Food, Bra, Papertowel, Public Transportation, and Spain vs. U.S.

Well, there is no game between Spain and U.S. However I named this post “Spain vs. U.S.” because I am going to talk about my trip experience to Spain, and observations I made with an American eye from cultural, technological, and economic differences.

I have traveled with a friend of mine, Faraz, to Madrid, Toledo, Ibiza, and Barcelona. Every day we made observations about Spanish life which I know it made us feel different.

The first observation we made was that Spanish people don’t work as hard as we do. They are relaxing all the time. Our first morning in Madrid we went to El Parado Museum, and for lunch, we went to a restaurant across the street and ordered some pizza. I know pizza is not an authentic Spanish food but we had to hurry since we had a whole number of places to visit. We spotted Spanish people relaxing at the restaurants, drinking wine and beer and smoking cigarettes from the time we arrived to whenever. When we left they were just ordering another round of drinks. Now imagine this is happening around noon on Tuesday. This was not the only occasion we faced this situation. Spanish people were relaxing all day long, in the morning, at noon, in the afternoon, in the evening, and at night. I tried to affiliate this culture to our own country, but all I could remember was the fast-food restaurants and rush of people in and out of their offices to catch something to eat in half an hour. There are only few fast-food restaurants in Spain and they make profit from tourists.

The second observation we made was that Spanish people run on a very late night schedule. In California, most restaurants stop serving food around 11 pm, however, in Spain 9-12 pm is the prime time to have dinner, thus those are the busiest hours of the day for the restaurants. Moreover, if you go clubbing around 12 am, there is no one in the clubs. Spanish people go clubbing starting at 2 am. When they go to bed, or when they go to work in the morning is unknown. I mean, they don’t go to work the next day! They go relaxing.

A decent entrée costs at least 10 euros. Now if you add appetizer and desert, it is well over 17 euros per head. Now, the price of food is different from place to place. Madrid was the most expensive place to eat. Ibiza-San Antonio was the cheapest and Barcelona was cheaper than Madrid but more expensive than Ibiza. How Spanish people make money to feed their tummy with their high class lifestyle? I don’t know.

More on the discussion of work and lifestyle habits, we concluded that Spain does not have any particular industry except wine and tourism. So, those who are successful, either have a winery or wine store, a restaurant, or a tourist shop. Nonetheless, the cities are expanding and real estate is also becoming popular.

Spanish people are either very nice or very rude. In most tourist places, we felt that the staffs who worked there hate tourists. They do not even make an attempt to communicate with you in English, but they rather show their patriotism by replying to you in Spanish. So, if you don’t know the language, you are going to have a hard time making your points. Beside these people, some of the ordinary people were extremely nice, caring, and helpful. There were few occasions which we faced nice people who actually tried to help us find our way once they realized we are lost looking at the maps; one night, one lady even let us use her cell phone to call a hotel.

Customer service sucks in Spain. This governs restaurants and clubs, and transportation services. We were trying to get a metro map in Madrid and it was five minutes past five and the information booth had just closed. Two ladies who were working there, were making jokes and having a good conversation; I approached to get a map but I was ignored regard less of the fact that a huge pile of maps were just behind the window and she could have passed me one. In another occasion, we had arrived 38 minutes before our flight departs to Ibiza; the plane had not boarded a single passenger yet nor had arrived at the gate, though we were rejected by check-in having told that we missed our flight. How retarded are you EasyJet staff?! We did not want to check-in any luggage, and the only thing we needed was the boarding pass. We were given 2 minutes to decide whether we want to pay 54 euros extra per head to book a flight for the next day. How nice of them!

Neither I nor my friend is a pervert, but we occasionally saw ladies who were not wearing a bra. It just comes to the eye, you know! Now don’t tell me when you spotted an attractive lady/gentleman and you turned your head away and didn’t look because I am sure you did look and you might have checked the private areas too. It is the human nature. You just cannot ignore it. From this observation we conclude the Spanish ladies do not like bras.

Spanish people or I guess I have to generalize this to Europeans, have a much nicer fashion with respect to us in America. Now, this could be because they have the time to shop for clothing often, or do not care about saving money and achieving an American dream in their late 20s, and spend their money on buying new jeans and tops and skirts every week.

Don’t mention that our public transportation sucks. It does really but if you say that to some Spanish person specially while being in subway, they will make fun of the fact that we drive 1-5 hours every day to get to work.

And last but not least, good luck on finding paper towels in public restrooms to dry your hand. There is none; all they have are the dryers; couldn’t we do the same thing in America and save the environment? Faraz thought about it and came to a conclusion that in America people are in hurry all the time and they just want to rip of a piece of towel, dry their hands and go. However, in Spain, people were very relaxed, drying their hands under the dryer for 4 minutes.

Happily we were not rubbed by any professional pocket rubber except being rubbed by EasyJet to fly to Ibiza. Beside that, everything else was chill, relaxing, and enjoyable. I might add something if I recall it in my brain, so keep checking this post.