6/6/10: Madrid, Spain
Back in November after the original “Homeless Kevin” post appeared on the blog, I received tons of fan mail. Most messages were simple one-liners (“You are awesome,” “I want to be you,” “I want to have your babies” – you know, that kind of thing), but one stood out. It was from an old man named Bruce, and for some reason it stuck with me:
“Kevin, excellent post. It reminds me of one of my very first movies, Die Hard. Original, powerful, action-packed. Your post will probably inspire generations of blogs to come, just like my movie did. My advice: ride the coattails of this post someday by giving your readers a sequel. Regardless of how much time you put into it, it will make a lot of money. Look at me now. – Bruce W.”
Bruce, I didn’t forget about you. Millions of fans, here’s your sequel.
I woke up this morning expecting a full day of sightseeing with my lovely wife, but lo and behold she was not feeling well. Maybe it had something to do with the ridiculously-large sandwich we had two nights ago.
We were scheduled to check out of our hostel by noon, but unfortunately Zhou was in no mood to do so. We reluctantly paid for another full night that we wouldn’t use, that way Zhou could spend the day sleeping in a comfortable bed. Me though? I still had a schedule to keep. It was, after all, our last day in Madrid, and the sights weren’t going to see themselves.
My plan was to go enjoy the hustle and bustle of the famous El Rastro Sunday flea market located on the south side of town. It being a flea market and me being a scrooge who doesn’t buy crap, I had no plans on actually shopping. Then the voice of a dying woman croaked from the bed, “Kevin, will you please buy one thing and bring it back for me? And win one for the gipper…” And with that, Zhou fell back asleep.
What was I to do? I had to go get something. I headed out the door, confident in my abilities. First, I passed Plaza Mayor, where they were selling lots of stuff that boring people collect, like coins and other boring stuff that I’m too cool for. No way was I going to buy before I even got to the actual flea market.
I then passed a polar bear.
And arrived at El Rastro. Wait! A polar bear?! What in the world was that doing there? I felt like I was on the set of LOST (and on that topic, nobody better mention anything about season 6 unless you want me to hurt you). Oh well, moving on. Upon setting foot at the outskirts of the market, claustrophobia began to kick in. It was so crowded!
But I had to brave the conditions and bring something back to my wife. I pushed forward.
What to buy though? Everything around me was crap. I could buy some cheap knock-off Asian fans.
No, Zhou is Asian – she’d know they weren’t real. What about paintings? We’ve been collecting paintings ever since Africa. Good idea, me! I headed to the street with the paintings.
Ooh, no good here either. They were all either too expensive or too ugly. Maybe some gas masks. Zhou might appreciate those – I’ve been having stomach issues lately.
Too much information? Sorry. Didn’t end up buying one anyway. I ended up walking past everything one could possibly imagine, except things people would actually want to buy. Before I knew it, I had done two full passes of the main street, and was still empty-handed. I thought I’d just have to trick her by buying something on the way back to the hostel. What is that lovely tune? I heard an interesting trio of street musicians playing in the distance, and immediately thought I could purchase one of their CDs for cheap. I rushed to the noise and – nuts! – some lady had just bought the last one. You can tell because her butt is in my picture.
I sullenly walked back through Plaza Mayor, but still managed to smile in front of the famous statue in the center of the square.
I hung my head in shame all the way to the hostel door. As I looked up to put in the key, something beautiful appeared just a block away. Gold shone above a building like a light from heaven – the perfect thing to bring back! I ran into the shop, waited in the long line and a few minutes later I had it. Zhou was going to love me!
A nine piece chicken McNuggets combo with an additional cheeseburger. My lunch from McDonald’s! I ran upstairs, glowing, and awoke Zhou as I barged in the door. “Want some McNuggets?” She coughed, sneezed, then took a look at me. “I think I’m going to be sick.”
Oh well… At least I tried.
Picture of the Day: The giant moves his light post toward the lower left corner of the Tic-Tac-Toe board. “X!”