Monday, December 25, 2006


7 days and 37 family members later, I am both mentally and physically exhausted. After a holiday in India, you always need another holiday.

Today am off to a 3-day, 3-functions-a-day wedding where I will be glamming myself up 3-times a day to fit in. Hope to meet atleast 5 dozen people I haven't seen for over 5 years. Should be awesome.

My mum (just as all Indian mothers with 26 year old daughters attending a marriage) is hoping I will meet the Indian man of my dreams at this wedding so that I stop changing my country of residence every 6 months. She has blatantly given me strategies to accomplish this in the 3 day period, and I am afraid she is going to be disappointed.

Hope everyone had a super Christmas, I certainly did even though it was full of chicken masala tikka and a lethal concoction of hard liquor rather than stuffed turkey and wine.

Stay tuned.

Wednesday, December 20, 2006

Hope Floats

Sharnam Girl Shelter, Mumbai
"Didi didi namaste! come and watch our dance practise, we are going to perform tomorrow at the Lion's Club, will you come to watch us?', said Roshni, 5-years old who lived in one of the girl's shelters I went to visit yesterday.

After sleeping at Bombay Central Train Station for over 3 years, Roshni was one of 30 girls picked up off the street and given a home and education by Bombay based NGO Sharnam. She had a smile on her face, hope in her eyes - so happy to see me - a stranger who decided to pass by.

Mother and Child Welfare Society, Rajgurunagar, Pune
We visited 4 of 29 villages in the outskirts of Pune. Each village had a population between 1000-3000 people, so poor that they couldn't even afford to have bathrooms. They survived off their land, ate their hand grown vegetables, sold them when they could, drank their cow's milk, built their own houses.

The non-governmental organisation we went with worked with these villages and provided them with all sorts of support possible: infrastructure and development support, vocational training, medical services and computer training.

We visited a sewing class of about 30 girls who were learning to tailor clothes. They believed things could change for them, they believed they could contribute towards that change.

The Society Undertaking Poor People's Onus for Rehabilitation looked after about 100 street kid's who were druggies, addicted to everything from sniffing glue to brown sugar. The organisation picked them off the street, gave them shelter, worked on their detoxification and rehabilitation.

"Most these kids have poor, broken or abusive families. Their parents are mostly alcoholics or drug addicts. They are emotionally wounded and disturbed children, difficult to handle," said Sujata Gunega, who has been running the organisation for over 16 years. "They don't believe that anyone wants to help them, but once they do - the response is phenomenal. The process unfortunatley can take 5-6 years."


The last few days have been enlightening and moving to say the least. As much as I have always been grounded, meeting these children shook that ground a bit. Put my life into perspective.
All the money and comforts you have all of a sudden seemed frivolous; almost embarrassing to have. A good job, your client's PR plan, your ambitions, your 'uncertain future', all suddenly seemed like bollocks. Realising that you can make a difference just by shaking their hand or telling these kids a story was overwhelming.
These kids were all full of hope. The most important thing that these organisations do is to give them just that.
Feeling what I felt and realising how easy it is to make a difference has put my thinking cap back on. What will I do about it? Sadly, I still do not know.

Sunday, December 17, 2006

Conveyor Belt Chaos

Arrived at Mumbai airport yesterday around 4am. Nice airport! still work-in-progress but pretty neat. My thoughts were reaffirmed when I saw the toilets. 3 Clean squat toilets and 3 clean western toilets - with toilet paper! I couldn't believe it.

As much as India is a stable economy, developing very fast, has the youngest educated youth population, it's a certain mentality of the masses that sometimes gets the better of me when I go to India.

For instance: I go to the conveyor belt to get my bag. Now everyone has got there way before me as they went running to the belt. Why do you need to run? your bags aren't going anywhere. So ofcourse I fall into the unprivileged lot who didn't make it to the first row around the belt, so I have to stand in the 3rd row - the second row had the trolleys of the people in the first row. Fine, I will just wait here till it clears a bit, I think.

The people in the previliged first row stand so close to the belt, that their knees get scraped by the large bags on the belt, they get pushed behind, so their trolleys get pushed behind, so they fall onto their trolleys and knock out the people in the 3rd row. Nobody will move their trolleys! It's like the bag has to go straight onto the trolley.

''Excuse me, can you move your trolley to the side please,", I say politely with a smile.

"It's not mine," he replies. And then I notice, the guys in the 1st row getting their bags are actually walking past the trolleys to another trolley kept considerably away from the belt. Who's trolleys are they?! If they are not the 1st row's, why are they there and why isn't anyone moving them?

Anyway, I move the one infront of me aside so I can be the only lucky one in the 2nd row with the trolleys.

In about 5-minutes I got pushed into the first row-which was a whole different story. People were so close together they couldn't even face the belt and even if one of them had an itch, his movement bothered the whole line.

10 minutes into waiting, people were complaining because they couldn't see their bags yet, and you had atleast 5 people trying to change their place in the line. They wanted to see where else their bag could be on the conveyor belt - maybe they missed it (ofcourse they didn't realise that the belt moves, so if they missed it the first time, I would come around to them again). This meant that they had to push through the trolley row and the 3rd row, and come back into the 1st row the same way.

What chaos man. Nobody was helping each other and the looks that were happening between people were lethal. I felt like standing on the conveyor belt and shouting out ' guys! your bags aren't going anywhere, and nobody wants your bags, so just chill out and wait for your bags!'

Finally when my bag came, when I pulled it off the belt I must have hurt atleast 3 people.

Ok I know I'm making a mountain out of a mole hill, but seriously whatever happened to a bit of etiquette at the conveyor belt!

Friday, December 15, 2006

Going to India

Off to India tomorrow to see family and attend a friends wedding.

I love going to India, and always have a blast when I'm there. However, a few days before I go - I always have a heavy head and get into a foul mood. I really do not know why.

Perhaps I get overwhelmed by this sense of belonging and not-belonging at the same time.

I am buggered that although I am Indian, I have to be very careful with the food and water in India. Particularly because one year I came home with jaundice, and the next I came home with typhoid. This means that all the road side crap that I love will be out of reach - no pani-puri, no green chutney, no bhel, no Haji-Ali fresh juice. Sucks.

It's weird - I had no problems when I was in Thailand. Didn't take any shots and ate everything, everywhere.

