Spain map:
New Years Eve
Jan 01, 2001

These older journal entries were hastily typed in at local cybercafes where I was paying by the minute.  Please excuse grammar mistakes or typos. 

New Years Eve
I was a little depressed this morning about not having an incredible NYE.  It was a good party, but not great.  After 3 million people on a b each last year my standards and expectations are unreasonably high.  I think that Ill remember this New Year with humor at the fact that I was out until 5am, 6am, and then 7am on the nights leading up to New Years Eve and then on the New Year itself I was too tired to stay out particularly late.

I saw people wearing wigs around town.  I ask a man working at the hotel about the wigs and he says typical.  I assume that it is a bit of a Spanish tradition to wear wigs on New Years.  Of course, I head over to Plaza Mayor and buy the biggest blonde wig that I can find.

I have a very early dinner intending to get some sleep before heading out.  I am joined by a Canadian girl waiting to meet her friends.  She's very upset about having her wallet stolen.  I'm then joined by two American girls.  Were the only people in the restaurant, the Spaniards are of course having a much later dinner.  I leave this group to try to get a quick hour or two of sleep.

I prepare for the night ahead by putting on wig and then filling a plastic bag with a bottle of Jack, a couple of cokes, sparklers and a tambourine.  Minutes after heading outside the American girls see me, recognize me despite the wig and join me again.

The main festivities are supposed to be happening in Puerto del Sol so we heard that way.  We go into a bar on a small side street just off of Puerto del Sol.  Its 10pm and the bar is relatively quiet.  We head to the back of the bar to a small area with only one table.  Somewhat jokingly I comment This must be the dance floor.  Before we get out second beers it has become the dance floor.  We are joined by 8 tall, thin Italian women wearing very tight revealing clothing.  One of the American girls comments They have to be strippers and she was probably right.  I'm bored of the American and despite the wig I don't think that I'm going to get anywhere with the Italian strippers so I move on.  The plaza is still quiet and I head into the next bar. 

I see four very attractive girls in leather trench coats.  I join them and find out that they are from Australia.  Around 11:30 we head into the square and the crowd is growing.  The Australians start singing some traditional Australian songs.  The Italians next to us answer back quite a bit louder, there were about 20 of them, with some songs in Italian. 

At midnight the square was full, but not overly full.  The actual moment of the New Year lacked a lot of drama because there were no fireworks and if the chimes did ring they could not be heard over the crowd.  On or around the New Year we all lit sparklers, ate grapes, are were soaked with the champagne flying through the air.  Quick kisses with the Australian girls to bring in the New Year and minutes later the crowd starts thinning a bit.  About the time that the first champagne bottle was thrown across the crowd the Australians decide to leave.  They are heading to some small party on the outskirts of Madrid.  There are two statues or towers in the middle of the square.  Everyone is now throwing their bottles at these towers and broken glass is flying everywhere.

When the Australians leave I am welcomed into the crowd of Italians.  They are more than glad to share some of the Whisky.  In turn they offer me a drink of whatever sweet alcoholic beverage they are drinking.  Two cute Portuguese girls say Hi and I move over to their group of friends.  Around 12:30 the riot police show and start pushing back to the crowds.  I'm not sure if they're there to clear out the streets or simply keep people out of the center where they are likely to get hit by flying bottles.  At 1am in Madrid it is New Years in Portugal.  The Portuguese go nuts.  A short time later a tall man of unknown origins walks by and pushes the Portuguese girls.  One of the Portuguese guys shoves him back and then starts yelling in Portuguese.  I grab him and restrain him a little bit to prevent a fight and it was a good thing because the police grab the other guy and start clubbing him on the back and the back of the legs.  I saw him walking around later so apparently he wasn't really hurt nor arrested.  I end up hanging out with some Mexicans for a while.  The Portuguese are heading off to some club and in retrospect I should have joined them, but I didn't know what it was or where it was.  I am tempted to now go to the International party hosted by the cute Spaniards (last journal entry) but am not sure if it is 5 minutes away walking or 5 minutes away on the subway which is now closed.  The original group of Italians grab me and I join them again for a while.  I lose them when I make a quick bathroom stop.  The crowd has really thinned out, so I head over to a bar that I knew.  The bar is full of people, but less full than it was on Saturday. 

I am not sure that wigs are only typical for the tourists.  What the hell, it was fun, but I decide that its time to get rid of it.  I head over to my hotel which is only a half block away.  I fully intend to drop off the wig and head back out looking for an all night party.  However, when I see my bed I realize how tired I am.  A bit overly drunk, under-inspired and absolutely exhausted I decided that Ill sleep for 10 minutes and then head out.  I wake up in 10 minutes and there is no way that I'm going anywhere. 

In the morning I'm reflecting on my standards for a great party and that fact that even several hundred thousand people from all over the world drinking in a plaza is not good enough.  I realize that it is going to be very very difficult for me to throw a birthday party absurd enough to make me content.  As such, I'm having my 30th birthday party in that place that has mastered the absurd.  Thats right, I'm going to Vegas!  Who's coming with me?

Tomorrow, I'm moving to a new neighborhood in Madrid in search of new adventures.  The old neighborhood was something of a combination of the Marina and the clubs of SOMA.  The new neighborhood is more like North Beach meets the Lower Haight.

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