Monday, April 20, 2009

The Leather Jacket

Palacio Real (Royal Palace)

Majestic - that's the term I would use to describe Madrid, the heart and soul of Spain. Everything about this city looked majestic to me: its avenues, its buildings, its gardens,
the Royal Palace, the Prado museum ( known as the largest art gallery in the world). Madrid has many plazas (plaza = square, a place where people gather to have a chat ,stroll, relax) : Plaza Mayor, Plaza Castilla, Plaza de la Villa (City Hall Square) ,Plaza de toros de las Ventas - to name only a few.

I was having a cold drink in Plaza de Oriente (East Square, on the eastern side of the Royal Palace), when I noticed a familiar face . The man was standing on the pavement and looked as if he was waiting for someone. I decided to be cheeky, go to him and find out who he was. It appeared we had both attended once a beginners' course in the German language .

He told me he was waiting for his wife who went shopping for a leather jacket as she had heard from friends that leather goods in Madrid were of good quality and not expensive.
Since his wife had also attended that particular German course, and there was a chance we remembered each other, he suggested we all three plan together something nice for the evening. I responded with enthusiasm to my compatriot's suggestion.

In the meantime I told him about my personal 'leather jacket' story. I once bought a leather jacket for its bright color (not the usual brown or black, but yellowish), its softness, and its cute , casual cut. Soon after I started wearing it, I noticed some tiny pattern on the leather that made me suspect it was of pigskin origin. I looked up the label, and indeed the 'microscopic' writing on it confirmed my suspicion .

In my religion , one is not allowed to raise pigs or eat their meat . I suppose wearing leather made of their skin is not encouraged either, so the revelation 'killed my enthusiasm ' for the jacket. I didn't say a word to anyone about my discovery, as I felt uncomfortable with it.

On hearing the story, my acquaintance seemed a bit worried. He mumbled something about going to find his wife to see if she had bought any leather jacket, and left me with the name of the hotel they were staying at. When he departed, I was able to see clearly he had a 'kippa' (small, round crocheted skullcap), meaning he was a traditionally religious person.

So, it was for the second time that my cute leather jacket 'killed my enthusiasm'- only this time, it happened in the center of majestic Madrid.

Plaza de Oriente with statue of Felipe4 on horse


  1. I enjoy your stories and pictures.

  2. Thank you Lisa. You're welcome !

  3. “Nada há de mais poderoso que uma idéia
    Que chegou no tempo certo.”
    Victor Hugo

    Tenha uma semana maravilhosa.


  4. So what did you end up doing with that jacket? Do you still have it?

    I really like this story!

  5. Hi Duta :) I have been so busy I haven't had time to stop and hear your always lovely stories. I want to know what you did with the jacket too...Neat story, and as always beautiful pictures. You've seen so many amazing places :)

  6. Hi Sonia,

    Thanks for the message.
    Have a marvellous week you too and a warm hug from me.

  7. Hi Kelly, Hi Ron,

    Thanks for liking my story.
    You've both asked the same question, so here's my answer:

    I must admit (a bit shamefully) that I still keep this jacket and even wear it from time to time.

    I respect religion and tradition but in this case I was aware, still am, only of the prohibition of pork eating (which appears in the Bible and in the Quran as well- this meat being considered as unclean). As far as I know, there's nothing written that forbids using the pig's skin for garments and wearing these garments (exterior items)

    After all, the skin undergoes a complex cleaning & purifying process until it is turned into leather fit to make garments out of it.

    I guess a really religious person will keep away from anything that has to do with pig (meat , bones, skin), but I'm a 'light' traditional observant of rules, and as such I can sometimes use logic to help myself (it was a good purchase after all).

  8. I agree with your logic here, Duta. Glad you decide to keep it.

  9. What a treat to visit the largest art museum in the world. I love to sketch and paint with oils. I would have gone back day after day to see it all. I like the story about the leather jacket. Here, they are usually made of cattle skin.