I am going to get hassled by every other person about when I am getting married and why I want to live in Spain. Once asked that here I said I will get married in Spain. Turned out to be a satisfactory answer that didn't call for more questions or explanations - will stick to that.

I always get alot of gossip when I go to India: Dr.Patel's daughter ran away with her driver, Priyanka has a gambling problem and lost all her money in the slots, Vikram now has a zoo in his house, Kapil's marriage broke-off because he was secretly in love with his best friends wife...etc.

Other wise blogging, dancing, reading, watching Bollywood movies, and catching up with people is the plan.


Saturday, December 09, 2006

So now size doesn't matter?

Condoms too 'big' for Indian men - this article on BBC yesterday made me laugh.
In a two-year study carried out by the Indian Council of Medical Researh, apparently 60% of Indian men have their thing 3-5cm shorter than international standards.

However, Sunil Mehra, editor of men's magazine Maxim, surely cushioned the egos of many men in India by saying:

"It's not size, it's what you do with it that matters," he said. "From our population, the evidence is Indians are doing pretty well. "

Hilarious. BBC rocks.

It's just money, get over it

Bangalore based journalist Suresh Menon is one of my favourite columnists. I read nothing in Friday magazine other than his piece that comes every week on the second last page.

This week he touched upon a never-ending subject of discussion and argument:
"Money cannot buy happiness, but neither can happiness buy money."

He quotes a philosopher in his article (unsure who), who captures what we think of people who have money and those who don't, so correctly it's terrifying. He says:

"If a man runs after money, he is money mad; if he keeps it, he is a capitalist; if he doesn't get it, he is dismissed as useless; if he doesn't try to get it, he lacks ambition; if he gets it without working for it, he is a parasite; and if he accumulates it after a lifetime of hard work, he is called a fool who never got anything out of life."

We always hear - money cannot buy happiness; but in his article he talks about a study where it has been proved that those who earn $150,000 a year are happier than those who earn $40,000 a year. That it is better to be rich and happy than poor and intelligent, and that, just like Albert Camus said, it is a kind of spiritual snobbery that makes people think they can be happy without money.

These thoughts relate to the reactions I get when I tell people I have quit my job and will have no stable income, or atleast no high income, for the next year or so because I am following a dream where money isn't the end.

Have we really reached that stage where money and happiness are interchangeable?

Wednesday, December 06, 2006

Book Review: The Inheritance of Loss

82-pages and I cannot take it anymore. 2006 Booker prize winner The Inheritance of Loss by Kiran Desai was the inheritance of misery to say the least.

The writing is painfully poetic. The sentences are badly constructed and 5-lines long. They are full of big words, and so witless - not to mention pointless - that you loose focus and then wonder what she is going on about. She has tried too hard to be funny by using Hinglish frequently which hasn't worked at all; and everything is irrelevantly over-described, be it Pond's Cold Cream, mist over a mountain or the illegal yellow paint on the taxi of an Indian taxi driver in New York. Goodness gracious me.

The characters are the most boring characters I can remember. 50-pages into the book and even if one of the characters physically jumped out of the book and put a feather under my nose, I wouldn't react.

The Grandfather Indian judge in the book is a pretentious miserable old prat. His Grandaughter Sai is this innocent rabbit of a girl with no personality. The cook who is the servant of the house - poor guy hasn't even been given a name until now. Biju, the cook's son who has gone to NY to live the American dream is tolerable, but just about.

The stories of these characters that run in parallel so far have no coherence and do not link in any intelligent way. Unimaginative and annoying characters (with even more annoying names) like Uncle Potty (translate:Uncle Shit), and Major Aloo (Major Potato) and Father Booty (!?) keep coming in and out randomly with no purpose.


I had promised myself that I would finish the book before I rape it's review, but reading further just seems like a waste of time. To my utter disappointment, most other reviews on Amazon have limitless praise for this book - except this one from a dude who also thought it was awful but atleast finished it.

How on earth did she get a Booker?

Material World

Was driving home this morning and landed up listening to this segment on radio where callers who have/had an obsession with an item called and shared their manic sentiments about material desires. A few examples of what I heard:

"My IMATE phone - I used half my month's salary and borrowed money from my parents to get this phone."

"Kinetic Honda- I scored 90% in my exams, went to a college that I didn't choose just to get this bike."

"Jimmy Choo Shoes - After seeing them on Sex and the City, my mind was so set on them, I couldn't sleep at night until I got them."

"Armani Sun Glasses - I wanted these shades so much that I borrowed some money from a friend to get them. I cannot remember feeling so happy like I did then."

And, ofcourse, once these guys got what they wanted - they didn't want it anymore. Human incoherence.

As much as it was really pathetic to hear these people share these stories, and even more pathetic that the radio station gave this so much air time; there was a certain amusement factor that kept me listening.

Anyway, made me wonder what I loose sleep over / or have lost sleep over, that I wanted so desperately I would kill for.

Not a thing came to my mind.

Not understanding how this is possible, and pushing the thought further I realised that the one thing I remember being crazy to have was Michael Jackson's first autobiography 'Moonwalk'. I was 8.

It was 9 English Pounds. With pocket money of 2.50 a month, it took me a good 6-months to obtain.

But in the last 18-years, there is nothing else I lost sleep over because I didn't have.


Wow I must be really liberated.

Saturday, December 02, 2006

Thought for the day

'Foolish consistency is the hobgoblin of small minds' - Ralph Waldo Emerson

Tuesday, November 28, 2006

Married Men

Some of my closest guy friends are married. No, ALL my close guy friends are married. I seem to land up spending more time with them (without their wives), than with my single guy friends.
No matter which part of the world I have lived in, no matter what state of mind I have been in, no matter what stage of my life - they have been there.

No, there is nothing other than friendship between us, and cross-my-heart-hope-to-die I have never had (and never will have) an illicit relationship with a married man. Why would I want to put myself through that agony anyway? No vale la pena. Ex-girlfriends are pains enough, let alone having a wife in the picture.

We get along like a house on fire, we can laugh together, we can talk for hours and we can tolerate seeing each other more than a few times a week. It's just a cool sence of platonic belonging - like with any friend.

