09 June 2005

So diverse – yet much of the same

I’ve returned from hectic travels and have seen and heard enough to last me for at least a few months. Jetting through major cities in different countries sounds like quite a diverse experience, but actually provides a surprising number of comparative opportunities. For example, both Madrid and London are candidate cities for the 2012 Olympics. Although officially they’re both excited about the opportunity, my observation showed a dissimilar level of fervor. London is demonstrating a half-hearted attempt to rally for its bid by placing announcement stickers haphazardly in random public places. However Madrid, much like a crazed high school sophomore dying to get elected to student council, is spending half of its city budget on various promotional tools. Stickers, cowboy hats, brightly lit neon signs; they have it all. When the free Shakira concert ended last weekend with an explosion of fireworks, the multiple massive TV screens showed a close up of a large edifice that apparently was on fire. People stopped, concerned, but the flames died down and what did we see? A giant, multicolored sign declaring "Madrid 2012." The crowd cheered wildly; I almost cried from the cheesiness of it all. But if the cities are graded on effort, Madrid gets an "A."

In other news, Coldplay is promoting the hell out of their new album. The band is plastered all over in Madrid, London and Amsterdam; they’re in the metro/tube, bookstores, CD shops, taxis, and escalators. I’ve seen so much of them that I actually had a dream about Chris Martin the other night. And no, I’m not going to share the details.

I’m sure there’s more to discuss but my brain is starting to overheat. Must…sleep…soon.

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