

The Castellana, by the way, for the good and sake and for the goodness sake of me seasoned and weary readers, is the actual backbone of the city.  It runs north south right smack down the center of Madrid.  You literally have a left side of the map and a right side.  But there are parts where it takes on another name.  That happens to several major streets and avenues in Madrid. Anyway, from the stretch between Colón and the Plaza de Cibeles it is called Recoletos.  That’s all you really need to know, except for maybe that the city’s most famous literary café, though not my favorite by any means, is El Gijón.  Nearby you also can find the Espejo, which has a terrific Art Nouveau structure.  They have done something strange to the path on the boulevard.  They surfaced in a way that makes it ideal for skateboarding rappers and less visually appealing to pedestrians, but that is a minor detail. 

So there I was, classless, without a class that is, and aimless, without an aim clearly.  I had started from home and should have been back by then, but I decided to go over to see some friends I worked with.  They were going to the Micro-Teatro Por Dinero, one of my favorite spots these last couple months.  It’s in the Calle Ballesta area, where vinotheques and the gourmet restaurants and women offering all sorts of ways to make your evening a little more pleasurable come together in a funny sort of harmony.  Probably a good idea not to mix the two though.  But do as you wish.

The first thing you see outside the Microteatro is that no drinking is allowed outside.  As I read this, the waitress emerged with a tray full of beers for a table to my right.  That was my Spain.  Rules were rules.  It was what we did with them that made the difference.  We saw a couple of plays about summer.   The first one was all right, nothing special, but the second one was really good.  About a summer love between two images from surreal painting.  Maybe something out of maybe something out of maybe something out of a book or a movie I had seen before.  But well done all the same.  For three euros a piece, you could take a dosage of art and culture and move on.  I like this area because it’s still up and coming and unknown and different.  Chueca used to be like that years ago.  It was daring to go to Chueca, but now everyone goes and everyone says how cool it is to go to Chueca and now Chueca doesn’t sound that cool anymore.   Maybe it was and I just didn’t realize it.   I wondered how I could address that issue with any tact in my guide. 

Afterwards we went to bar on the corner of Barco and some other street.  I can’t recall the name right now, I can’t recall the name right…now, but I will or else I will look it up.  I swear.  It was right on the corner the…way I like a bar to be.   With the lowlying buildings and all the streets lights rising from the sidewalks and hooking out of the walls like castle torches the intersection reminded me of some other city.  Which is what I like about Madrid.  It can take on all kinds of expressions.  Some people didn’t believe when I told them this but it’s true.  So we went in the bar on the corner, on the corner where I like my bars.  I know it had name.  Just like the corner.

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