They love their smokes these Spaniards. After football lighting up seems to be the next favourite sport. Some guys even walk around puffing on what must be at least a Churchill-sized cigar! I have no problem with other people indulging, but it is just way too bad that the ban on indoor smoking, especially in dining/drinking establishments, is being almost totally ignored in Madrid (as well as, I understand, in Valencia which I visited last week). Coming out of most pubs, tapas bars or night clubs, you end up smelling like you’ve not washed for a week! There is really nothing to do, but to bear it.
Another issue here in the Spanish capital is prositution. Since my arrival last Monday, I’ve spotted at least 2 to 3 special news reports about it on local TV. Part of the problem is that the ladies are too close to the regular hustle of other business. At least in Amsterdam, for instance, you know exactly where the red light district begins and ends. In Madrid, prostitutes are right in the centre of town, in the main shopping areas, on Calle de la Montera (en route to Puerta del Sol) on one side of the Gran Via, and tucked away on Calle del Desengaño on the other. Desperate for a fix, last year some residents even took to posting secretly filmed videos of prostitutes, allegedly going about their business, on Youtube. Clearly, that didn’t work.
Just imagine these women standing around soliticiting on Oxford St, in London, or on Pitt St, in Sydney. For that is exactly where they are in Madrid.
Frankly, I’ve no problem with prostitution; indeed, it should be legal everywhere and propery regulated. But it ought to be discreet, ensconced in a particular corner of town. The question then, of course, is: exactly where?