Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Madrid! Not just my name...

Madrid! Madrid! Madrid!!

Next in our trip was Madrid. For obvious reasons, we had to go.

The city is a big, beautiful and crazy. Be forwarded people, the MC Hammer pants are coming back.

Liquid Madrid, ain't that the truth. (Zing!)

The elevator in our hotel was once again teeny tiny. Our room itself was pretty nice though. We did however step back into the 1950's.

At least we had a nice view! Still we saw some gorgeous building, plazas and statues all over the place. It's an understatement to say the neighborhoods are beautiful. We simply enjoyed strolling around and checking out the sites.

One of our first stops was the world famous Prado Museum. There we were both in awe over the world famous paintings. We saw works by Renoir, Matisse, Rembrandt, O'Keefe, Dali, El Greco and more.
Things here are constantly be bustling. One moment you're walking to the subway and the next thing you know, hundreds of bicyclers race through the street. We still have no idea what that's about. All we know is that a the bicyclers took over the road. They were having a blast, many even wearing costumes and noisemakers. No one seemed to understand what it was all about. Being confused was sort of the norm for us in this city.

The city was full of lots of surprises...like this giant baby head in the train station. No clue.
We did lots of shopping, though most of the high fashion prices were out of our range. Still, it was fun to get ideas. One thing we did buy lots of was Lays Pollo y' limon potato chips. Yep, roasted chicken and lemon chips. They were delicious! We planned on bringing a bunch back and figured we'd just get them later in the trip. Unfortunately Madrid seemed to be the only place that has them. We'd missed out on our chance. Sighhh, I still dream of them.

While the city was nice, after a while we weren't really sure what to do. There was only so much window shopping and museum viewing we could do. It was at this point, we realized we didn't need to do anything. This was a vacation! So we found a nice cafe and drank the best we'd sangria ever, while people watching for hours. The attitude in Spain is very relaxed. You can sit at a restaurants sipping on the same glass of wine for hours. They won't hand you a check until you ask. We of course went for more than one glass! Though it was nice, the city was a bit overwhelming. Though the Spaniards were nice, not as many people spoke English in Madrid as did in Lisbon. We found this out the hard way especially when ordering food. We were getting sick of 'Mixtos' sandwiches...or ham and cheese sandwiches so we tried to order something different. What we ended up with was bread with baby worms on it. Turns out it was baby eel. Turns out baby eel don't feel so good in your mouth.

What does feel good in your mouth is a 'calimocho.' It's a Spanish drink. Half rioja wine, half Coca Cola, all delicious! Honestly, try it. Corey was initially skeptical, but changed his tune quickly. It tastes like a cherry coke.

Overall, Madrid is an interesting city. It's definitely the 'big city' and not some 'quaint town' that we found we enjoyed. Still, the art, architecture and nightlife was great. In fact, as we were heading to the train on our last day at 7:30am people were still out partying in the bars from the night before.

Though it wasn't my favorite city we went to, I'm still glad we went to my namesake. We give Madrid 3 out of 5 museums.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008


So you want to know about our trip, huh?

First off, it was amazing. Spain and Portugal are beautiful, romantic and a lot of fun. Our trip started with a 10 hour flight to Amsterdam where we had a layover before flying to Lisbon, Portugal. Because we left a couple hours late from Chicago, we missed our flight to Lisbon and got to hang out in Amsterdam for several hours. Unfortunately, we hadn't planned for this, so we didn't really know what to do. Mostly we just walked around and saw tons of sex shops and prostitutes.

Eventually though, we made it to Portugal. We had heard that Portugal was known for their pastries. They weren't kidding. The bakery's known as pastelerias are EVERYWHERE! You can imagine how amazing the town smells. At one point we were taking a bus from downtown to our hotel. It was a 15 minute drive tops and yet we counted 20 pastelerias along the way. The city has beautiful cliffs along the outskirts and small winding cobblestone streets throughout it. Not realizing there was a bus that would take us there, we took the long way up, and I do mean up, to a castle at the top of the town. We are weaklings compared to the Portuguese. We even saw old women walking up these huge hills. Granted, she was pretty slow, but she was doing itThe climb was exhausting, but worth it! The journey itself was beautiful, plus Castelo San Jorge is really cool. Being in a city with that much history was very surreal. (Surreal ended up being a word we used often on this trip). On our way back down to the center of the city, we stopped at a quaint restaurant on the cliff, overlooking the ocean. I had spent the previous 6 months learning to like seafood, so I would enjoy the food on our trip. Good call! We had some amazing sea bass that first day, of course with a glass of wine. This was just the beginning of our two week wine binge.