'Beta, you will never find a man if you always hang out with married men,' is what my mum keeps saying with a tone of resignment. Like I'm wasting my time with these guys. But find me a single man who I connect with in the same way and I will surely reassess the division of my time.

They just don't exist. Yes, the time has come when I have to say - all the happening men are married, some even have kids.

Perhaps it has got to do with sex. When you hang out with a single man - spend a lot of time, all he is hoping for from you is some fun in the bedroom.

With married men, sure they want sex too - but not necessarily from you. So your relationship automatically goes to another level where sex is not in the principal picture, and other things - the things that last - like humour, respect, care and just being, rule the relationship.

Ok, I'm single and ready to mingle, but why are these married guys hanging out with me? Other than the binding mental connection and understanding we have, I think it's the safety factor.

These guys have been my friends for anything between 4-10 years. If something was to happen between us, it would have happened by now, and the fact that it hasn't, asserts a sense of safety in their minds when they hang out with me. Like they can hang out, be themselves and enjoy some female company without being worried of any uncomfortable circumstances or consequences.

It's weird but I'd be inconsolably upset if any of these men had to take an exit from my life.

I wonder how it will be when I get married? (if I get married) I think I'd be totally fine if my husband had a close female friend, because I totally believe that a guy and a girl can just be friends. Afterall, I'm a standing example.

Monday, November 27, 2006

Have I lost the plot?

A 6-month break in Spain, 4 well paying job offers in Dubai on the table, yet all I can think of is moving back to Spain and writing. Have I lost the plot?

A good friend of mine thinks I'm afraid of getting back to a job here, because I think I will like it and get sucked back in, and then not go to Spain again.

Friends are getting promoted, traveling the world business class for work, investing in houses, climbing their career success ladders, driving BMW's.

I quit that life and am learning Spanish. Why? Because that's what I want to do. Why? It's fun. What will I do with the language? no friggin' clue.

I have a bit of money in the bank, and I believe that if you are educated, have common sense and a drive - money will always come in. My objective in life is not to own a Ferrari, or have a house on the beach, or to be a CEO, I just want to live life to the fullest.

People spend all their lives working their asses off, saving money for later. For when exactly? What about now, when we are young, free and kicking? It's not like we will be on the street if we do what we want now, right?

I guess it all depends on what you want from your life.

It's difficult for me to get a good job in Spain. Mainly because I'm not fluent in Spanish yet, and nor am I an EU citizen. Work permits and visa regulations put alot of red tape, which if I get through - I wouldn't even earn 1/4th of what I might get paid here.

So why am I leaving this comfortable job-in-hand haven to live a completely unpredictable and unstable life?

Does it scare me? No. Do I doubt my confidence? Sometimes.

My 4-years in the corporate communications world were fulfilling. And though I still have a lot to learn, the thought of getting back into it - especially in Dubai - is repulsive to me.

If I can afford to do what I want to for another year or so, why shouldn't I?

If people can make a living, living abroad and writing - why can't I?

Nothing I have written has been published yet. This could take years. Often I loose my confidence and this little voice inside me says, Abha get real - you had your 6-months of fun in Spain, now get back to reality. Get a job and focus on your 'career'. Today was one of those days when all I did was read success stories of people who have done what I want to, and have succeeded.

If you don't try, you will never know. This is what I want to do.

Living abroad, traveling, learning a new language, writing, teaching English does not equal being a bum.


All I know is that if I give up now - I will regret it....

Have I lost the plot?

Saturday, November 25, 2006

White Lies

I hate people who lie and I hardly ever lie. But I totally believe in white lying. Lying about something stupid, to avoid hurting a person. Eg. A friend spends $$$ on a T-shirt with a donkey on it. He loves it, you think it's really sad - a true waste of money. When he asks you what you think, you say 'cool man'.

Another example: a very good friend in town keeps calling you to go out. You have seen her over 4 times in the same week, and yet the calls keep coming. You love her company and enjoy hanging out, but today you just don't have the ganas. Try telling her that you don't feel like seeing her today and hurt her, or instead, say that you have diarrhea. Works beautifully. She doesn't feel bad, you get to do whatever you want.

You might say, a lie is a lie is a lie. But when you lie about trivial things, to avoid complications and unnecessary misunderstandings - it's a white lie and it's ok.

I rather white lie and not do something, than do something under obligation. You hardly ever enjoy doing things you really don't want to, so what's the point.

A friend is getting married next month in a small village in India. We were good friends in school and our families are friends too - but I have hardly seen him over the last 10 years. As much as his wedding would probably be fun and a trip down memory lane, for me it involves taking an overnight train, bus and taxi after I get to Bombay; there is nobody else I really need to see in that village. The wedding is four days - no way am I spending 4-days out of 12 there, and going for one day just doesn't make sense.

He totally thinks I'm coming. I've told him 'I'm trying to get a flight to make it, it's difficult as it's peak season, but I'm pulling some strings.'

Before you jump to conclusions: in Indian weddings there are normally over 500 people. Tables aren't booked by name of person attending and no per-head money is lost. The bride and groom are so occupied doing the 1001 rituals over the four days that you would be lucky to get more than a 'hey so good to see you' and a hug. So, no love is lost.

I'm very happy for him and wish him the best from the bottom of my heart. If it was more convenient and I had a bit more time, I'd go. If he'd understand my simple reasoning, I'd tell him the truth but he wouldn't, and probably never speak to me for the rest of his life. So there you go, I white lied again.

I guess it's just easier to white lie sometimes. And as long as your intentions are good and heart is clean, I really think it's ok.

Wednesday, November 22, 2006

'Dance Bars' Dubai

There is a certain special friend of mine S who, for the last year or so has been bitten hard by the Bollywood bug. On any night out, as long as he gets his chicken tandoori and gets to listen to some bollywood hits where he can imagine himself doing some Sharukh Khan moves - he is rocking. And for some reason, I always seem to forget about this before we decide to go out - [perhaps I'm hoping the bug has worn out] leaving me inappropriately dressed for the night to come.

Anyway. I go pick him up from the Fairmont Hotel - home to some of the best bars in Dubai. 'Come to the Cigar Bar,' he says. YAAAAYYY - 'We are chilling here tonight!', I think.

Yeah right, the next thing I know we are heading out in hunt for some Bollywood hotspots. A few phone calls to those on the underground Bollywood scene and we have 3 places to visit.

