Tapapiés 2013

For the second year in a row, I was a loyal customer of Tapapiés, the annual tapas festival in the Lavapiés neighborhood (hence the name).   A multicultural melting pot of people and flavors, Lavapiés is home to restaurants and bars that provide a little bit of everything.  Though the tapas offered during this special festival are often less beautiful and less substantial than they appear in the official promotional materials, they nonetheless provide a chance to sample various international flavors for the low price of one euro a pop.

I visited this year’s edition twice, the second time with an equally-food-obsessed friend, with whom I crafted a carefully-thought out game plan to make the most of our trip through the 1-euro tapas circuit.

Comparing each of our tapas wish lists while consulting the official Tapapiés map

Comparing each of our tapas wish lists while consulting the official Tapapiés map

Some of this year’s grub…


in which i become an international superstar…ish

Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday of this week were part of the Fiesta del Cine, in which movie tickets across Spain cost 2.90 euros, approximately one third of their normal price at most cinemas here in Madrid.  The initiative, whose goal was to remind people of the magic of the big screen, was successful (at least temporarily), creating snaking lines and hour-long waits outside movie theaters.  This Tuesday’s movie attendance increased by 900% over that of last Tuesday.  Not bad.

In my first TV appearance since the infamous Papelbon jig episode of 2007 (which I’m hoping will need to be repeated, albeit in an altered fashion, within a week or so…go Sox!), I appeared on the news here as part of the b-roll while the reporter shared statistics about this year’s edition of the Fiesta del Cine.

Just before minute 51, you can see me chatting with friends as we waited in line to see Captain Phillips.

the sound of music

As previously mentioned, my school is known for its excellence in the STEM fields, being one of fifteen schools in the province to participate in the Technological Innovation project, which integrates virtual classrooms, smart boards and individual computers for students into the traditional curriculum.  Additionally, we hosted last year’s Robocampeones robotics competition and came away with three prizes, competing against students from various other Spanish provinces.

However, like our namesake, Leonardo da Vinci, we aren’t lacking in right-brained-ness either.  Beyond the music teacher, I already knew that both the economics teacher and the principal were talented guitarists.  But this year, we were all in for a surprise.  A new gym teacher joined the school, and brought with him his optimistic attitude and his guitar.  On many occasions during our 20-minute midday break, he has taken it out and serenaded (on vocals, too!) those who are there to listen.  These impromptu jam sessions have done wonders to lighten the mood in the teachers’ lounge, where everyone tries to remain positive in the face of worsening education cuts and legislation.

Earlier this week, the mini-concert was extra special, as a handful of other teachers joined in.  Perhaps people were energized by the spongecake that one teacher brought in from her hometown’s traditional bakery.  Regardless, the real kicker was the booming baritone of the usually soft-spoken assistant principal.  I didn’t see it coming, but I was certainly impressed.

Click here to have a listen (ignore the side conversations).  It’s amazing what a little music can do for the soul.