Arcticterntalk.org

The blog of a travelling psychiatrist and football lover. Who happens to be a halfway decent photographer. Takes a cynical view of the world

Archive for the day “February 23, 2016”

24 Hours in Urban Madrid 


Spain is one of many countries that I love and regularly visit . I always leave with a sense of wonderment as to how so many old men survive into later years to smoke their cigarettes and drink their beer.

A recent short trip to Madrid strongly brought this home.  There are few countries and recently I can only mention Switzerland where cigarette smoking is common. Here in Spain most streets smell of tobacco and piles of people are commonly visible outside their places of work puffing away. Even I was caught by surprise and maybe a little horror to find an ambulance parked in a Main Street and some of the paramedics and maybe a medic even openly smoking away.

 The alternative way to die young might be through some of the strange fast driving that seems obligatory here. Even the taxi drivers give a good impression of the Indianapolis 5000 and their are plentiful taxis everywhere.


 Madrid I am told is a beautiful city but I was reminded that even beautiful cities have urban areas that cannot be described as delectable. My hotel is described as being near the city centre which translates into a 30 minute metro trip I was told . Although this does seem rather long .

Lastly I was reminded of a few of the quirky things that are common  in Spain. Serving lukewarm coffee seems the norm brewed for extra strength overnight and lukewarm food. None of the breakfast items could truly be described as hot food.

 

 

This is Spain and this is what they do. I love coming here and hope one day to see some of the more beautiful architecture for which Madrid is renowned .


 For now some of the more interesting urban architecture will have to suffice. The large office shaped block with an interesting spiral external staircase and the block of flats with colourful balconies.

  Making even this urban area look interesting. Finally a Mexican restaurant caught my eye as I was searching for street graffiti and graffiti art of which curiously there was none. The first European city I can recall for some time where these are absent. A large painted mural advertising La CheLinda. No idea what the Spanish version of Mexican food might be like but would be tempted to try based solely on their external efforts.


Has Iberia breached any safety regulations? And why such awful service?


Contrary to a few recent comments I am not a negative person nor grumble my way through life. However my flight on Iberia yesterday from Heathrow to Madrid  does go down as one of the worst ever. I do not often fly with them and plan never to in future but I would throw out two questions.

A generic  first question. Is their service always terrible and terrible beyond belief.  A more specific second question. Are they breaching air regulations by having no one seated in an exit row?

Let’s start with the second question. An Airbus 321- at the first set of seats adjoining the emergency exit on the right hand side of the plane there was no one seated there. On the left there was one person. I do not know the specific rules but suspect that someone should be seated on either side to operate the emergency exit doors. During the flight I saw this a number of times and it was not a case of someone temporarily departing for the lavatory. The seats on the left here clearly show no one seated nor apparently in theories in front and behind. imageimg_1926img_1925

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The service was dire. There was no welcome aboard. Okay that will not kill anyone but this was a pattern of the flight. No service. No one offered any food or drink  and when a few of us asked other passengers it seemed a trolley had been zoomed so fast up and down such that no one was aware of the service.  I noticed as it was one of the few occasions where I did want to buy food and drink. In fact the only other time I saw anything resembling service it was the duty free cart being pulled through .

A visit to the toilets situated at the rear of the plane showed clearly the activities of the three crew. One was eating a nice looking meal that I presume was a business class meal. One had her head in an IPad. The last one was reading. All seated at the back hidden from sight of all the passengers. Zero attention to the passengers. Zero attention to anything except themselves.

I have not witnessed such a pathetic attempt at customer service and plan not to again with Iberia. But again the safety angle comes to mind here.

 

The last attempt at customer service was almost amusing. A stewardess at the exit to the plane I presume saying goodbye but it sounded like a repetitive chant that one might hear when a record gets stuck. A voice devoid of inflection or effort. Put simply I don’t think Iberia bothered yesterday and maybe that was why the plane was half full at best. My recommendation? Avoid Iberia until they start considering basic customer service as the norm

Anyone with any thoughts?

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