Así nos ven (Periódico Elhecho)

Letter from Madrid

por Julia Terr

The morning starts off with a coffee and maybe a pastry or oily churros. What, no eggs? No

bacon? No omelet? No potatoes? And is this little thing the coffee? Where's my super-sized,

jumbo cup? How will I survive the day? I think I will need three more at least, it's so small. After a sip

of this little coffee I am transported. Ah, mmm, rich, thicker, and darker than its American

cousin it packs a wallop. And this café con leche, which features thick milk, is poured for

me by the waiter, without my having to go to the self-service station for non-fat.

I tip the cup for the last of the foam.The more foam residue left in the cup seems to

be in direct proportion to its excellence. I forget to ask for two more coffees, and I forget

the blue-plate specials in the American diners, and I go about my day.

As the sun moves above my head I start looking at my watch. Noon, 12:30, 1, 1:30, and

no one is eating. Come on, when's lunch? My stomach growls.

It's 2pm before people settle in for a meal. My urge is to grab anything quick, to eat from

a package while walking. I expect to be in and out in a flash. But in Madrid lunch is

The Big One. Soup, salad and a steak or chicken, vegetables and wine are served leisurely.

Wine in the middle of the day, how unusual, but it does go so well with the food that I stop

worrying about my watch. And after relaxing over this large meal with another glorious little

cup of that coffee, I am ready for more of the day. The afternoon zips by with a

new energy from that large meal, and I am happy until, is it 6pm? 7pm? No, it's 9pm

already and time to stop and relax with a beer, wine or water at the bar. The waiter brings

chips and olives. I walk a little and stop again for another. And thus starts the endless

evening rounds of tapas, drinks, conversations and friends. Soon I realize I don't even need my

watch. I could definitely get used to this.