A cafe by the beach, Cadiz.


jimmy Hogg

03 Mar

Tuesday, March 3rd, 5.30pm

A cafe by the beach, Cadiz.

I’ve got to say, I can’t help but think that this is a pretty good
place to write. I’m a stones throw from the beach in a pretty cool
cafe, people are drinking cocktails and coffees and beers, smoking
cigarettes and generally being pretty Spanish. As I’d heard from
someone before, the accent here is a little bit hard to understand-
it’s basically as though my Mum has drank a bottle of sherry, learned
Spanish and then decided to omit seventy percent of all the
consonants available in a sentence. Yesterday, this fairly unusual
man eating liquorice approached me to help me with directions, I
didn’t need any help at all, but I was looking at a map so it’s
understandable that a zealot of navigation, as this man clearly was,
would want to help. He basically looked at the map and said, “We’re
here,” which I knew because it’s basically the central square of a
fairly small town- but he wanted to help, or wanted to talk to
someone or- and then it dawned on me- wanted a slice. Of me. This guy
was properly, massively gay- the third or fourth gay guy that has
‘helped’ me with directions when I didn’t need any help. Funnily
enough no heterosexual women have come to my aid under any
circumstances even though I’m making a great effort to look stranded
whenever one comes into view. The world clearly lacks balance.

Anyway, this dude, who has an incomprehensible accent, not helped by
the fact that he’s continually munching on a yard of red liquorice
asks me where I’m from. Usually, in Spanish, this would take the form
of, “De donde eres? But in this moment it sounds like, “E-o-esh?”

I tell him I’m from England but that I live in Canada and he smiles
and drools and chews and slurps up the sticky red saliva he’s
over-producing. Then I decide to tell him that it’s really cold in
Canada right now, unlike here, it’s warm here, I like that it’s warm
here because I don’t like the cold. Warm is good, cold is bad. He
agrees with me and continues to masticate and then, again, he tells
me where we are on the map and I say I know, because the place I’m
staying is really close- I’m telling him that as a way of
explanation, not because I’m excited for a no strings attached
holiday bumming. He then attempts another full sentence, which I have
to get him to repeat about four times because I have no idea what
he’s saying, I can’t make out a single word. I eventually understand
that he says, “I’m happy that you like my city.” At no point did
I say anything of the sort, but I let this one go and say, yes, it’s
cool and then I say a quick thank you  for the directions (?) and
goodbye and back off not giving him a chance to continue the- I don’t
want to use the word conversation- interaction…?

walked off and realised this guy was high as fuck, there’s a lot of
people smoking hash here and very high unemployment and people tend
to ‘burn one down,’ whenever the mood takes them. I actually walked
by this fella again about twenty minutes later and he was sat outside
a patio with a friend drinking a coffee and eating a pastry. I waved
and smiled and strode on buoyed by the knowledge that at least one
person in Spain definitely wants to have sex with me.

arrived here yesterday afternoon, I booked into a hostel for two
nights, I’m going to stay a third because I like the laid back
attitude here and it’s right on the beach and the weather is perfect.
As I was reading and napping on the beach earlier I wondered why the
fuck I’ve decided to go to the rainy North of Spain to walk from one
place to another for thirty to forty days. It’s the plan of a man who
needs to get better at making plans. Is there no such epic walk I can
do down here? Maybe if I just walk up and down the beach for five to
seven hours a day it’ll be the same… Hmmm.

I’ve yapped on about how I’m going to do it for so long that I’m
obviously going to do it, if only because I said I was going to do it
and if I don’t do it the amount of people I’m going to have to talk
to about it- it just doesn’t bear thinking about. Better to do
something that you don’t really want to do than to have to have
several separate conversations with friends and casual acquaintances
about all the things you didn’t do that you said you were going to
do- as my Grandad used to say.

