Imagine the scene, I am sat on the metro, it is 6am on a Monday morning in Madrid which is not only the capital of Spain but a European capital renowned world over for, amongst other things, its fashion, would you expect I would see?
- Busy commuters on their way on work in slick suits
- A crowded train with everyone rammed up against each other
- Everyone with their nose in the free paper so they don’t have to speak to anyone?
No! Is the answer! This is what you see in London and what I can easily imagine you would see in Paris. But, this is Spain! And how little I clearly knew about Spain’s attitude to life (which is a great one I might add, just as long as you’re not trying to get anything done).
The train was not packed first of all, I had a seat! I rarely get a seat on the tube in London, least of all at 6am – which I might add would a bit a little late for some London office workers to be starting their commute to work. The average journey to work in London takes an hour. 6am is the first train in Madrid, and the last is somewhere around 3am! (Because,of course, that fits in perfectly with the Spanish hours of partying! The Metro to and from the club – oh the life of luxury!) In London the tube closes around midnight and opens at 5.30am. So you use the tube to get to the club but then it’s the nightbus all the way home! Because, let’s face it, in London you’re gunna be tucked up in bed by 3am after a night out – the party has only just started at that time in Madrid.
And if anyone on this train was going to work instead of just coming back from a night’s clubbing then they certainly weren’t dressed like it! Unlike us, the French don’t especially dress up for work. Most of my colleagues wear jeans to work every day. Can you imagine a teacher wearing jeans in the UK? And I’m willing to accept this rule applies in Spain; maybe it’s a main land Europe thing? But then surely in Paris, in the swish offices around the Champs-Elysées, they wear suits to work? Yes surely! And so surely they do in Madrid? Apparently not! Either that or literally no one was going to work at 6am. From my long-weekend experience in Spain it would appear the average day never starts before 10am.
Also, no noses in free newspapers ignoring everyone either. Very few people, in fact I would say nobody was reading a newspaper or a book; no one was doing emails on their Blackberry/iPhone; no one was as much as looking at jotted notes in a notebook to prepare for the days meeting. No! They were all either sleeping (partying for 12 hours solid tends to make you tired) or they were chatting in that very friendly way Spanish people do which involves shouting across people!