The Only Blonde in the Barrio

The writings of a guiri living in Madrid

So, what’s a guiri may be your first question. It’s a Spanish slang word for foreigner, and I am a prime example of this. A blonde girl living in a very Spanish barrio (neighbourhood). I’m hoping that most people reading this have watched Little Britain and can recall Daffyd Thomas who refers to himself as ‘the only gay in the village’, hence me being ‘the only blonde in the barrio’. Thus we have, the title of this post. I thought I would share with you some very guiri moments I’ve had in the last four months I’ve lived here.

My Top 10 Guiri Moments

  1. I accidentally spilt beer on a Dutch girl at a bar, who was not impressed, so I asked the waiter for ‘unos serviettos’ (I was told this was the word of serviettes). He asked how many which I thought was strange so I said urhhh 3? He then returned with tres cervezas/three beers..
  2. Julie and I catch the same train to school every day from the same platform, but one day we were not paying attention and got on a train that wasn’t in service and it went and parked at the end of the tracks, with us locked in. We were eventually rescued by someone (cringe) and had to do what I called, the train walk of shame, next to the tracks, all the way back to the station.
  3. On the subject of public transport, I often let people know how well I know the metro, (may or may not have even done a quiz about it) but on this specific day I managed to go the wrong direction on the metro not once but twice.
  4. Another rookie moment has to be pre-drinking at a normal ‘anglo’ time and rocking up to the club at maybe 12am. But, in Spain the party doesn’t start until 2am. You will learn this the hard way.
  5. The reason I know that I look so foreign is because people only ask me questions in English, or German.. Sprichst du Deutsch?
  6. One of my most cringe moments was when I went to the supermarket quite late one night and only took one card with me, which happened to be my cash passport.. which had no money on it, awesome. I tried to explain this to the cashier but he didn’t understand, so I just left and quietly died inside.
  7. This leads onto number 7… I decided to show my face again at the supermarket, just my luck, the same cashier from my last incident and my bag beeps on the way out. He then proceeded to check my bag while as my friend Julie said he was “mentally putting me on the list for potential theft.. desperate, broke ass, blonde guiri trying to survive in Madrid”.
  8. Here’s something I actually managed to get right, getting my hair done. I knew I was taking a big gamble here, because there aren’t many blondes in Spain and I wasn’t familiar with hair vocabulary in Spanish. But, I asked for mechas rubias (blonde highlights) and they turned out great, I’ve even been back to them! Getting your hair done is ridiculously cheap here, 45 euros for a full head of highlights, toner, shampoo, cut and blow dry.
  9. Common misconceptions of New Zealand. This is to be expected, not only am I a guiri, I’m a guiri from a country that is the furthest away you can get from Spain. I’m often asked: “How long it takes to fly to Australia”, which I respond with: “No, no I’m from New Zealand; “Yes but New Zealand is in Australia?” *Face palm*.
  10. Probably the most common thing that I do, pretending I don’t speak Spanish so that people can’t force me to sign up to or buy things from them. Classic guiri.




6 thoughts on “The Only Blonde in the Barrio

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