at the football on Sunday night, I tucked into a little bar and had
some cheese and wine before the game- because that’s what you do
here, you do what you want- there were grown men coming in and
drinking chocolate milk, another fella had some kind of waffle with a
Nutella-like spread on it, two adult male mammalians had a pair of
quadruple Bailey’s before the game. I looked round to see if anyone
was judging them, but no-one was judging them (obviously I was
judging them), they all seemed to think, “Hey, if you like a really
large Irish cream liqueur before a game of footy that’s your
prerogative, you go for it son.” And they did, they went for it,
because those guys really like to have a really big Baileys before a
game and I just have to accept that in a place like Spain these
things can happen.

just had my second coffee of the day. Not decaf. Normal coffee. I’ve
had two a day since I’ve been in Spain, because I’m blending in, I’m
assimilating, I’m one of them. It does mean that when I sit down to
write I tend to puke out everything in my head. I’m kind’ve enjoying
that aspect of it, but I’m not sure it’ll garner me the Pulitzer that
I’m aiming for. I feel like Balzac. Although not French, obviously.
That’s disgusting.

other reason I’m gonna stay here another night is because there is
no-one else in my dorm room- I’m paying for a bed but I have the
place to myself, it’s perfect, especially after all the snoring on
the last two nights in Sevilla. Some complete cock had his big dog in
the room which a) the hostel allowed and b) didn’t mention to me or
anyone else in the room. So on Saturday night myself and the
French-Canadian get back to the dorm and there’s this smell- at first
I presume it’s someone’s feet and then I see this huge black dog and
I whisper to Carrie-Anne, “There’s a dog in here.” And she knew,
she saw them check in- man and dog. And okay, not the end of the
world, but then the dog snores like a bastard, like a  proper fat
bastard with a deviated septum having just eaten a pound of
gorgonzola and smashed back all the booze left over from Christmas. I
have the best earplugs in, a pillow over my head and I’m humming to
myself to try and block it out, but really all I’m doing is laying
there seething until eventually I pass out three minutes before
everyone decides to get up for breakfast.

and hippy leave the next day and I chalk it up to experience. The
next night three large men take it in turns serenading me.
Occasionally I cough loudly, or get up and shut the door loudly and
eventually put in a podcast which also keeps me awake because it’s
quite good. So I’m sleeping like a baby in Cadiz. Napped for an hour
on the beach yesterday, ten hours last night, another nap on the
beach today and tonight there will be more excellent sleeping
presuming some snorey bellend hasn’t arrived to ruin the atmos.

in whatever this hostel is called, oh yeah, it’s called

little bit apocalyptic here, there is no one and I mean NO ONE in
this building, not even someone who might work here. There are no
other guests in a place which can accommodate fifty people. I
splurged a bit tonight. Just foodwise. There were these people all
around me eating the freshest poached and chilled shrimp. I got
involved. They were ridiculous. I actually ate the heads and a man
tried to explain to me that you didn’t eat that bit and I tried to
explain to him that you did when they tasted like this. He thought I
was mental. I’m down one more friend. I had some sherry, it’s cheaper
than water down here and much tastier, some wine, some cheese (they
gave me shitty cheese, they don’t even know that I know, fine, I’ll
move on), some fried hake (bit of a bit deal around here, twas
delicious) some chickpeas cooked with tiny tiny shrimp and some kind
of bits of ham (very rustic and tasty), some fried shrimp (yeah, it’s
fucking shrimp town, i’m really bored of typing ‘shrimp’ but that’s
what they have down here) which they very fucking weirdly served with
about 6 or 7 crinkle-cut frozen chips (fries, fuck off), presumably
to ‘bulk out the portion,’ but really it made me just not fucking
trust these people.

a little bit weird down here. I’m still figuring out why. The Spanish
have some strange food quirks. Clearly they are blessed with so many
fine ingredients- I ate an orange today that blew my fucking mind and
so I ate all four of the others I had bought for the next couple of
days. Tomorrow I will buy ten oranges, this is why they price them by
two kilos worth, because what kind of numpty buys three or four
oranges? But, they keep serving all tapas with a small packet of inch
long bread sticks laden with E numbers. And then they charge you for
them even though you didn’t ask for them and even though you don’t
touch them. These are the kinds of things that can drive a man
insane. Okay. Bedtime.

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