Volver a Madrid: a recuperar la ciudad

Una crítica constructiva a Madrid ciudad y región.

Transportando mi bici vieja

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Me pasé el lunes o martes de esta semana intentando reservar una plaza para llevarme mi bici vieja a Montpellier, donde estaré este año trabajando. La había llevado el lunes a mantenimiento, ya que llevaba más de 4 años sin tocar. La traje de Edimburgo en el 2007, donde la había comprado en el 2005.

Pues no se pueden llevar bicis sin desmontar. Así que contacté con pedalibre y enbicipormadrid para ver si sabían de alguien con una funda o cómo conseguir una caja. Al final una antigua madre del colegio de mis hijos tenía una funda que me ha prestado.

Aquí los consejos recibidos por los foreros de pedalibre y un colaborador de enbicipormadrid:

#1: pilla caja de una tienda, que suelen tener

#2: pilló una caja de una tienda, pero si no, Nacex te la vende. Esta persona la envió con packlink y le costó 95 euros (en el 2016) enviarla a Francia.

#3: Hazte una caja de cartón a medida. Desmonta todo (manillar, ruedas, pedales) y lo juntas con cinta o cuerda. Y buscando cajas grandes (tipo armarios de Ikea), háztela a medida y esta vez sí, cierra con cinta de embalar. Si no, se pueden usar bolsas de plástico duro (mejor las de saco de obra o las azules de ikea), pero protegen menos. Bien hecha, a prueba de bomba.

Mi problema ahora es el peso y que no me veo con bici y maleta. Vamos a ver si quitando un candado que está en el cuadro me apaño mejor. Y voy a rescatar mi mochila de interrail si me da tiempo que creo que será más fácil que con una maleta de tirar, creo…

Las redes sociales por las que conocía estas organizaciones y esta madre del colegio que es más fuerte que un cañón han permitido estos logros, junto con la imprescindible ayuda de la tienda de bicis de mi calle: 27bikes.

Un niño pachucho me complica todos estos preparativos, pero ¡podemos!


Written by volveramadrid

14 enero 2017 at 12:35 pm

EDAR gene

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So I think my talk on breast sizes and Asians triggered Celine to find an explanation, or she potentially has it: EDAR gene. Impressive

Written by volveramadrid

9 diciembre 2016 at 9:05 pm

Publicado en evolution, research

sexism and research on sizes?

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Yup, that’s what we talked for during coffee break. And sure, it was me who brought the subject after sharing yesterday’s experience with my colleagues at Musée de l’Homme. It was fun to share the idea of whether actually Japanese/East Asian women have maybe less diversity of breasts, according to the salesman at the bra shop, and that after a few generations in Europe, third generations had the same diversity, in this man’s experience selling bras.

But I also saw some reactions, like a male colleague saying he could sadly not participate in the conversation, but being quite interested on the topic of why men evolved to look at breasts. I know, it was a way to engage in the conversation. A female colleague knew a lot about clothes sizes and about some relationship between mimetism and the evolution of male appeal for breasts (I seem to recall because this was all in French). And then someone else pointed that the salesman had caused me some problem because the salesman told me something like I was unusually asymmetric (in breast sizes). Sexism?

I still find the topic interesting and surely, somewhat amusing (like all sexual traits). We thought the data are probably not available, but here’s some research on why humans may have evolved to be so amused with breasts.

Written by volveramadrid

7 diciembre 2016 at 10:34 pm

Publicado en evolution, research

Easyjet again

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Well, I thought I may write this down in here, now I have linked to my Twitter account. A couple of weeks ago I ranted about the delay I had thanks to Easyjet, just another low cost company. As I stated there, after being quite faithful to them during my 3 years of weekly commuting between Paris and Madrid, they started losing my loyalty about a year ago. Firstly, they cut the number of flights between Madrid and Paris, so that I had to experience the joys of Transavia and in January this year, even non low cost companies like Air France or Iberia, or… Ryanair. My first flight with Transavia was delayed, but not 3 hours. They provided us with a bus to get us to a few places in Paris. Back in 2015, after having booked all my flights and receiving a cancellation, I complained via Easyjet’s facebook, receiving the most impersonal response ever.

Secondly, a flight from Paris to Madrid in September 2016 was cancelled. We were treated like rubbish. Yes, they offered an alternative. 36 hours afterwards. Reason for the cancellation: technical fault. Thanks to partners, friends and family (and Iberia), I was back “home” with my kids about 14 hours after the cancellation. Exhausted, having helped lots other people. Taking a train, bus, sleeping 4 hours, waking up, bus, train, bus, flight. I received the standard compensation: 250 euros. Whoever is interested can read what they should provide in “2. Right to care” and I can assure that nothing was provided while we waited for explanations and alternatives. I claimed at least 250 more for my time, energy and exhaustion. No answer has arrived from them.

