Last weekend I had an adventure of a different kind – a little less sleazy, much more English. A few girlfriends and I had been for a wander around Chueca, (the gay district of Madrid), and were enjoying an afternoon glass of wine in the sunshine on the rooftop terrace of this great food market, Mercado San Anton. We were amused, but not completely surprised, to find that we were surrounded by Brits abroad, soaking up the few rays of sun on offer. One particular group of guys (about 15 all in all) overheard us speaking English, and –clearly a little bored of each others company – a few of the bolder ones came over to say hello. We quickly discovered that they were on a stag weekend – actually rather a rare occurrence in Madrid, as it doesn’t tend to be a popular location for stags/hens – and were at rather a loose end for the afternoon. This was because they had bought tickets for El Clásico (the Real Madrid vs Barcelona football match) that afternoon and one of their party had gone to a club with the tickets still in his pocket and had – of course – lost them. All £2000 worth. Naturally, the other boys had forced him to wear a gimp mask all afternoon. A few of the guys, including the stag himself and the best man, had ordered their tickets separately so were actually at the game, but the rest of them were forced to sit around drowning their sorrows. So, of course, when they saw four English girls, they jumped at the chance of a little entertainment. And, as it had been a while since we’d heard English voices, we weren’t averse to providing it.
We agreed to have a drink with them. One drink turned into amaretto shots (something I’d never done in my life, apparently for good reason), which turned into a bottle of champagne. We were quickly forced to take over the job of ordering the drinks as their Spanish left a lot to be desired (one guy kept clicking and twirling his finger in the ear, crying ‘Garcon!’ Needless to say, we were forced to apologise to the waiters a lot that afternoon). Somehow, hours passed and the rest of the stag party returned from the match. We hadn’t intended to spend our day bantering with a group of British 30 year olds on a rooftop, but, after months of dealing with the Spanish intensity and lack of irony, it was a relief to indulge in some good, old-fashioned sarcastic humour.
They wanted to know what we were doing later, and, as we had no set plans, we exchanged details with the only Spaniard of the group, and said we might meet them again that evening. Four hours later and reeling from the randomness of the encounter, we left the rooftop and headed to Zombie, the best burger bar in Madrid, to soak up the lunchtime alcohol.
It goes a little downhill from here on in. We did meet up with them later, but I almost wish that we hadn’t. They were very, very drunk at this point and kept dividing within the group and changing their plans. Eager to repeat the fun we had earlier, we spent a fortune on taxis and club entries chasing them around the city, before we finally found them at about half 2 in the morning. Yes, the venue was fun and the music was great, but suddenly, seeing a group of guys – most of whom were married or in serious relationships – staggering around to house music, with bloodshot eyes and soaked in sweat, was no longer amusing, but kind of depressing. We had a hilarious afternoon and they provided us with some great anecdotes, but somewhere amongst the amaretto shots and the taxi fares, the magic had gone.