Place number 1 - Mehfil: Located in a 2-star hotel in a dodgy area over the bridge, we enter this nightclub/bar which is almost pitch dark, the only lights being dark red ones. Once our eyes got accustomed to the darkness, we notice there was nobody in the bar - however all the tables were reserved. Indian temple music - bhajans - were playing in the background and a group of young Indian girls, dressed in everything from an Indian sari to a short skirt with heavy make-up, were sitting on the stage in the club. 'What's happening here tonight?' we ask. 'Madam one show - vill estart now only in fiwe minats', says the dude with a full-on Indian accent.

Show? Girls? Temple Music? we decided to stay. Happens that the girls - known as dance girls of dance bars in India - were praying and asking for God's blessings before they begin strutting their stuff.

About 10 minutes later, the ritualistic music changed to a 'boom boom boom boom' bollywood song and one by one, the girls began coming to the front and doing what I would call some mixed form of bollywood movie dancing and pole dancing.

It wasn't sexy. It wasn't professional. The girls were not pretty. But the men - who started flowing in within half-an-hour were loving it. I felt quite sorry for the girls.

I was the only non-dancer girl in the whole club. Perhaps that's why the girls kept looking and and flashing wide smiles at me. Surely those were meant for the men, what were they thinking I would do? were they trying to lure me in? were they trying to tell me 'look what fun we are having here while you are sitting there'! or just happy to see a girl in the audience for a change - I really don't know.

What was more interesting to see was the sort of people that visit these bars. Mostly Indian, one Arab in his kandoora with his three sidekicks. All men. Age-group 25-60. Seemingly lower-middle class, probably sadly employed in some depressing job in Dubai, probably all living in Karama [a relatively cheaper, mini-India area in Dubai] Definitly all married. Definitly all sexually frustrated. Definitly all regulars.

We ordered food, had a few beers, the girls weren't very pleasant to watch, we left.

We ruled out spending more time in such bars. Landed up in my Columbian salsa hole. What a relief.

These are the sort of clubs in Dubai you will never hear about outside the city. As much as it was an experience of a kind, I would never go there on my own and was most comfortable only because I was with friends. I would never go there again.

Saturday, November 18, 2006

Sangria disaster

Yesterday my family had the whole building over for dinner. About 35 people. [Yes, parents always wait for children to be home to do these sort of things!]

I offered to make Sangria [well, my version of Sangria]. It is a great drink, easy to serve and always does well.

I make two large bowls of the drink. The colour was deep maroon, the fruit was fresh and the alcohol had just the right kick. My dad was really excited to serve it.

'May I offer you a glass of Sangria - this Spanish drink that my daughter has made for today?' says my dad to the first set of guests that arrive.

Here I need to mention the fact that they were all Indian couples, with children.

A blank stare with 'what is it exactly?' were a majority of the replies. My dad has the gift of the gab, so quite effortlessly he managed to thrust a glass to everyone who wanted an alcoholic beverage.

Once they had the glass in their hand - the whole taking-a-sip-from-your-glass equation took new meaning.

First they look at it quizically. Something red with bits in it. Then they smell it. They they realise it has fruit in it and wonder - is this a drink or desert?

They can't throw it, nor leave it on the table and ask my dad the bar tender for another drink, so they forcefully take a sip with an expression that says 'what's this fruity pink thing I'm drinking on a Friday night, where's the whisky!?'

You'd think they'd atleast finish the meagre glass full that they were given but leaving it on the table for an extended period of time seemed like the better option. However, some of them actually did drink it all; infact they drank the glass so quickly that all the fruit remained in the glass and then they asked for forks to eat the fruit (!). And nobody asked for a refill.

What a disaster!

Monday, November 13, 2006

Arrested in Germany

I was arrested at Munich International Airport [on my way back to Dubai] for not having the right documentation to land in Germany. It was just like the movies.

Innocent morena enters airport. Two large and burly and very German men approach her, flash their ID and ask her where she's coming from and to show them her passport.

'Sorry but you do not have the right documentation to be here, and you are under arrest for being an illegal trespasser.' What?

Yup. See I had a visa issued by Spain - not by Schengen; but Spain is Schengen right? Nope, not with the visa I had. I knew I couldn't travel outside Spain, but since I was only in transit - I didn't think it would be a problem. Lesson learnt - even if you are 100 % sure, check again!

Sat in German police headquarters at the airport for about an hour. Totally confused and a bit scared to be between armed men, somehow I had a nerve to bombard them with questions.

I was surprised at how nice they were to me. There was nothing Hitler about them, answered all my questions in monosyllables, but answered them nonetheless. Perhaps it was because I was a girl.

Then they brought out a filled Criminal Record – with my name and my charges spelled out under some act of Germany’s penal code.

Then those papers were sent to a public prosecuter who must have been in a good mood because he told the guys to stamp my passport and let me go.

Phew. I really enjoyed my jug of German beer after that.

Good Morning?

I woke up yesterday in my bedroom with a feeling that I had awaken from a beautiful dream. Like I never left my bed in the first place and 6 months in Spain were a figment of my imagination. Thank goodness for the pictures and thanks to the guys who emailed me. I needed the proof.

Went to have a drink with my best friend yesterday, to the same places we have been frequenting for over 4 years. Had the same drink, bumped into the same people. Again needed a pinch to realise that I had been away. Somethings don't change. They never will.

Malls still stink of expensive perfumes, the newspapers still write the same rubbish with aim to continue brainwashing all readers how hot and happening Dubai is. The drivers on the roads are still assholes, the prices are still going up, new clubs are still opening. The air is still too polluted to breathe in, the weather is still to hot to be outside. Arabs are still complaining about the Malbaris, the English are still dating the Filipinos. Everyone is still working their ass off. Everyone still wants to be a millionaire.

Dubai as a city is the contrary though. It's a place that will only stop changing when white elephants conquer the world.

Buildings seem to have popped up from nowhere. One of the 3 bridges has disappeared - or perhaps I just got lost amidst all the mierda construction happening around. Lanes have been added, cars on the road have trippled, new roundabouts, more Starbuckses, more people in malls, more malls, no parking. The parking lot outside my house has turned into a mosque; I hope I'm out of Dubai before it opens.

