Monday, November 17, 1998
I arrived at the Paris airport early in the morning, and awaited my connecting flight to Madrid. From the air, France reminded me of Illinois. AirFrance had announced a flight attendants' strike, and my flight had been cancelled. They booked me on a later flight, so I had several hours to kill.
After an eight-hour flight, I was desperate for a cigarette and somehow found myself outside of the airport without ever having passed through customs. How's that for security?
Charles DeGualle Airport sucks! It is a completely charmless, unattractive concrete, steel, and glass eyesore with nothing to do. I didn't even bother to exchange any money. Fortunately, I was able to get out of there by 11:30 a.m.
I arrived in Madrid at 2:00 p.m. in a much better airport, although customs and the exit were very difficult to find. I caught a bus to Plaza de Colon (360 ptas). At the terminal, several hostal proprietors assaulted me. I chose one in the city center and laid down for a few hours of rest. I've just been through hell (France), and I was pretty beat. I slept for three hours.
A street view from just outside my hostal
In the evening I went out bar hopping. I suppose my "dive" bars were just too "divey." The public toilets in one of them was simply a hole in the floor with a gripped place for your feet at either side. The object of the game is to aim as best as you can and not step in it on your way out. I was pleased to learn that this was not the rule in Spain.
I ended up eating at McDonald's rather than searching for local cuisine. Tomorrow would be my 34th birthday, and I wanted to be well rested for a full day of mischief.