Thirdly, two weeks ago my flight was delayed. Charles told me on the way to the gate that the delay was slightly over one hour. It turned out to be, due to technical faults again, over two hours and a half. At some point it seemed as if it was going to be over those three magical hours, when they have to reimburse 250 euros. They really seemed to hassle us (customers) so that they were under those three hours. No bus was provided after arriving after 2am at Paris Charles de Gaulle airport. I shared a taxi. They said they would reimburse those 20 euros. I claimed more. One more time, no care was provided.

Last Sunday, I did what may be my last Madrid to Paris with easyjet. Perfectly on time. All was fine. The stewardess in Madrid Barajas were nice. But yet again, I felt the rush. In order to board more quickly, those on rows 15 to the end had to walk downstairs, take a bus for what could be the shortest bus route ever, and surely, walk up the steps into the plane. I had told my daughter I would call her again when I was on my seat. I couldn’t do it. Why? It took forever to shuffle customers to actually board efficiently, so after entering by the back door, I arrived to my row to find no space to place my small suitcase. A stewardess who was not very happy (I wasn’t happy either) came to make space for me. By the time I sat down, the plane had started to move.

So easyjet is cetainly not the nice low cost company of which I used to think more or less highly. Unhappy customers and unhappy staff. But surely it is providing benefits to whoever has optimised it so tightly, the guy who applies the algorithm, the guy that decides no more planes can be bought in case something goes wrong with a plane, or more staff to sort out what go wrong.

Written by volveramadrid

6 diciembre 2016 at 9:36 pm

Publicado en complaints

Tagged with ,

Just another day

with one comment

Sometimes life is surprising. Like this morning, when I finally decide to go into the shop specialised in lingerie around the corner from my flat in Pixerecourt. A man manages the shop! Turns out he thinks my size is not 90D but 85F, and he has rarely seen such breast asymmetry before… I’ve got “heavy” breasts and a small back. Hmmm….

Well, I’ve pretty much always known that my right breast is larger than my left one, but I think time has enhanced this difference, this asymmetry. It was in London 15 years ago with Charles in Selfridges, I think, that I got into that size. Back then I had to admit what I was hearing in another dressing room: that Spanish shops knew nothing about bras. I’d say in their defence that maybe it’s because they’re not really focused on bras, but on the whole lingerie business.

Okay, so besides differences between breasts and between countries, there I finally come out of the shop, having bought two bras. Why two? Well, because this bra connoisseur has informed me that for my breasts, the most suitable cup is balconette and not corbeille. Now, I’m sorry, corbeille is basket (or bin in the email program). The distinction is subtle, but according to the guy, one rises more quickly or covering more breast than the other. What else have I learnt from this guy? As someone we know would say, here are two interesting facts (to me): the first fact is that this guy thinks the best makers for my breasts (F cup, not light, small bust/back) are English, German and apparently, a very good American one (cannot recall the name, nothing I had heard before, and I know a bit about bras).

The second fact is that, because of being Spanish and being somehow baffled about why the Spanish bra industry (if there is such thing) does not provide for all sorts of breasts (like mine) and some prejudices in Europe about Spanish and Italian women having larger breasts, he tells me that the smallest cups (A-B) are commonly called in the sector (and in France, at least) Japanese bras. And that first generation Chinese/Asian women had small cup sizes, but second and third generations have the diversity of breasts that he has seen across European women. So, as an evolutionary geneticist, is this true? And if so, is this adaptation or hybridisation?

You see, you learn something every day…

Right after that I headed into the tube, not without being demanded by a homeless/beggar to help him trundle his stuff inside the station. So there was I, happy as a lark with my bras, helping carrying what could be a house down some steps.

Written by volveramadrid

6 diciembre 2016 at 8:41 pm

Publicado en Uncategorized

Tagged with , ,

dear easyjet

with 2 comments

I used to like your airline quite a lot. Back in 2010, our family flight from Madrid to London Gatwick had to come back to Madrid after going through an electric storm shortly after taking off. It was too late to reroute or offer an alternative, but early the day after all passengers who wanted to continue with their trip were provided an early flight. True, we didn’t sleep enough. The hotel where we stayed did not provide breakfast so early. But we felt easyjet was doing their best to accomodate for our needs.

I’m sorry to say that seems no longer to be the case. I’ve been flying back and forth between Madrid and Paris for over 3 years now. For the first two years, I was quite okay with the company. But when I went to do my 2015 winter bookings, the 9:30 flight Madrid-CDG had been eliminated for several months. I used facebook to ask what happened, since it was always busy. Even the ground stuff in Madrid were surprised. Useless reply.

I started using your competitors, as much as I loved booking all my flights in one go. I had a flight cancelled weeks in advance. That’s when I got the useless reply. Poor planning? Some computer algorithm decided that that flight was better cancelled to use the aircraft from Krakow to Luton, say?

In august 2016 I booked my latest batch of Madrid-CDG, CDG-Madrid. The first return was cancelled as we were entering the finger.  It was the first time I learnt I had the right to 250 euros, so that was a change for good (or so I thought). I not only requested those 250, but after spending hours at the airport and helping other passengers, going back to where I stay in Paris and taking an early flight through Orly to Madrid so that I could spend time with my kids and not 36 hours in a hotel near the airport, I claimed transport, breakfast and time and energy. Sorry, I didn’t have receipts for those.

