Maybe using the word “trip” isn’t the best way to describe today’s visit to my local post office (“correos“), but it did take 15 minutes to walk there. It’s located on the far side of my neighborhood, passing the metro, 2 markets, and a bunch of shops and bars. But the weather was super nice today, nearing 60ºF/16ºC and sunny so it was a nice walk.
I went to send some Spanish magazines to a friend in England as well as a couple of birthday cards to family in Switzerland. It was a beautiful day and I just made it before they closed! Invariably I pass someone I know when I’m out-and-about and am obliged to stop and chat, but that didn’t happen today, luckily, due to time.
Leaving the house in a bit of a rush at 1:15pm, my first stop was to “Los Chinos” to get two birthday cards for my nephews. The Chinese woman eyed me up and down, seeing that I was carrying a white plastic handle-bag, into which I could potentially stuff stuff and walk-out without paying. Surely this happens all-too-often for them. But then the woman looked up at my face, recognized me from my many previous visits, and gave me a smile and a nod. It can be hard choosing greeting cards for ANY occasion, but I was in a hurry. Good thing the boys are young so they’re not too picky. I like that the cards are produced by European re-forested lands, lands grown and re-grown strictly for their wood produce, kind of like wood farms, I guess.
Next, through the neighborhood, passing the bars on the left, bars on the right, left, right, and left and right again on my way, all the old guys, standing, having their glass of wine, small caña beer, vermouth, munching on free tapas, and the other old guys at the bar’s sliding glass window on the sidewalk while smoking their stogies – cigars. There are always a few women in these places, too, but far fewer. Plus, on a Tuesday afternoon, most Spanish women – those whom aren’t retired or unemployed – are at work or at home making lunch, while their men, be them unemployed OR retired, are drinking-it-up at the local bar and chatting with their lifelong buddies.
There was a bench in the shade next to the post office so I took a seat and feverishly fill-out the cards and address the envelopes. There are old people everywhere; some in wheelchairs and some plodding along with canes, some being assisted by younger fold and others tugging their daily (personal) shopping carts behind them on their way home to lunch.
It’s 10 minutes to 2pm and I walk in to the post office, expecting a long line – but there’s not a soul at-the-wait. Thank goodness! I step up, ask for an envelope for my magazines, fill out the address, put the wheels in motion, and pay-up. The lady attendant is really nice. MUST be nice to work from, what, 7am to 2pm ONLY! (okay, they probably work until 2:30pm) THESE are “funcionarios“. Remember how the US Postal Service was a government job? (yes, it still partially is). That’s how it is in Spain. EVERYONE wants these secure, well-paying jobs, no matter how boring they may be. I leave the post office and take the long way home, rounding the building to find 5 postal workers at the back loading dock smoking away and enjoying a nice pre-quitin’-time break.
My original plan was to go to the local bar for a nice, cheap, “menú del día”, but decided to head home as it was already after 2pm and the bars would/might be busy by this time. I’ll go tomorrow to my buddy’s place, “Cafetería Javi“. I recently noticed he lowered his “Menú del día” prices from 8.50 to 7.00 Euros and this worries me for the “health” of his bar. Tomorrow, I’ll find out what the story is.Share THIS on Facebook!