I spent some days in Spain these past weeks. For the first time, I didn’t tell anyone I was going there; call me antisocial if you want, but I was slightly stressed and didn’t want to think of timetables, meetings, arrangements and all that.
To make it even better, I chose to flight a week before Christmas, on an absurd day and hour: Sunday between afternoon and evening, and I think I will always try to repeat that decision. The check in queues were quite fast (maybe five minutes) and I passed the passport control and security check quite quickly. If it wasn’t because I had a laptop and had to take it out of the bag and place it in the tray and blah blah I would have been in the waiting lounge 4 minutes ago. The rest was quite smooth, excepting a couple of Spaniards which had been in London for the past week and already hated it and the weather.
Apart from moaning about that during the full length of the flight, she decided to adopt an strange giving-birth position, by reclining in her seat and putting her knees against my seat back, without asking if I minded to be shaken and pushed forward, of course. I tried to let her know or to demonstrate that she wasn’t behaving, by looking back at her, but apparently she didn’t notice (or didn’t want to notice). So I finally had to stand up and asked her kindly if she minded to stop doing that, because when she put the knees that way, I was quite uncomfortable. She looked at me with a questioning face and mumbled something as to justify what she was doing, instead of saying Oh sorry! I didn’t notice I was being such an annoying passenger!. And then I proceeded to calmly explain her that because the seat was so thin, like a very, very thin cushion, I not only was being shaken and pushed forward, but I also could feel her knees kind of kicking my back. And then I said thanks and sat down again, luckily she removed her knees from where they were (not without moaning about that in whispers, of course).
Luckily too, my suitcase hadn’t been lost and I got it with my load of presents. I think my idea of putting an sticker on it to differentiate it from all the other samsonite suitcases was a very good (although almost two years late) idea.
In the following days I did several amazing things:
First one was having some fogassa for breakfast. A fogassa is a typical sweet product which has a texture in between cake and bread, and is topped with almonds and nuts, and usually some sugar. The dough has also seeds which give it its distinctive flavour, mostly comin. I hadn’t eaten this for years! I almost felt sorry about eating it :-)
Tried to renew my ID card
I went to the police station, scared in advance (after having had to stand those horrible queues in Seville for renewing doob’s ID card), but it was totally unnecessary. I not only got an appointment for that day but I also couldn’t do anything because since I’m registered as resident in London, I can’t renew my ID without a residency certificate which the consulate has to emit. Following the officer advice, I sent them an e-mail asking for those details that very day, which happened to be a complete loss of time since I got the reply today, that is, almost two weeks later. I’ll give a try next time I go to Spain, I guess.
Visiting an old hermitage (and finding a derelict house)
I had that feeling of the hermitage being far away, up the hill, but London’s distances make everything appear little. I began to walk and even if I stopped for taking pictures several times, I was on top of the hill in around 20 minutes. My main intention was to make a panorama picture of the view, but it was very foggy and it looked more like a romantic watercolour; the mountains at the end of the valley could hardly be distinguished.
The best of all was that from the top of the hill I saw what looked as an abandoned house, so I thought that it would be cool to have a look when going back, since the path was close to the house. It was a marvelously neglected house, actually. The roof was falling or had already fallen in most of the rooms, burglars had removed most of the doors and left only the ugly ones, but mysteriously they didn’t touch the beds, which were left there, as well as the mattresses. They were pretty much rotten and destroyed but they hadn’t been moved from their place. I didn’t dare to go to the upper floor since I didn’t want to have any accident.
The house had its name painted on the front door, and I tried to find some information about it but it seems like nobody has mentioned it ever in the internets. I could probably get some info if I went to the official registers and archives but I think that would be a little overkill, and I think I am not that curious.
It is a real pity since it looked like it was a very nice looking house; one could still see the faded decoration in some of the walls and it was naive but had a distinction touch. Mystery!
Getting a cold
Instead of getting it after I go to Spain, this time I chose to do it during the trip. But I acted quickly and gave myself an overdose of vitamin C and various vegetables and I managed to recover in a few days.