After some shopping (lots of great shoes in Lisbon), we went out to dinner. Well, first we got lost in the Barrio Alto. It's an area in the hills that is supposed to be known for it's partying and great bar hopping. We couldn't find it, so we asked a police officer for help. He gave us directions and then put us in a cab so we wouldn't have to walk anymore. We thought he'd explained to the driver where we wanted to go, but the next thing you know we were racing through the streets. The driver didn't speak a lick of English and kept repeating, 'Dinner?" We tried to tell him where to go, but it didn't work. This would be the beginning of the language barrier we'd have to learn to deal with.

In the end, he dropped us off in an area full of restaurants. Here, the waiters stand outside and woo you to eat at their place. Most of the menus were similar, so we just looked for a low cost menu and a waiter who wasn't too pushy. That's when we found Adrien. He was the first guy to show us the menu and then back off. We ended up having a wonderful dinner outside on the patio. He was surprised that we'd be willing to elect a black man to President (interesting).

Along with a bottle of wine, we ate a traditional Portuguese dish called, "cataplana." It can be made with chicken, pork or fish along with prawns, clams and potatoes. It's cooked and served in a copper globe and is served simmering in an amazing sauce. The only weird part about dinner was the street vendors. Several times, guys would come up trying to sell us stuff, right as we were eating. I can understand the roses, but it got ridiculous when they tried to put the tiara, glow sticks, rings and spinning light toy. These guys were also all over Spain.

Adrien was much more helpful than the cab driver. He showed us exactly how to get to the Barrio Alto. And then the real party started. The beer everyone drinks is called, "Super Bock." It's not exported and has a super high alcohol content. We bar hopped for a while and then ended up at a great bar with a cover band. The first song they played was a Lionel Richie song. Right there you knew I was sticking around.

We ended up befriending a Turkish woman and Brazilian man. Those two could put away the drinks. They kept buying us Super Bocks. Now, we can drink, but we couldn't keep up with those two. We'd only be half way through our beer before a new one was set at our table. It was crazy town!

Though our calves were sore, we loved Lisbon. The people we extremely nice, the food was great and it was beautiful.

Overall, we give Lisbon 5 out of 5 pastries!

Sunday, October 19, 2008


Sorry for the lack of updates. Let me fill you in on why we haven't posted anything lately: home from vacation, regular shows at Laugh Out Loud, off-night shows at Laugh Out Loud, helping Briette move into her new place, writing a little more for our run of shows at The Annoyance Theater, rehearsing for that run, getting promo materials made and produced for that run, having an original song composed for the show, writing and filming videos to promote the run, teaching improv classes, working weddings, not to mention still having a bit of a life and hanging with friends.

In the meantime, I know we promised photos from the trip. We're working on it, but until then we are slowly but surely posting some of them on our Facebook pages which you can access here: Corey's and Mo's.


- Corey and Monique

Wednesday, October 08, 2008

And we're back

Well, we're home. Our luggage...not so much. The flight on Monday from Barcelona included a brief layover in Rome. We made that connecting plane, but our bags did not. To add to the fun, the airline we flew, Alitalia, did not have another Rome to Chicago flight the next day. So, fingers crossed, our luggage will arrive today. At least they'll be delivering it to us.

The trip to Portugal and Spain was amazing, we'll blog all about it later. We're currently decompressing and getting back into the regular routine. Also, our digital camera base, which serves as it's charger as well as the dock to upload the files to the computer, is in the checked bags. So we can't post any of the awesome pictures from the trip yet, either. Just know that we're home safe and sound, and we had an incredible time. Details are forthcoming...

- Corey and Mo