Before I begin, how the heck did I go over a whole month without posting a gosh darned thing? Had I stopped travelling? Had I disappeared off the face of the earth? Had I been eaten by a giant rabid rabbit? No, no and um… well, no. Quite simply it was a combination of snail’s pace (I want to punch the screen) internet, no internet, and some sneaking back to NZ (twice). Posting this, from July, simply seems like a lifetime ago; but I am undoubtedly looking forward to catching you up on the adventures in between. The frequency of posts will depend on whether Winnie the cat’s ass manages to stay out of my face, as I sit down and type. This, unfortunately, is what Mum’s new cat likes to do.
Here a couple of musings, from my time in Andalucía:
Jonathan the Seagull
My Espanol home was a menagerie, as my host, Spanish Sister (SS), couldn’t help but rescue the sick and infirm of the animal kingdom. Not only were Negrito and Kitty rescue cats, but the hungry stray named Neli, that was often sneakily fed much to the ire of the neighbours, had a family of kittens and was suspected pregnant again. Neli really should keep her furry hind quarters, crossed.
After collecting SS from the airport, we were on our way to drop off a passenger near home. Down a dusty road and SS had pulled over, as she’d seen some movement in the field. Out there was a rather large seagull; a long curved butter coloured beak with a glint of white and a smock of grey. It startled as it was approached, defending itself and its broken wing. SS and her daughter managed to corral it into an embrace as it rebutted with a beak blow very close to SS’s eye. She was bleeding but more concerned for the new addition to the family, Jonathan, that got hugged into submission in the back seat of the car.
At home he was given his own apartment; a patio under the washing line with a tub to paddle his legs in. Treats were found from the fridge and cupboard and he accepted those with a sense of calm. Negrito and Kitty eyed their new flatmate and his every move, from behind the glass door. Given the chance, I think they would have welcomed him with a playful paw bop on the head and a cheeky nibble of his weak wing.
Jonathan enjoyed the last two days of his life, shifting up to a balcony in the sunshine. He was taken for a walk down the beach to enjoy some last salty gasps of sea air, and peacefully passed in the arms of SS. That woman is the absolute Mother Teresa of animals. I admire her compassion toward any creature great or small. If I came back as an underprivileged animal, I hope it would be in the vicinity of her presence, because she definitely has such a caring affinity for furry and feathered fauna.
A Night Out in Southern Spain
At this point of my journey, I’m not really one for just heading out to bars on my own for a good old liver bashing. The number one reason is for safety. No matter how carefree this trip may appear to be, I’m not going to compromise this by spending a night out on my own. Number two is that it’s a money sucker… the drinking and the hangover. However, if my crew were there, that most probably would have been an entirely different story.
SS had another Workawayer, OW, staying with us and she was keen to head out into the village for a couple of beverages. Sweet. I had been in Spain for countless weeks and hadn’t experienced any nightlife apart from some delicious ‘tinto de verano’ on the patio, under the lazy moonlight.
By the time we were ready, we were pushing on 11pm. Beer in hand, OW was ready to go. A Saturday night out in coastal Spain is nothing like I have seen before. The sleepy daytime streets had turned into pedestrians pushing prams on family outings, bars bustling with patrons and street performers wooing crowds. Children were walking hand in hand with mum or dad well past midnight. It appeared more like an afternoon jaunt, but with stars twinkling in the background.
We found a place to park up and buy a drink, while a man tried to chat me up. His face dropped when I quickly turned and said “No hablo Espanol.” OW was well versed in Spanish conversation, while I sat back and watched a table of eight friends with their faces lit by screens and thumbs scrolling. It dawned on me that no matter where I am in the world, people are spending more and more time staring at their phones than engaging with the company that they are in. I was saddened until my faith was restored when I had spotted a young couple, too busy staring into each other’s eyes to drink their fancy cocktails.
We happened upon another tavern, a pint-sized thing that was brimming with mesmerised patrons squished up against the windows. Inside, a portly, bristly young man was propped on a seat in the throes of a heart-wrenching ballad, dripping with emotion. The guitarist’s fingers furiously plucked away at the strings and a man in the audience responded in song. It truly was a beautiful scene and I felt privileged to be immersed in such a wonderful gypsy flamenco performance.
We poured out around 3am and decided to go home. This was when the evening was picking up some pace. Bar hoppers were eddying in the street, peeling off from one place to the other. Everyone appeared calm, happy and completely composed. I marvelled at the cultural difference between here and NZ; when my country of binge drinkers would be falling over, decorating the cobbles with their once was dinner, or at the beginnings of a sneaky brawl. It was in fact possible for a night out to not end in tears. Mind you, I was going home when the evening was just beginning. If I had been in my twenties, I think I would’ve been right in there amongst the other party goers.
While I was enjoying being deeply rooted in the Spanish lifestyle, with days of wondering what the heck I was supposed to be doing with my life, two good friends of mine sent me very appropriate quotes within days of each other. I fell in love with them… and with my friends.
“She did not want to live without him, yet she must not only live, but prosper because every day of her life would be a testament to him. Even as young as she was, she understood that by living well and being a good person, she would make it possible for him to go on living in some small way through her.”
“I have come to accept the feeling of not knowing where I am going. And I have trained myself to love it. Because it is only when we are suspended in mid-air with no landing in sight, that we force our wings to unravel and alas begin our flight. And as we fly, we still may not know where we are going to. But the miracle is in the unfolding of the wings. You may not know where you are going, but you know that so long as you spread your wings, the winds will carry you.”
C. Joybell C
So I will leave you with that, for now, in preparation of more Spanish goodness to come; where I tour my way up the country through Seville, Granada, Valencia and Barcelona, with some ‘that could only happen to NJ’ stories. Until then, X