January 25, 2006

MotoLiam does Madrid, Spain. Telefonica, Ho!

After the Qatar race, I thought it might be a good idea to check on some things in Madrid. I basically wanted to see the biggest city in Spain, and with my good friend, Nacho, living there, why not? Travelling solo is always good for introspection, and I've had a bunch of time to think about things since I moved here.
I guess I'm used to the American way of doing things; where hard work and dedication pay off! One of the things I've noticed through my travels is that Americans work A Lot! We spend all year working, lucky to have two weeks off (and even then, getting the time off in total is difficult), and we work long hours. I really expected something to happen, or pay off by now, but one of my flaws/faults is a stubbornness that rivals a donkey's. That said, I am also getting to a point in my life where I am realizing the importance of stopping and being grateful for everything I have and everything I've done. It's important to be thankful and feel everything fully before focusing on the next goal or challenge. On my way to Madrid, my flight was delayed so I took some time to have a drink and a sandwich. Europe!

As of January 1st, Spain instituted some legislature that bans smoking in public places, like restaurants and bars. That means there are a bunch of cranky people wandering around. Basically it's the same laws in effect in California, but the loop hole here has to do with square footage of the establishment. Nonetheless, I was happy to see this in the airport after my flight.

The smoking zone was a scant twenty feet from the baggage carousel! Maybe less. Ahhhh, Spanish efficiency, hahaha.

Although it's the middle of winter, and Madrid is in the middle of the country, I didn't expect to see as much green as I did during my stay. The airport is clean and very nice and here's a shot I grabbed while crossing through a tunnel to get to the Metro station.

I arrived in town and immediately got situated. I decided to go see Nacho and some of the guys at Telefonica/Movistar and here was the little roadster that made it possible. Believe it or not, it actually says "Slingshot 16V" on the tank. Nice to see the family connection concerning this engine!

The Headquarters for the sponsorship and marketing departments is in a suburban area and I think commuting through the tree lined boulevards is really nice.

The complex is massive, and I fudged my credentials to get a passcard (thanks Nacho!). Security is very tight. For such a large company in a nice building, the lobby is non-descript and a little boring.

However, the offices are bright and airy, and much more modern than I expected. People were running around everywhere and there was a positive vibe throughout. There seemed to be trinkets, dolls, and merchandise everywhere. I spent some time talking with some of the managers and saying hi. Their marketing strategy is a little different this year but I have no doubt that they'll have fun. Almost every Movistar person I'd ever met was in the office that day, so it was very nice to be able to talk with everyone and say thanks for last year's experiences. Hi Vito, Rocio, Davide, Elena, Frankie, and everyone else!

A timeless classic!

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