Monday, June 30, 2008

And I thought the prostitutes were bad...

My neighborhood in Madrid is not particularly nice, particularly when the sun comes out. Groups of men congregate in the street to drink beer, urinate, and comment on passing women. With the incredible heat outside and no air conditioning, we're forced to keep our windows open... which means we're also forced to put up with the smell of urine wafting through the windows and the incessant noise coming from the streets below. Normally, this noise comes from the "karoake" bar down below (it's really a puticlub), where the music blasts until 2 a.m. and the patrons then spill out into the street and start fighting. It's great fun.

Last night we had the added joy of cars honking their horns until 3 a.m. to celebrate Spain's victory in the Euro Cup -- something which I'm sure happened in every neighborhood in every city of Spain -- and some new neighbors moving their stuff in until 4 a.m. Now, for the past year I've dealt with obnoxious neighbors up above, but these ones take the cake.

For the first six months in my current flat, the place above me was a cama caliente, meaning the place was rented out to different people who essentially had shifts in the apartment. We couldn't keep track of who lived there, or how many people lived there, since many of them only came for a few hours a day to sleep.

Then we had a couple of prostitutes living above us. They were horrible -- constantly clomping around in their high heels and bringing clients in at odd hours of the night. More than anything, it was the idea that they kept bringing strangers into the building (and the type of strangers who frequent puticlubs) that bothered me. Then one of the girls moved out and a man moved in, apparently the boyfriend or husband of the other girl. I thought things might calm down, but no... Instead of just the normal high heels and creaking bed, we also had to put up with frequent parties as the man's buddies would come to drink beer and play dominoes until 2 or 3 a.m., and the woman would spend the whole night clomping around getting them beer and food. The only positive was that when we shouted at them through our ceiling, they seemed to get the message and quiet down a bit.

Well, the prostitute and her friend left the other day and, as luck would have it, the new people are even worse. For the past two days, they have been moving things up to the flat at all hours of the day and night, seemingly stomping as loud as possible on the stairs. Last night, when the football fans had finally stopped honking, we thought maybe -- just maybe -- these new folks would decide to stop moving their things around and throwing stuff on the floor. But, no... So at 3:30 in the morning, my flatmate went upstairs to ask them to be quiet. Their response, "We're moving in." When he reminded them that it was 3:30 in the morning, and people had to work the next day, the response was, "So? I have to work, too." When he asked if they could just make less noise and/or finish moving in the next day, the response was, "I'll make noise tonight, and I'll make noise tomorrow." When my flatmate finally just told the guy he was selfish, the response was, "Yeah, so?"

It's going to be a fantastic summer...

P.S. For those of you who may be asking, "Why doesn't she move?", I'll do a post later on about the joys of finding a reasonably priced flat in Madrid... and the ridiculous demands of most landlords these days...

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