I thought I'd feel all nostalgic, warm and tingly to be back seeing family and friends. Sure it is great to see people you care about but I can't help feeling that I have left a large part of me behind.

The familiarity and sense of belonging I felt in Spain within living there for 6 months, I have never felt having lived in Dubai 8 years. Que fuerte!

Anyways. I'm here for a month, then I go to India for a bit. Hope to be back in Spain early next year.

Have books to read, went and got some Spanish language CD's today. Will spend this month trying to get published and keeping up with the Spanish. Vamos a ver.

Thursday, November 09, 2006

Random last day in Valencia

Today was my last full day in Valencia. The sun was shining, a light yet chilly breeze in the air.
A few random yet ultra cool things that happened today:

- 8am phone call from long-time close friend, wondering where I was.

- Gave my email address to the 55 year old crepe guy down the street. He said he'd like to write to me and send me some photos one day when he buys his own camera.

- Went into the main Cathedral [shamefully] for the first time, attended mass - and ate the 'body of Cristo'. [curiosity kills the cat?]

- Ate a pure vegetarian meal that was actually pretty good.

- Spent 10 hours chatting with a guy I met 2 days ago. [ Can you believe it?]

-My flatmates cooked me dinner [my last dinner] that was devoured by our beloved dog Franky. I had a kebab.

- My flatmates also took the day off tomorrow to drop me to the airport!

- I witnessed a real cry session [Yes in sadness of my departure!] by people I have spoken to twice in my life. [I've got my dams ready for my flatmates]

- My wisdom teeth have begun growing out again. It's a sign. [?]

-My bag weighs 19kilos! I had brought 30.

Still don't feel like I'm flying yet.

Tuesday, November 07, 2006

Spain: Photos

Never posted any photos but here are some that sum up my stay here. They are all disorganised, but, oh well.

Knot in my stomach

I cannot believe I am leaving Spain in 3 days. 3 DAYS. I feel like I came here yesterday. Time flies so fast it scares me sometimes.

The weekend was my last weekend dancing. Wanted to say goodbye to the people I have been dancing with for the last 6 months, 3 times a week. Tried to, but since I had never spoken to any of them before [don't even know their names yet], felt weird and pointless. Besides, when I return to Spain - I will go dancing in Valencia again.

Had a little pizza and beer party at home over the weekend. Got lots of [big] books in Spanish as presents. Lovely, but I wonder how I'm going to take back all of them. Said goodbye to everyone with an earnest will to see them again.

Yesterday was my first day in 6 months with without school. I was done with school anyway. 494 hours of Spanish is a lot. I hope to be in touch with a few of my teachers.

It's amazing the friendships I have made here in 6 months. Don't know if I made such friends in Dubai over 6 years! I have offers to come back and bunk with them when I need to, offers to leave stuff at their homes if I need to, numbers of their friends in Madrid for when I come back. It's so nice when help is offered genuinely.

When I left Dubai, I was ready to leave. Left excited and relieved to be out of there. Now it's time to close this Valencia chapter and I have a big knot in my stomach.

Can't get myself to pack. Don't have an appetite. On the contrary, I'm quite stoic about it all. I don't think it has sunk in yet.

Will be shuttling between Dubai and India in November and December. If all goes as planned, I should be on a plane to Madrid sometime in January to begin another chapter in my life.


Saturday, November 04, 2006

494 horas

Llevo casi 6 meses en España con 494 horas de clases de español. ¿Que fuerte verdad? En una semana estará en Dubai para dos meses [por lo menos] y tengo miedo que voy a olvidar todo que he aprendido.

Es que ahora estoy en este punto de aprender una lengua, que es muy vulnerable. Tengo más o menos todo…o bueno, mucho, lengua en mi cabeza, pero aun no ha asimilado totalmente. Si tuviera 1-2 meses más, pienso que hubiera ido en un lugar que es imposible olvidarla. Que pena que no tengo este meses. Pero bueno…

Claro que estoy planeando cosas a hacer para que no olvide mis invertidas 494 horas de español. He comprado para leer: Memoria de mis putas tristes – Gabriel Garcia Marquez; Once Minutos – Paolo Coelho [que he leído en ingles]; y El adios de los nuestros – Javier Menéndez Flores [no tengo ni puta idea que es este, pero es un regalo que dice es facilísimo a leer]. Voy a leer todos en dos meses.

Tambien, conozco un Cubano y un Colombiano en Dubai, voy a pedirlos que hablen en español conmigo. Intentaré hacer un intercambio o algo asi. [Pero primero tengo que reanimar nuestra amistad] Y hay un grupo de tias Latinas en Dubai. Quedan a menuda para tomar algo y charlar. Voy a apuntarme en este grupo.

YYYYYY…escribiré aquí en español a veces a molestar todo.


Si olvidaré este lengua, voy a llorar!

Wednesday, November 01, 2006

Should I have?

Yesterday as I was leaving my local videoclub, a guy approached me [yes in the middle of the road] and said "Perdona, you are beautiful, can I take you for a coffee sometime?"

Totally put on the spot, I said that I only had a week left and that I'm not sure I have time.

To which he said "you have the most beautiful eyes I have seen, what about tomorrow? day after? you pick a time and place."

My reflexes were totally saying no, so he gave me his name and telephone number and told me to think about it and call him if I want to.

A bit flustered, and flattered - I walked home. Now this has happened to me before, but the reason I am writing this post this time, is because this dude was actually quite handsome. His name was Roberto: bright blue eyes, tanned, long hair in a pony tail, clean teeth, jeans and a dark blue T-shirt.

Not hot-that-you-want-to-jump-on-him types, but charming in his own way. And I began to think - how many times does a good-looking man approach you -pleasantly enough, says something nice and asks for a bit of your time.

Yes my first thought was - what kind of decent guy stops you on the street and asks you out? But then I thought, what's the difference if he was on the street or in a bar? or in a shop or at work? How else do you meet guys? There is no right-or-wrong way.

So why didn't I want to go? Perhaps it's a bit desperate? but then again it isn't much different from a blind date or an exchange of telephone numbers in a night-club. Does it matter that he approached me on the street?

How much do you need to know a guy before going on a date? when I start to get to know guys, we become friends; friends that you don't want to date because they have entered the too-much-of-a friend zone.

