The swervey haze of Sunday subsides and at 10pm I finally begin to feel functional. My brain no longer feels too big for my skull, and the sun reflecting ojf the bleached concrete of this urban environment not longer blinds me. Praise the Lord.
The loneliness and isolation of this foreign environment had me starting the week of in a dark place, and partying with some high-spirited backpackers seemed like the answer to my question. Therefore Saturday bought prospects of numerous copas de ‘Tinto’ and a NewEurope Pub-crawl to serve as an introduction to the nightlife I have heard so much about. I’d previously experienced these pub-crawls with Millie and Jamie, and needless to say they resulted in hangovers for the record book. The company even market themselves as offering “the best night you will never remember”, and that about sums them up perfectly I must say! I recruited some fun additions to the crawling party (Gaith and Natalie from work, and my Irish Flattie Laura) and we held a practice session on the balcony in the afternoon sun. The progression from there was anything but civil. The tequila shots just kept arriving, and limbs were certainly flailing on the dance floor – who said kiwi birds can’t fly? You know how pub-crawls got the name when they literally leave you crawling home at four in the morning and fighting your friend over a leftover burrito (sorry Gaith haha).
(Male and Female go-go dancers dress like this in Spain!)
Anyhow, changing lifestyles and living environments really alters your perceptions and leaves you noticing and appreciating new things. You view things in your surroundings as beautiful, which you may have never previously noticed, like the way the afternoon light falls on the broken bricks of the neighbouring roofs, the care the old neighbour takes in his urban ‘landscaping’, out watering his plants in the cool evenings with the light bouncing off his pasty weathered back.
Looking out across all those roofs and seeing other faces staring right back, each pondering something completely different but no less important. Noticing the birds, and how they never rest, they never seem to perch, or sleep. Always busy, always flying, they never seem to stop here. And what do they eat here in the city? It’s not like they’d have to forage. Human scraps?
Getting to know the neighbours has produced some funny situations recently. My friends here smoke (European trend it seems) and are in constant search of lighters. While drinking on the balcony Nat was desperate for a smoke but much to her frustration – no lighter. So instead of going and buying one, she gets resourceful. Noting a Spaniard hanging out his underpants across the street, she hurls some limited Spanish in his direction “Hola, tienes un mechero” Do you have a lighter? She manages to solicit one and get it thrown across the street from the 7th floor to our balcony, along with invites for free copas at a bar he works at down the street. You won’t see that happening in Wellington!
Also talking about Nat, and following the theme of language complications from last week, there’s a new language story to add to the collection. Weeks of personal training were coming to an end for Nat, and she decided she would reward her trainer with chocolate cake. Knowing that some words from French also translate well into Spanish she asked him if he would care for some “el chocolate gato” (thinking it was gateau – the French for cake). Much to her embarrassment, he replies, “you want me to eat cat”? Gato en español es ‘CAT’! Amazing!
Metro rides here still never cease to produce both interesting and questionable situations and I have said many-a-times here that if there’s such a thing as personal hell then for me it would be riding the metro for the rest of eternity. I despise it with my entire being!
One interesting situation arose during the week that had me so worried I wrote down everything that occurred in my phone in case something was to happen. Picture this: 3pm Commuter Metro. Packed to the brim, hot sweaty frustrated bodies all crammed into a box together 100m underground making the journey home. A tall dark man is in the middle of the train, hair slicked back, wearing black sunglasses even though we’re underground, and polished Italian leather shoes. The metro grinds to a holt at the busiest transit station in the city with 6 connecting lines. The doors open and a woman runs up to them, passing to the man a passport and a plain box, but refrains from getting on, and hastily takes off back in the other direction as our train disappears again. Now let me tell you, I was not happy about this situation and my brain was racing. Mafia Drug Deal? Islamist Extremist? CIA Secret Agent? His phone starts to ring… detonator?
Nothing happened… but still. I noticed a Gucci belt buckle also, so I’ve settled on Spanish Mafia!
Maybe I just had one too many cervezas after work that day… Or maybe the heat is driving me a little loco. Who knows?! If I don’t go mental and end up in an asylum I’ll re-post next week 🙂