|This was not the barman we had, but I'm sure he'||s nice||too.|
There's another bar I've found that I like a lot, Fatigas del Querer. I can't take credit for finding it, as it was recommended to me, with the advice 'give the barmen good chat and they'll give you stuff for free'.
Obviously it was worth a try, even with my very low level of conversation in Spanish. Been twice now; the first time two of us had a beer each and got a wee tapa of chorizo and breadsticks. I didn't fancy another drink but the barman said if I had another, he's get them. Couldn't say no, so we had another beer and right enough we didn't pay for them. So I went back, ordered a beer again and this time got a dish of langoustines. Yummy, but not easy to eat standing at a bar in a way in which you can charm the barman. Drippy, slimy, legs everywhere, messy face... no free drinks.
I had been planning on going home, this being on a Sunday evening after 2 consecutive nights out, but ended up in a hostel playing beer pong. And somehow me and my pong partner (John maybe? Joe? Not sure if I ever knew) won! Didn't get a prize, you get more, technically, by losing, but I suppose it depends on how much you like chugging beer. And then we ended up in an Irish bar, drinking Heinekin, which I've decided is really not my favourite beer. I started chatting to a girl who was in the hostel group, and it turned out she, like me, wasn't a hostel person at all, just a sly tagger-along. In the way that you do, when you don't have many friends in a country that's not home, we made friends immediately, swapped numbers.
Living abroad is like speed dating all the time.
Possibly my speediest friend-making so far was the other day, my teaching partner was off sick so I was chatting to the Sub briefly before and after class. She lived just around the corner so invited me for a coffee and ended up feeding me tacos and telling me stories from her extensive experience of teaching and general life. She even knew decent Spanish music, something I'm finding elusive. And while doing all this, she was preparing dinner for her and her date to have later, all in a one hour gap between classes!
Left me slightly in awe.
Conclusions: Everyone foreign in Madrid is an English teacher. English teachers are all extraordinarily friendly. After teaching for a few years, they are extraordinarily efficient.