So I think Victor and Manny are Madrid socialites, or that is what Ollie and I's warped perception of reality is construing in our minds. Needless to say, they returned our call and invited us to watch Spain play at a local pub. We got ready and met them at a central plaza.
You know when you are traveling and you have to do certain cultural things. So you go out of your way to pursue these odds and ends to get a truly local experience. Like when you search for days to find the bar that gives you amazingly tasting tapas for free just after ordering a beverage. I have been to numerous place and ordered numerous tapas to get that true tapas vibe that is written about, but found myself underwhelmed at why it has become such a phenomenon. As Ollie and I ordered a beer to cheers our fellow Spaniards towards a victory in the world cup, we were given scrambled eggs with ham, seasoned potatoes and grilled onions, fried peppers and chorizo. Within 30 seconds of meeting our friends we had that tapas experience we had been chasing since the first day. A new meaning to the term friends with benefits.
So Ollie and I played our cards right that afternoon, bring the charisma and charm of the night before but with the sophisitication and entertainment to sustain a longer lasting friendship. We worked the crowd so well, that we were invited back to Manny's house to have a drink or two before going out for the night. One way ticket to local land, hop on Ollie because it's gonna be an awesome ride!!
Playing music and laughing, exchanging stories of our experiences abroad, we all noticed that we had similar personalities and joie de vivre. So why socialites you ask? Victor is going to Australia for two months just because, and Manny is going to New York for two months just because and they invited Ollie and I to meet them in Manhattan for a helicopter ride out the Hamptons for a long weekend.
I literally looked them in the eye and ESP'ed some thoughts that were along the lines of, "Don't mess with my emotions, I am fragile and will do anything for that helicopter ride". Check please!
They took us to a club opening where we were taken as guests of theirs and enjoyed the night royally.
The following day, I, in my best Spanish cultural endeavor, bought some baguettes, ham, cheese and some tinto de verano to invite our newfound friends to a lunch in the park. It was thoroughly enjoyed and my fears of diluted enjoyment of the group's company quickly dissapated into the summer Madrid heat. That night, our "socialites" had to go to a David Delfin super fashionista private party. In lamentation for the fact that they could not get two tickets last minute, we were put on a list for a hot club called Pacha as a consolation. I'm sorry, what!?
To top off the weekend in Dreamland, USA, Sunday brought us a tour of the Malaseña neighborhood, the new trendy spot in Madrid. We saw vintage shops and amazing little tiendas, a gem that is so close to my apartment but never explored. Then, dinner in a Chinese restaurant that is secretly hidden underneath Plaza de España.
We are so lucky to have met our new friends and what confidence it gives someone to embrace us so valiantly and warmly. It is almost exhausting to keep impressing and entertaining these people to keep us around. Ollie and I almost have prepped scripted conversations to make sure we keep our socialites in our good graces.
Moral of the story: Be open, receptive, kind and yourself. Be a personality, not just a person. Offer something, bring something, take something, engage, interact, exchange. All active verbs, for I believe complacence and passivity is a human's greatest vice.