Guess it all boils down to what you want. There haven't been many times that it has been crystal clear that I want to be with someone. However, irrespective- it's always been disastrous. My luck with men stinks. Perhaps that's why I have my guards up too high.


I can't call him anymore as my memory has failed to remember his number. But if I did, perhaps I would have. But then again, he was Italian. Guess I can imagine what he really wanted. But then again, wouldn't you be upset if he didn't?

We women are complicated.

Monday, October 30, 2006

IHT-Letter to the Editor

The first time I wrote to an Editor (as me and not as Ford Motor Company), and it got published! All of it! [Blogging and PR]

Sunday, October 29, 2006

Armpit Dinner

"I'm going to buy things to munch on, but bring what you want to eat," said the birthday boy pre-party.

"Ok so I will bring 4-5 tortillas de patatas," I reply.

"No no, I am buying those and drinks, and snacks - just bring what you would like to eat for dinner, for yourself."

Was totally lost. What do I bring? A bocadillo? or kebab? but how do you share that? are we meant to share the food we bring? is it a potluck? felt stupid to ask, so initially I thought I'd take a bocadillo, but then thought it would be embarrassing if we were meant to put our food in the middle to share. Didn't have time to prepare anything for 20 people, so I decided to eat a bit at home and not take anything.

I was the only one without my food. [Which was fine because there was more than enough food to pick on]. Everyone had their non-sharable sandwiches. Aparantly this sort of dinner is called 'cenar de sobaquillo' - which translates to 'dinner of armpits'' because it's like carrying your bocatillo under your armpit for dinner; like bringing a folder to a meeting. Que raro verdad?

Reminded me of the 'dabba parties' we used to have in school as children.

Saturday, October 28, 2006

Estoy de bajón

Hoy estoy poco de bajón, para nada. Vaga y muy neutral. Quería hacer muchas cosas pero estuve enfrente de ordenador todo el día, leyendo basura de todo el mundo. No hacia nada de importancia. Pero bueno.

Cuando tomas una pausa de tu vida, como yo, con 6 meses en España; 99% estas maravillosas. Sabes todo, sabes que vas hacer, que quieres de tu vida, donde quiere vivir, y todos las cosas te da alegría profunda. Pero a veces, levantas con un dolor en tu cabeza, y piensas – ¿que estoy haciendo? ¿donde es mi trabajo? que no puedes vivir así para siempre.

Luego piensas, vale, vamos a ver, que puedo hacer: relaciones publicas, escribir, hablar español, bailar. Entonces piensas, que puedes hacer bien – ¿para qué gente te pagará? Nada.
Porque puedes hacer todo, pero nada bien.

Ya lo se, mis objetivos de futuro se solucionará mis preocupaciones. Ya lo se, mañana levantaré y todo estará bien. Pero hoy no veo luz en el fin de túnel.

No estoy triste. No estoy deprimida. Un poco solo, con nadie para hablar basura que necesitas hablar a veces.

Pero quería escribir un poco. No era mi intención escribir en español, pero venga – aquí tienes.

Voy a llamar mi padre.

No quiero saber si hay un millón errores en este artículo.

Dinner at Nacho's

Went to a friends house last night for a wonderful Spanish dinner of pizza, beer and flan. Yes it was Spanish because the pizza had tuna, jamon serrano and alioli, and was from the one-and-only Telepizza; the beer was Cruzcampo, and the flan was home made with 'pan de Calatrava' [ I still have no clue what that is].

Topics talked about yesterday were very enlightening to say the least: how in Valencia you get paid Euro50 for donating sperm but you don't get a room nor Play Boy - you need to use the bathroom [ FYI, women get paid Euro700 for donating their eggs]; how tonic water comes from India (?), how Wikipedia is the best invented encyclopedia and how apparently in India, there are boats in the ocean that have programmers and call-centres operating from there so that they do not have to bide by any laws. Really?

Anyway, amongst us there was a particularly interesting Mexicana who swims oceans for a living, and had just finished swimming the Strait of Gibraltar. How cool!

She swims in the ocean because there is a kick swimming in unknown natural territory, and the danger is something that stimulates her. If her left arm is tired and in pain, she knows how to block the pain with her mind and continue. Every morning from 7am-12noon she is training, then she goes to university as she is a law student. She is 31.

A very likable person, down to earth, bubbly but with a pleasant tone of maturity. However, for the kind of swimmer she is, [with all due respect], she is fat!

Ok not fat fat, but big - plump perhaps is a better word. How can that be? After 5 hours of training everyday? isn't swimming supposed to be the best form of exercise as it claims to use every muscle of your body? It is supposed to build muscle and increase your metabolism, leaving you lean, firm and fit.

No doubt she must be fit, but lean and firm are adjectives you wouldn't even think of when you saw her. I found this very bizarre and if I had had a wee bit more to drink, I would have asked her why she doesn't look like Janet Evans.

Another thing I enjoy is the way people react when you say you live in Dubai. 'What? Really? Woooowwwwwww'! is what I get most of the time. Perfect city, artificial islands in the sea, good money no tax, strange/stunning architecture, skiing in the desert, beach...Abha what else do you want? they ask me. DTCM - well done. Your whole multi-million dollar marketing plan seems to be shaking ground.

This is when comes the question: so why do you not want to live there? I could never answer this question without gabbing on about things like no culture, no personality, no soul, no freedom, artificial etc etc - never seemed a very convincing reply to most the people I chat to. But yesterday, all I said was that 'it's pijo'. This word which you could translate literally as something ''pretentious or overprivileged", immediatley made sense to everyone and the discussion was over and done with. See people pijo are hated tremendously in Spain. They symbolise everything that goes wrong with having too much money. And that is precisely the problem with Dubai.

Someone please come and hit me over the head if something happens and I decide to live in Dubai again.

Thursday, October 26, 2006

Strange day. Strange post.

Had a very strange evening a few days ago. Haven't spoken about it to anyone, and am not going to blog it for the sensitivity of it. But need an outlet, so will attempt to relay this evening without using the 6 essential elements to any story: Why, What, How, Who, When, Where.
[this is going to be interesting]

How many times have you done something you didn't want to do, with someone you never would do in your conscious mind, at an hour you would rarely be up and exposed on the street. How many times have you allowed your vulnerability and trust get the better of you. How many times have you woken up with a nightmare of what happened feeling disgusted and nauseous. One minute you tell yourself - 'What were you thinking!' and the next you brush the thoughts aside and pretend it's no big deal, people do worse things, and blame it on being human and alcohol.

