Thursday Feb 26th,
Okay, so yesterday
ended up being pretty epic, as they say these days, completely
misunderstanding the use of the word. But still, let’s just get over
that and agree that Wednesday the 25th was a big day.
I’d been doing
some indulgent, therapeutic writing after I’d finished journaling.
One of the things I was banging on about was the idea of loneliness,
waffling on to myself about Kafka and other such turgid nonsense and
then I made my way over to the youth hostel for my last night in
town. Within a few minutes of being there, two girls told me that a
bunch of people were getting together for a drink and that I should
tag along. Yes, I thought, this beard is definitely working, I was
going to shave it, but now it stays. In Canada this look is standard,
but here, I’m niche. I’ll work the niche. Niche Man With Beard Goes
For Drinks With Other People. Fuck you Kafka.
invited pretty much everyone from the hostel and were just being
really nice, but I was right, they did mention my awesome beard and
asked me if it was soft. It is soft, as beards go, but, y’know it’s a
beard, it’s basically a type of pubic hair, is it not? Anyway, this
itchy bitch stays on my face, even if it is twenty-two degrees here.
The girl who
showed me around the hostel asked me if I preferred to be spoken to
in English or Spanish. Obviously I said Spanish and she proceeded to
give me the break down of how things worked. I understood about
twenty percent of what she said, but when someone’s gesturing towards
the fridge and banging on in another language I’m pretty sure they’re
just saying, “Here is the fridge, it’s where we put the things we’d
like to be cold,” as a pose to, “If you touch the fridge, I will
have you killed.” So I blagged it. I’m one of them and they don’t
even know it. I’m like the Talented Senor Ripley, only without the
So, threw my shit
in the four-bed mixed dorm. There were two girls from Minnesota
there. They’re eighteen. I’m definitely a paedo, it’s just a matter
of time before they find out. Spanish prisons are probably quite
nice, lots of naps between tapas and playing dice with the guards.
So I bugger off
for my walking time, heading South this time, a pretty good coastal
walk that eventually finds me walking on the side of a motorway and
having a mini spasm every few minutes when a huge lorry thunders by.
I shout expletives and try to convince myself to chill. It doesn’t
work and so I turn back around and walk through what I think is some
derelict farmland but is in fact inhabited by wild dogs. I do a
swifty out of there and go back on the ‘normal’ route. I don’t fuck
with urban wild dogs, not since that time in Thailand. It’s one of my
few rules. It’s kept me alive so far.
Hours later, maybe
four or five I get back to the hostel- shower, change, bowl out to
eat some croquetas and watch a bit of football with the locals. Cool.
Back to the hostel a little after nine I join ‘the gang’ on the
rooftop terrace. There’s a dude from India who lives in Germany, nice
fella just away for five days on his own for the first time, he’s
surprised by how much fun he’s having without his friends. There’s
some quiet German girl who later gets really fucking mashed and is
babysat by someone who’s happy to sacrifice their good time in order
to make sure she doesn’t die in a ditch, although I’m pretty sure he
tried to finger-bang her in an alleyway. There’s an older couple,
German, lovely, enjoying being around the young’uns and making me
feel less like a massive perv. Mikey is an English lad from
Sheffield; kind, tolerant, well-educated, funny, enthusiastic- I
pretty much decide that he’s who I’ll be talking to this evening- for
the most part. There’s also an Italian girl who works at the hostel-
the life an soul of the party- a German girl who also works there-
she’s from Hamburg so I decide to call her The Hamburger which
everyone thinks is the funniest thing they’ve ever heard- they should
wait until they hear the actual funnies, that was a throwaway line, a
nothing, this audience has barely left the house, I’m clearly going
to be very popular this evening. And of course, their is one massive
bellend. An actual cock of a man. There has to be, just to balance
He asks me where
England but I live in Canada.”
It’s not a question.
“Is that the
only place you’ve heard of?” I ask, only half-joking.
replies, without humour.
I then explain
that I live in Toronto and then ask him where he’s from.
“Oh, I always
get this, I’m tired of explaining this. She (he’s referring to the
soon to be mangled, mute German girl) has heard me say this, how many
times? How many times have I explained this? Okay, let’s go… I’m
from Sweden but I’m half Moroccan, half English- that explains this-
okay done, that’s out of the way.”
just met this guy and he’s attempted to make me feel like a twat. It
doesn’t work because I did the excellent Hamburger thing and everyone
thinks I’m great. I decide to calmly explain, “The thing is when
you travel the first thing people ask you is where you’re from and
then they ask where you’re going and where you’ve been, it’s part of
Bellend offers me some white wine, I didn’t realise we were drinking
here before going out and I’m empty-handed. I accept and then he
jokingly (read: not jokingly) says, “You can buy me one later.”
joke. You are getting nothing from me pal. Maybe a slap.
he picks up the guitar and noodles a bit. Yeah. He’s now a cock who
has a guitar. (I’ve been that cock, this is why I hate him/me) He
sings like a muted, extra-whispery, twatty Ben Harper who no one ever
likes. I don’t like him at all. He hands the guitar to Mikey after a
minute of being ignored and says, “Let’s play that jam like we did
tries to explain.
goes through a brief repertoire of everything he’s recently played.