I only got 250 and no reply to the expenses complaint. Over a month afterwards I received my cheque, issued by an American bank through The Netherlands.

Yesterday, Nov 20th, my flight was delayed. Initially a bit over 1 hour. Then to over 3 hours. I got to know the guy at the information desk. We arrived according to Paris airports at 01:30, ETA was 22:55. The initial expected departure after the delay was 23:45, but it really looked as if you were trying not to make it beyond those 3 hours. No matter what’s stated on your website about delays and cancellations  about “Right to care”. I was not given any care either at the airport or during the flight. No food or drinks were provided, no telephone calls or emails or faxes, no transport upon arrival. I shared a car with someone who was staying near me in Paris. Our flight was not re-routed, just a “technical fault”, like the cancellation in September 2016. Your expenses form asks for a question. This is not a question, it is a complaint. I have filed both.

I believe the patience, time, energy and sleep deprivation of your passengers are worth more than money, whether 250, 125 or thousands. Should I not hear from you briefly, I shall proceed legal actions agains such customer abuse.

Yours sincerely,

Angeles Rodriguez de Cara

Written by volveramadrid

21 noviembre 2016 at 5:14 pm

Publicado en complaints

Tagged with ,


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No sé muy bien por qué, yo he sido siempre, o casi siempre de la filosofía de trabajo de grupo, o de lucha colectiva. Y en este 2016 con esta traca de eventos aparentemente inesperados (Rajoy, Brexit, Trump), vuelvo a pensar que es lo único que nos queda. Y lo pienso como madre, como ciudadana, como investigadora.

El martes en Madrid fui al encuentro participativo con la alcaldesa, Manuela Carmena, el concejal de distrito, Nacho Murgui y su asesor, Gorka… no sé qué, y muchos vecinos de todo el distrito. Había tenido un día denso y no había conseguido sentarme a ordenar lo que quería decir, y tenía muchas cosas en mente: educación, cultura, deporte, ocio, participación, urbanismo, vivienda…

Me acerqué con Sara a la primera fila y fui la primera en hablar. Y no cerré con una pregunta, porque no tenía una, tenía un listado. Así que puse mis experiencias, mis vivencias, lo observado, a su disposición. Y la de al lado y otros me decían ¿y la pregunta?…

Pues aquí va una idea sobre usar los espacios ya existentes para educar, culturizarnos, hacer ejercicio, socializar y… participar.

Para fomentar la participación, además de educar o concienciar en que tenemos “poder” como ciudadanos, necesitamos espacios donde participar y asociaciones vecinales o culturales.

En el distrito de Retiro, no hemos tenido hasta la reciente apertura de la biblioteca en la casa de fieras, una biblioteca municipal. No hay por tanto cultura de bibliotecas en este distrito, salvo quizás por aquellos que usan más la biblioteca de la comunidad en la calle Dr Esquerdo. Necesitamos ese tipo de espacios, y dado que el distrito está bastante “consolidado”, que tiene un buen urbanismo, mejorable, lo que resulta escaso para tal población es los recursos culturales, deportivos y educativos o formativos, tales como la nueva biblioteca. En París, por poner un ejemplo, cada barrio aproximadamente, tiene un “centro de animación” y una biblioteca, además de espacios para las asociaciones (casas de asociaciones). Algunos colegios están abiertos por las tardes, de 18:30 a 20:30 aproximadamente, para clases municipales para adultos, desde francés para extranjeros hasta yoga, pintura, etcétera (el catálogo de actividades está disponible en cma.paris.fr). Hay multitud de conservatorios y allí donde no hay, hay asociaciones para la enseñanza musical. El precio del material musical y sus reparaciones es considerablemente más bajo dado el volumen y el aprecio que hay, construido tras muchos años de educación musical. Si estos espacios no podemos conseguirlos porque ya no hay solares, podemos usar aquellos espacios disponibles, como los colegios, públicos, concertados y privados, los centros de mayores o la escuela de música, abierta solo por las tardes, para proveer estos recursos educativos, culturales y deportivos.
Dado el encarecimiento de la cultura, el teatro, el cine y posiblemente también las exposiciones, ven su público reducido a ciertos niveles económicos. Además, los circuitos culturales, sobre todo música, teatro y cine, están sometidos a una economía de mercado y rentabilidad. Para ver cine de calidad en familia, la filmoteca Doré, tiene una gran selección de películas y un programa semanal de cine en familia. ¿No podríamos compartir esos recursos? En la nave Daoiz y Velarde se va a proyectar cine, pero una “excursión” familiar al cine, salvo en la filmoteca, puede resultar inaccesible a muchas familias. ¿Podemos conseguir un escenario por barrio, donde proyectar cine para todos, escuchar música clásica o moderna así como ver producciones teatrales?

Written by volveramadrid

18 noviembre 2016 at 3:50 am