What you did is not dangerous or abusive; nor is it out-of-the-blue fucked-up. You are not sure how you are missing a few items, but they are replaceable. You are fine, people involved are fine, people not involved are fine. Had it happened 10-years ago, I would have laughed it off. But at my age, it just goes against everything you think you stand for. Adjectives such as responsible, respectable, dignity and self control explode in your face. You are stoic, slightly bitter, and want to erase every millisecond of that day. You question what on earth is going on with yourself.

No I didn't hurt anyone. No I wasn't hurt. No I didn't take drugs. It was a stupid, stupid day of which I hope nothing will repeat ever. Perhaps my feelings are just exaggerated because I have had time to let them fester. Guess there are better things to worry about.


I feel better now. I think.

Sunday, October 22, 2006

Valencia Salsa Congress 2006

Wow. What a super 3 days, (I should say nights) of dancing. I didn't do the day workshops at the congress this time, chose just to watch the shows and dance all night instead. Hmmm...guess I didn't do justice to my one-and-only hobby that I am passionate about. But you know what, unless you have a decent partner (confirmed!) to dance the workshops with, it's practically useless. There is nothing worse than getting stuck with some dude for an hour who cannot dance to save his life (but thinks he his Mr. Hotshot), it is torturous. Although the list of instructors was fantastic, I didn't want to take that chance. Besides, I think if you make it a point to try and catch the good dancers to dance during the fiesta, in that 5 minutes of dancing with them, you could learn way more than in a an hour long choreographed workshop. Anyway, the minute the workshop is over, you don't remember anything you've learnt; well I don't anyway!

Performances were incredible as usual. Swing Guys (Italy), Latin Motion (Australia), Nuno and Vanda (Portugal) and Adrian/Anita were performances that just rocked the stage.

And, the crowd gave a standing ovation to Valencianos Pady and Nico; Nico (she) is 80.
She came on stage with her line 'Salsa no tiene edad!' (Salsa has no age); and then was tossed up in the air, pulled through the legs and lead into a triple spin. INCREDIBLE. Unfortunatley I have no pictures.

I am disappointed with myself for not dancing with the instructors this time. Normally, I'm the first one to take a large slurp of my rum-and-coke and have the courage to ask one of the world-champion-instructors to dance. My experiences have been extreme: either highly encouraging, or disastrous. When they encourage your dancing, happiness knows no bounds, you are in the clouds for the next 2 days atleast. But when you don't manage to dance well with these hot-shots, your confidence hits a tremendous low.

One of the teachers (Adrian - definitly one of the hottest instructors I know of) actually asked ME to dance, night 1 of the Congress. We were in a hall where the AC was on full-blow, it was freezing and when I was dancing with him, I kept wanting to sneeze! CAN YOU BELIEVE IT?
So obviously I was so unfocused, couldn't dance with him at all; his 2-minute long free-style said it all. Was awful.

Anyhow I promised myself that I would catch him over the next few days to dance again. But I don't know why, I just didn't. Perhaps I was afraid of letting him (and myself) down again, and rather not dance, than dance badly and feel like I can't dance the rest of the night. It's like you rather dance with people you know dance well with, just to keep your spirits up.

No. Bad excuse. I should have danced with him. Mierda. Isn't it amazing how your conscience plays games with you when you don't want it to! *sigh*

Saturday, October 21, 2006

Wednesday, October 18, 2006

Public Relations and Blogging

Caught an article published recently in IHT on public relations and blogging. With the investment by PR firms like Edelman in monitoring the blogosphere, and then making fake blogs - varied thoughts come to mind about blogger transparency and the ability or inability of successful PR activities directed towards bloggers.

Monitoring the blogosphere is one thing, but PR companies would have to tip-toe very discreetly around the blogosphere if they decide to use it for positive ´messaging´ purposes (as they call it).

Bloggers that write, review, rant and rave about brands or products do so because they want to. It will be interesting to see how PR manages to influence bloggers or use blogging as a marketing tool because it would go against what bloggers stand for: real, untainted opinion. Besides, the intelligence levels of bloggers (and their readers) must not be undermined, surely they will see through subtle PR tactics.

Having said that, will PR companies start having a blogger-list on their media lists? will they end up paying/bribing influential bloggers to blog for them? Will these bloggers compromise the integrity and credibility of their blogs for a few bucks or a nice lunch? Will their readers buy that?

We read blogs because of their genuinity - they are real voices of ordinary people. In contrast, blogs on big-brand websites have no credibility, they are advertorials and I doubt they get a decent hit rate.

I think the blogosphere will loose its charm and purpose of ´raw communication´ if it gets tapped successfully by manipulative marketing personnel. Fellow bloggers, let´s not let that happen.

Steve McCurry Exhibition Valencia

Steve McCurry's fame drew me to an exhibition (just down the road from home!) of his photos from South Asia, set up as part of the International Journalism Congress that begins here tomorrow.

The photos covered mainly India, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, Afganistan, Yemen, Tibet and Nepal. They were spell-binding. Each of his photos told a story vividly that you could sense the minute you saw it. His use of colour and light is very easy to appreciate as he brings out the best of everything in it's natural surroundings - be it a wall, a tree, a person, or an animal.

Having said that, something that confused me about what I felt of his art was that all his pictures were so familiar to me, especially the ones from India. Naturally, I am Indian - but every picture - be it from Bhopal, Jodhpur, Varanasi, Bihar, Delhi or Mumbai, made me wonder how he saw modes of real human suffering (eg poverty, homelessness, floods, desert-storms) and normal existence (eg a full train, tea-pickers, farmers plowing a field, street children playing Holi, a lady in her chaniya-choli walking into her house, a child sleeping) and turned them into photographic art that today people pay money to see and pay a fortune to own. Surely these people have absolutely no clue that they are familiar faces to every other educated person in the world. They will die never knowing that some dude saw in them what nobody else did, captured it and framed it. That they, in a way will always be immortal.

Monday, October 16, 2006

Movie Review: Laberinto del Fauno

Very interested in watching a movie that combines the era of the Franco regime in Spain and fantasy, I went to watch Laberinto del Fauno - written and directed by famous Mexican director Guillermo del Toro.