I was somehow attacked by an old woman while waiting at a supermarket’s till to pay! She came to the queue a minute after I had arrived and tried to fool me so that I let her go first. The woman which was currently paying at the till probably couldn’t read or write since she offered her open wallet to the cashier when having to pay and asked her to write a “For my loved Blah” card for sticking it to the big Serrano Ham she had just bought. I was so placidly waiting and she began to nervously shake herself behind me, reducing the courtesy distance between she and me more and more, since I had blocked her the access to the belt where the products are placed.
The illiterate woman finally left and I began to put my items on the belt, when suddenly another woman came asking for a refund. The crazy woman behind me, which I’ll call La Follonera from now on, began to pant and moan and complain about having to wait one minute (all of this action had happened in a very short amount of time). She even began to push my items forward in the belt so that she could put her stupid presents in the belt, as if she was trying to evidence that she was in a hurry.
I finally asked her to calm down and wait as we all were doing and she began to shout, for our surprise:
WHAT HAVE I DONE WRONG?! HUH? It’s you which has to move your products instead of being stuck in the middle!!!!
The cashier, another girl which was behind La Follonera, and me, looked at her, completely puzzled by that sudden expansion of rage and absurd reasonings. I quietly told her:
Push. You have pushed me. That’s what you’ve done.
… and then proceeded to continue bagging my items, as the cashier had began to scan them. La Follonera kept complaining and moaning, maybe more annoyed by the fact that nobody paid her attention than because I told her to wait.
It’s even more funny that I asked things to her politely and she spoke to me in a very rude way. She looked as if she had decided beforehand that she was going to get angry with someone that day, whichever was the reason, just because she felt like having a fight.
I also took the opportunity to upgrade the family computer to Ubuntu 7.10. It was running Windows 2000 and I was delaying any change because I know it’s hard to change habits but it never worked properly and I was feeling worse and worse about the idea of the computer running windows.
I am very happy about the change, I might write more about that. Best is I’m not the only one which is happy with the new system!
On the 24th December I stumbled upon the only half decent TV programs I saw in the Spanish TV for years, Hormigas and Eva Hache (or something like that). The Hormigas show was quite entertaining (the little muppets were very nice too) and the parody of the King’s speech by Eva Hache was quite hilarious; after that, it turned to be slightly annoying and somehow forced.
Tripping down the memory lane
Concerned about the longevity of writable cd’s and even more about the data in them, I decided to go through my CD-R cd’s and copy the relevant stuff to the computer’s hard disk. In the process I found some songs and other jewels which I may publish or not but that I had almost forgotten about! :-)
I think it had been raining or cloudy the 90% of days but we finally had a sunny day on the 25th. We headed to the country to have a bit of a sunny green grasp. At last!
Everything was fairly wet yet but the sun cheered us up a lot. Specially me, I had left a sunny London just to be greeted by a cloudy Valencia, boooh!
Back into London
The Spanish picaresque manifested itself again in the Airport’s metro station, with lots of people travelling to the airport with a ticket which was valid for one zone only (the airport is in zone 2) and complaining about having to pay an extra. Amazingly, the station staff was simply letting everybody out without asking them to pay the right fare.
We had some refreshments in the coffee house with views to the runway and I finally went to my gate, where I could assist to the total disgrace of the people which had bought that infamous speedy boarding and were placed in a bus for going to the plane, instead of directly boarding the plane as one could expect. The result is that they paid more and ended up being treated as a normal passenger in group A.
The arrival into Gatwick was chaotic, there were people filling all the space right after the UK border control. It seems they were waiting for their baggage belt to be announced but it hadn’t happened and there were the people from two or three planes waiting in a place which isn’t ready for so many people.
And do not forget the kids – because this is such a family holiday, there were kids everywhere. There were zombie kids which didn’t notice they had stumbled upon you, then the kids which tried to get underneath oneself (very bad idea if you ask me, my legs are quite short), and the best of all: the kids riding the handrail in the escalators and the ones which blocked the exit at the top of the escalator.
There was even a woman saying whose child is this? where are their parents?. Total confusion!
Fortunately my suitcase came quite early again (it might be the sticker influx – it has a smile legend on it) and I could escape to Victoria – which even felt relaxed after all this crazy confusion!