Monthly Archives: October 2009

Street Art

Street Art has always interested me. I have this love hate relationship with it. On one hand, it is vibrant, clever, it shows talent, it brightens up boring day to day life and it gives character to dull streets. For me, one of the reason why I love Madrid, is for the little treasures (as I like to think of them) that you find when you are walking around Madrid. If you look really hard you can find really small ones and it makes you feel like you are part of a private joke.

A lot of the time they are also a very clever way to bring peoples attention to current world affairs and they challenge the decisions that our leaders make for us. A great example of this is Banksy. If you are not familiar with him or his work please google the name and check it out. I think you will either love or hate him. I love it, I am a huge fan.

Shop owners also allow people to spray their shop shutters so that they don’t just get people coming along and spraying horrible, talentless things onto them. I think it makes them look good too. This nicely brings me on to the other side of this argument and why I sometimes hate it. The people that do just come along and spray “tags” onto shop fronts, bus stops, walls and often peoples doors! Why do people think that it is OK, just to do something like this to someone? So here is my dilemma… what is the difference between the two? What makes one right, and one wrong? And who decides that one is someone expressing themselves through art and the other is just pure vandalism. I mean, its not fair if someone loves to do street art and they are not very good at it.

I don’t really have a conclusion to this dilemma, only that I guess there should be designated space for people to do street art if they wish. Then this would take the spontaneity and character out of it. Who Knows! I bet I would quickly make up my mind if I had paid a lot of money for a property and someone came along and painted up the side of it regardless of whether it was a master piece or not!
Oh well, I will continue to walk around Madrid and be in owe of the talent that is around. Below are some photos of some street art that I have discovered. Some is obviously meant to be there others kindly added by talented artists!

Street Art
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The feeling of experiencing new for the first time.

Storm In Madrid

Storm In Madrid

Do you remember when you were really little and you experienced something for the first time? Life was such an adventure! Being an adult means that sometimes it take a little more to experience that same feeling. However, moving to Madrid has given me the opportunity to feel like a child again (I guess not that I stopped). I am constantly walking around, saying words like a child learning to speak for the first time would do. I feel great achievement when I have a conversation for the first time in Spanish to someone. I watch TV only really understanding little bits. I am completely new to this language and so the world seems a slightly confusing and frustrating place to me right now, but I love it!!

Now, what got me thinking about this was the Storm Madrid had on Wednesday night. The sky turned an almost orange/grey colour. The lighting was hard and frequent, and lit up the sky like a firework. I count…1 Mississippi, 2 Mississippi, 3 Mississippi…Crash!!! (It was close by). The air smelt warm and dusty. The huge raindrops falling and hitting the trees made a rustling sound. I was like an excitable child. I was running around my flat, wanting to see the lighting from different angles. It was so exhilarating! I got goose bumps! It felt like my first ever storm and I loved it!

I was soon brought back to adulthood, when the rain started to leak through the wooden windows of the flat. I had to get towels to mop up the rain and to try and stop it leaking in through the bottom of the window ledge. (A quick tip for those thinking of buying a flat here in Madrid. The windows are old in some flats, so make sure you look at the windows to see if they have a seal or better still get plastic ones, however it doesn’t rain much). Once the rain had calmed down I got into bed to watch the remainder of the storm through the skylight and regressed back into feeling like I was seeing this all for the first time! Its a great feeling.

To all of you out there that feel you need a little excitement in your lives, I propose packing up your things and leaving the home comforts of your country and embarking on an adventure. You will begin to appreciate the small things in life a lot more. 🙂

I now can add my pictures!!! I got a card reader so now my blog will look prettier!

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Useful Knowledge about Madrid!

I am currently sat in a cafe, checking my emails and surfing the web with a cup of coffee on a Monday Evening. I look outside and I can’t believe my luck. I NOW LIVE IN MADRID!! How lucky am I? I should be pretty quick as my battery is dying, is it cheeky for me to plug it into the power point? Hmm I might try it! (I wonder how I say “can I plug this in” in Spanish?

Anyway let me tell you a little about my almost two weeks of being here! I should start with what I have discovered that I never knew about Madrid. Well my first thing is that it is so difficult to fresh milk here!!! Yes, I was outraged when I found this out. I was all up for getting back on the plane, until it was pointed out to me that I am in the centre of a big country with not many grassy areas for cows to graze and its very warm. I will forgive Madrid this time 😉 UHT milk takes its getting used to. It is quite an acquired taste I assure you. Tastes good in coffee though!

The second thing is that It is illegal to drink on the streets of Madrid even though you see lots of people doing it! I know this through first hand experience and luckily I managed to escape, however some of the people I was with weren’t so lucky! If you are caught they will take some form of identity and give you a ticket. Now they only process 20% of these tickets, however if you are one of the unlucky ones, for your first offense they make you sit in a 3 hour lecture about why you should not drink on the streets. If you are caught a second time then its a €300 fine… very steep! Not sure that it is worth it! However you could be lucky and you might never get caught! Just keep this in mind if you choose to partake in a little ‘Botellon’ as the Spanish call it.

The third thing is that the huge fee you have to pay if you choose to be self employed in Spain. Now you might wonder why you would want to do this. Well If you move over to be an English Teacher, many companies will ask you to register as self employed. This saves the company money as they don’t have to pay your national security, plus if they can’t get you work then they don’t have to pay for your time when you are not working. However you still have to pay your social security even if you don’t have work. Its a little catch 22 really. Anyway the fee is €183 if you are under 30 and €249 if you are over 30 years old. On top of this you have to pay 15% tax which isn’t bad but combined it is a huge chunk of your wage. I know this because I have been employed by a teaching school but I can only work for them as self employed. I only found out about the fee once I got out here…Sneaky, sneaky! However If you are reading this and are a native English speaker, don’t be put off as there are many schools and colleges that will employ you and give you a contract so that you only pay 15 %

Its still warm and light outside, I might go for a walk before food! I have to be careful now with money as I have to last until next month to get paid again! Lots of walks I think. I don’t think I will be doing the cheap option of drinking outside anytime soon!



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