Advice for Madrid

  1. According to an ancient custom, the pedestrian streets of this city are arranged in the following way: at regular intervals along the road one slab from the pavement is removed, and the hole allowed to fill up with filthy, stinking brown water. These holes are so spaced that unobservant pedestrians - such as tourists, blind and habitually arrogant people - will plunge almost knee-deep into the slop not only once but twice, three times or - hopefully - every twelve or fifteen feet of their journey to lunch appointments and important business functions.
  2. In cafes and bars along the length of Ojala, etiquette requires that instead of placing their cigarette butts in ashtrays, customers should flick them directly onto the gleaming, freshly-mopped floor. This is not a token of arrogance, or to provide extra work for the bored Equadorian cleaning lady, but to suggest in the customer's mind a sense of the cyclical nature of things - dirty, clean, and then dirty again - as well as the impermanence of human deeds and actions. This provides for a philosophical frame of mind, and superior drinking conversations.
  3. When children attack a cafeteria, they begin at the far end and then fight their way back towards the entrance. In this manner the attack group can cause maximum distress and disruption - screaming, kicking, biting, overturning tables and flinging chairs at the legs of pursuers - as coffee drinkers, diners, waiters, cooks and cleaning staff become involved. The smallest child, who is also the most violent, keeps in his clenched, sweaty fist a spoon or fork snatched from the wreckage of a table on the way to hurl at the head of the oldest waiter - who is also the most indignant - in a parting shot as the attack group regains the freedom of the open streets.