I'm here in Madrid for the holidays and just thought that I would give an update.
I was not in the center where all the action was to ring out the new year in Sol (the center of Madrid), but it was full on packed with tons of people.
I spent time with my señorita bonita y su familia in a traditional Fin de Año dinner "sitting around the table setting" with family. This is the second time I have done that. I mention this as it's oppposite in the US.
In the US, the New Years mentality that I grew up with was that you wanted to be where all the action was at the stroke of mid-night. Everyone kissing in the streets, fireworks, champagne, everyone wearing their party hats, cover charges at restaurants that can cost some serious $$$, etc...Like in NY or Vegas where I spent a couple of New Years eve's at.
Those, are much more exciting for me as that is how I was "programmed."
Nevertheless, the family dinner was great. Smoked Salmon, bread (pan), shrimps and jumbo prawns (gambas y langostinos. sooo delicious, you don't even know!), turkey (palvo), red wine (vino tinto), champagne, were the main dishes. I was stuffed. My cholestorol has shot up to great new heights, man...but it was scrumptious.
After that, we just hung out with the family and then popped in a DVD- "Corrupccion en Miami" otherwise known as Miami Vice in the states.
Christmas was another family event, only a lot more family, a lot more food, and 4 hours south of Madrid (in Andalusia).
They actually haven't had their "gift giving" Chrismas which is otherwise known as Reyes Magos (Magic Kings) which happens on Jan 6th. Historically, this is when the 3 kings gave their gifts to baby Jesus, thus they celebrate this day for exchanging gifts.
Carmen and I decided to give ourselves a present and exit stage left to Roma, Italia for about a week. Damn straight, we'll do as the Romans do when we get there
Just a quick note on coffee.
I like to see myself as visionary. Came from my parents, I guess.
So, 6 years ago when I was first in Europe and especially here in Madrid, I was missing Starbucks of all places.
I started thinking, "you know what? I'm want to open up a chain of coffee shops where people can walk around with a cup of coffee in their hands. Hot coffee or fancy drinks like Starbucks, The Coffee Bean, Seattles Best, etc..." My Spanish friends were like, "yeah right, no one in Spain does that. They drink a quick coffee for .50 cents at any cafe or bar and they're on their way. Who'd want to pay $1.50-$5?!"
I kept insisting that it would be a hit here even if it were just for tourists and students from the US. So, I kept mentioning this to them for 2 yrs, but of course knew nothing about opening up that kind of business at the time.
Fast forward 2 1/2 yrs later. I was at the first Starbucks store opening in Madrid, and more than 6 years later, there is a Starbucks on practically every other block so it seems! Shiznizzle!
The price for a regular black cup of coffee (tall= small) is 1.95 euros. That's equivalent to about $2.60 US, or even more than what it is the the US!
So, had I started up my little coffee store franchise in Madrid when I first came out here, I would have been responsible for creating the coffee trend of walking around with a cup of coffee in your hand! I'm certain of that!
Would my coffee shops have been more popular than Starbucks here in Madrid? Things that make you go, Hmmmm...
I guess the lesson here is when you have a great idea, ACT ON IT!