He’s a very good guitar player, it’s enjoyable until The Cock starts
‘improvising’ lyrics. I’m sat between them, drinking His wine, unable
to move, exhausted from walking, trying to be sociable, trying to
join in, fit in. I pull my phone out, a great shield to hide my
feelings behind. And then I just start writing down what he’s
singing, I wish I’d started earlier and could type faster on a phone,
but these are fragments of what I captured. Imagine this shit sung
like Ben Harper, occasionally with a Rasta accent and occasionally
like a LA rapper trying to get everyone going in da club…
do this once, we do this twice, we drink a glass of wine, Mikey on
the guitar drink a glass of wine…
yeah yeah, we go frappe (I
am not making this up. He said ‘frappe’).
go eh eh eh for the West Indies, Mikey playing the guitar.
walking down my park, my park, my park, I don’t have anything else in
sitting in his chair, sitting in his local bar, drinking double
whiskies, a, eh eh, that’s our Mikey… I should go home cos I’ve
been in this club to oh oh long oh oh drinking XO, we’re gonna do
this anyways for sure, we’re gonna do this anyways for sure, for
sure, for sure, for sure (he
said, ‘for sure’ so many times I was trying not to piss myself).
After this amazing shit he then
explains to everyone how the vibe between him and Mikey when they
improvise s so natural they should do something together. Maybe an
album. I will fully buy it and then stab myself in the eye with a
rusty compass while giggling manically.
The music stops, Mikey grabs me a
beer without asking if I want one. I say I’ll get him back, he gives
me a look knowing that of course I will and even if I don’t, no
biggie. The Bellend has thrown off my barometer for people.
Some other Germans arrive, good
fellas but not interesting- a blonde dude with a broken surf board
and a Finnish girl who looks like a cartoon. We head to this weird
fucking bar. Finns, Swedes and Germans and a bunch of Celtic-type
hippies playing Irish music and Ob-La-De Ob-La-Da and anything really
weird. Beers are one Euro and we hang out and speak all of the
languages. I’m still living off the Hambuger thing, which I make sure
to bring up whenever it looks as though someone else might be being a
bit funny- I can probably milk this for the full evening.
Around midnight we go to some other
bar, way more Spanish. Packed. Rock music, people crushing cheap
drinks. I get cornered by the not interesting Germans. They’re
alright really, they’re just getting involved.
Then there’s some drama- someone
who works at the hostel has made out with someone who liked someone
else and then someone said something to someone about it but they
don’t even know so now someone is not happy about it and so and so
needs to get out of there.
I walk back to the hostel with The
Hamburger, along the beach, it’s a beautiful night. Back in the dorm
room the eighteen year old Minnesotans are mashed and eating cookies
and drinking tea. I join them and they tell me about their boy
troubles- it’s awesome, classic stuff- I drink it in and eat about
fifteen dry, cheap biscuits. Lights out around five. I’m asleep
immediately, totally knackered.
I get up at nine, amazingly, I’m
not totally fucked. I hug The Hamburger goodbye- she’s on the morning
shift- and get the bus to the airport, I’m heading to Seville. All
pretty straight forward until I’m sat next to a dude who eats crisps
continually for the first thirty minutes of the journey and I’ll I
wanna do is sleep. As he finishes the crisps he pulls out a stinky
ham sandwich, not the good jamon serrano, but some sweaty supermarket
bastard cousin, the kind of ham that is engineered to permanently
sweat. The man in front of me is constantly clearing his throat,
phlegm rattles around his esophagus like a lottery ball in its
plastic dome, waiting to be calmly ejected to almost unanimous
disappointment. Only this ball of phlegm is going nowhere, this
fuckers lodged, this fella needs a eucalyptus steam- towel on his
head and all that business. Mr Crisps finishes his SECOND sarnie and
then pulls out some chocolate and then a man behind me, not to be
outdone by Crisps pulls out the stinkiest of ham stinkers- what the
fuck this is I don’t know, but there’s no way that something that
smells like this should go through the digestive system of a
mammalian. I sit smelling my hand, trying to sleep.
We land with a thud and my phone
welcomes me to Portugal. Weird. A moment of paranoia where I think,
“Have I just gone to Portugal by mistake?” I kinda wished I had
because that would be hilarious.
I haven’t. I’m in Seville.
I jump on a bus to town and then
navigate myself to the hostel with relative ease. It’s a beautiful
building with a very chilled vibe. I head out and wander a bit and
eat some delicious pork and watch even more football, Seville versus
Borussia Munchengladbach. It’s a good game, Seville win 3-2.
Back at the hostel I hang out a bit
in the common area and meet an Italian dude from Bergamo and a
French Canadian girl. He’s called
Baggio and she’s Carrie-Anne. Nice peeps, young- but then they all
are these days aren’t they? I catch up on my internetting and this
jouranling and listen to some Mumford and Sons like a big gaylord.
I’m sat on the top bunk typing away, the Frenchie is already asleep
by eleven and the young Italian has blow-dried his hair, ironed a
white shirt and is heading out to meet some friends. Gotta love the