At the metro stop by my apartment

(See previous post for a pre-graffiti photo)

Madrid is plastered with signs like the one above, which advertise a meeting on 29-S. For many days I was wondering what 29-S was even code for. 29 Sorpresas?

This sticker was slapped on a trash can. Yo voy!! = I’m going!!

Last week an enraged woman stormed into our school’s teacher’s lounge. Having missed the twenty-five minute teacher’s break, she didn’t have much of an audience, simply myself, a deaf translator and one actual teacher. The trade union representative ranted and raved and threw blood-red pamphlets on the communal table. Her harsh words rained down on all of us, but I only understood the very basic argument. Retirement. Mass firings of more than 10 percent of the school’s teachers. A lowered salary. Fewer benefits. An unstable future.

From my perch on the couch I listened so intently that she turned her focus on me. Finally, after a quarter-hour’s monologue, she asked, “You said you were a teacher, right?” Um, not quite. I explained my situation and the woman nodded behind serious glasses. She turned back to coaxing the other two people to come to the strike. The following day, I chatted with the teachers about 29-S. Many are torn because they had voted for a certain political party and feel as if they would be betraying what they had voted for. I didn’t really get all of the details, but many of the school employees remained tight-lipped about the polemic event. Some adamantly proclaimed that they would show up at school, but I didn’t want to assume that silence meant the opposite was true. Also, teachers don’t get paid for days they miss because of striking, which is no incentive for them to miss days of work. From what I understand, employees have right to strike but cannot claim strike days as a holiday or PDO.

September 29th’s metro forecast looks cloudy with a chance of rain, as public transportation will also be limited. The strike affects students, teachers, employees, and even shop owners. Qué!, one of Madrid’s newspapers, ran an article showing that Chinese-language news sources had tried to inform this population about the strike. The article quoted an Asian store owner as saying that he would close his shop for the day even though he was not sure of the exact reasons for the strike.

Signs of decreased service in the metro signal unrest

Tonight in Sol, as I was leaving my first Spanish class, I saw the beginnings of the strike. A platform had been erected, and strikers were wearing red, waving flags, and blowing noisemakers. A ver lo que pase mañana!

On strike in Sol