GATEway Madrid’s Top 5 Most Shocking

By Melissa Benedek

On the street of Puerta de Sol.
On the street of Puerta de Sol.

After settling into the Madrid lifestyle, there have been some shocking moments. Submerged in the culture, we didn’t know what to expect from locals or just daily happenings in the street. A different experience was riding the metro. It’s a very good way of transportation making the reliance on a car a non-issue in the metropolis that we have come to call our second home.  However, we’ve seen some pretty unusual things.

Walking around on a Friday night in Puerta de Sol, you don’t know what you’ll stumble upon or what crazy character you will see. There may be a crowd of people watching a magician on one side of the plaza and a lady dressed like a witch standing like a statue on the other. I’ve seen impersonations of Michael Jackson, Jesus Christ, Spiderman and bird figures. There are Celtics, Nets and Heat fans dressed in Rondo, Pierce and Bosh jerseys, thousands of miles away from an official NBA court, but only a keystroke away from the livestream.

With all this “craziness,” you may ask what are the most shocking moments we’ve encountered.  Here’s a list of GATEway’s Top 5 Most Shocking:

5. Betting Money on Eating Some Strange Foods

  • Whenever our whole GATEway group is seated at a table for dinner, we have to entertain ourselves, so why not try some funny foods and earn some euros while at it. Margaux made 45 euros from Nicole Pollak just for eating fish skin. Some of us even ate shark!  As the delicacies change, so the price goes up!  It has certainly been profitable for some!

4. Do We Look Older Than We Really Are?:

  • While at Barceloneta, the beach area, some of us were offered sangría and mojitos. “3 for 10 euros!” the desperate vendor shouted.  Of course, our reply was “We’re not of drinking age!”
  • Another man came up to us and asked if we wanted to go to a 5 story club with 7,000 people. Again, we replied, “We’re underage and that sounds dangerous, too many people.”

3. Can I Have a Hug?:

  • After arriving back from Barcelona, we were waiting for the metro to take us back to Nebrija and a young English-speaking man came up to Pascal and asked for a hug. Not wanting to get pickpocketed, Pascal said “I don’t know you like that.” The guy moved along with his girlfriend laughing. That was certainly a strange encounter.

2. Paparazzi Stalks Jackie and Margaux:

  • While on the train, Jackie and Margaux were seated and a woman came up to them and started asking if she could take a photo of them.  “¿Tomar un foto?” “No, no, no”, Jackie replied. However, the lady continued to get her camera out and take a picture of them. Jackie’s hand was trying to cover the camera lense and Margaux had her head turned in disbelief. What was more strange and creepy was that the woman said she wasn’t going to post it anywhere but, rather, merely keep it for herself. Margaux replied, “Like that makes us feel any better.” The stranger wasn’t even in the same train cabin as they were.

1. People Have Pet Rats?

  • Who would’ve guessed? A pet rat. Yes, a rat with a long tail! You really never know what you’ll find on the metro. During our first week in Madrid, we hopped on the metro and there was a woman holding, petting and kissing her pet rat.  When we had thought we had seen it all, a long tail emerged from her purse and, lo and behold, her pet rat had a companion!  By far, this has been the most shocking!

Certainly these are our most shocking experiences for now. However, we’re not sure what’s in store for our last week of GATEway. Stay tuned!