It was horrible!

2 hours of watching the Franco hijos de puta (as they say) torturing their opposition left me sick to the stomach, not allowing me to appreciate the innocent and intriguing fantasies the little girl indulges in, perhaps demonstrating her way of dealing with the trauma - the whole point of the film!

Blood, bullets, torture, knives, torture, guns, blood, wounds, blood. That's all I can remember of the movie. What a shame, because the fantasy built characters had great amounts of imagination and signifance that my brain just wouldn't comprehend because of the goriness of the scenes before and after. They ended up to serve as comic relief more than anything else.

If you can't stand blood and torture scenes, do not go watch this movie. If you do, don't buy popcorn.

Terrible Cycle. Absolutely Pathetic.

Most weekends - Thursday-Saturday, I am out dancing 12-6am. So come Sunday and at 4am I am wide awake. Till about 3 weeks ago, this wasn't a problem, as I had school 9am - so would HAVE to get up, and would catch up with a power nap in the afternoon - Monday would be the only bad day, Tuesday back to normal.

But the fuck up now is that I have class at 3pm and it is impossible to get out of bed before noon, especially now that it's chilly. Now it's almost 3am here and I haven't yawned yet. Tomorrow I will wake up around noon (even though my alarm is set for 9am, as always), get dressed, fix lunch, go to school - back at 8pm. Whole day gone. It's terrible! I wish I could say 'but I'm burning the midnight oil', but other than endlessly reading online and watching absolutely pathetic yet addictive Big Brother (Gran Hermano) debates, I've been good for nothing.

Another thing that has been bothering me, is that since I land up reading for hours online - my book-reading has gone for a toss. Reading online is great, but you land up reading such a plethora of random stuff - articles, blogs, poems, rants - you don't read anything concrete; although you have been reading for 3 hours, you don't feel like you have read anything substantial. I started 4 books when I got to Spain: a Noam Chomsky, a Bill Bryson, a Jorge Bucay (which I will finish tomorrow, even if I have to be up all night), and this other really stupid Spanish book on cowboys. I haven't finished any. Terrible. I also started this journalsim course from LSJ (thinking oh I'll have loads of time in Spain)- did 6 assignments in the first month, then the Spanish-English contrast wasn't working, and haven't read assignment 7 yet. Absolutely terrible.

Time to fix things, beginning with my sleeping/not sleeping schedule.I have told my flat mate to pour water on my head before he goes to work if I'm not up by then. I hope I don't punch him.

Sunday, October 15, 2006

Marc Anthony Concert - Benidorm

Ofcourse I had to go for this concert. I must admit he was much better than I expected.

We arrived in Benidorm (the city known to have the highest skyscraper in Europe, which we didn't see) around 6:30pm for a 10:30pm concert, and there was already a 2-mile line around the football stadium. After geeing and gawing about the number of people here and giving saludos to half of Valencia present, we entered the stadium around 8pm.

A bit buggered that we had to wait another 2-and-a-half hours before the concert started, I should have guessed that Spaniards are pretty good entertainers (a.k.a time wasters :). MA music played for a bit which got the crowds into the mood, and was followed by a Flamenco show. Then we were entertained by spectators of other MA concerts around the world flashing boobs-and-bums when the cameras had caught them. Hilarious. When the cameras caught us in Benidorm, they didn't stay focused long as the best we could give them was some boys unzipping their flys. Tutut. Oh well.

Then all of a sudden, lights went off and MA appeared magically (like they all do). Looked at the crowd who was screaming, and then said...'WOW'(!?). Then immediatley starting singing 'Valio la Pena' followed by others - names of which I shamefully don't remember.

One thing though, after consequtively listening to 4-5 songs of MA, they all start sounding the same! I think the crowd felt it too because this was when they all started shouting out for J.Lo.

Yes she was there. She strutted on stage while the men had orgasms, (in a dress not doing justice to her sexiest-ass-in-the-world), gave her husband a long kiss, queen-kissed the crowd and strutted off.

Another thing that was interesting to see was that twice during the concert, MA stopped, looked at everyone (whilst pin drop silence because no-one was sure what was going to happen), closed his eyes, got onto his knees, and kissed the floor! WHAT IS THAT ABOUT? I thought we only did that in India...! Anyway.

What makes or breaks a concert is the ambience, and the atmosphere here was really rocking. Also for me, watching a concert in Spanish with Spanish people had it's own charm. As we left, everyone-about 25,000 people- were dancing on their way out, all ready to hit the dance floor. Very cool.

Saturday, October 14, 2006

My last month in Valencia

Wow. I cannot believe I have been here for 5 months already, I feel I arrived yesterday. It's so scary how time flies; there never seems to be enough time! I think 6 months is just enough time to blend into a new country. It's just about enough time to begin picking up the language somewhat decently, get to know locals, and begin living like a local. And now, thanks to my Indian passport, I have to leave. Just when I have my feet stuck into something. SUCKS.
My heart is already in my throat.

After many nights of tossing and turning with thoughts about what next, I woke up yesterday knowing: I don't want to leave Spain.

All my other million ideas of - working in Bollywood, auditioning for MTV, dancing in a professional salsa group that tours the world, getting my PR job back in Dubai, living in Bangalore, being a spiritual guide (don't ask me about this one), learning Arabic, being a tour-guide in Darwin, volunteering in Brasil, teaching English in Mexico, living in New York etc etc, have all taken a back step for the moment. Oh yes, I still plan to touch every idea before crossing it off the list, but for the moment I know I want to come back to Spain, learn the language kick-ass, write and try to get published, and teach English to keep some income rolling in. It's nice to know what you want.

Yes random, yes unstable. Yes this list of things makes me a strange, unrealistic and perhaps a fickle minded person - but hey, that's me and these are things I'd like to do, I don't care if it pokes anyone elses bum. Fortunatley, I can afford to have all these random dreams, some of which may just come true. It's a directionless direction. Hmm. Now how many of you have that!?

A house on the beach, a car, marriage, children, steady income - I just don't see on my cards at the moment. My grandmum almost had a heart attack when I told her that marriage isn't in fashion anymore :)

There is so much out there to find, to do, and the more you look, the more you find and the more you want to find. It's very easy to live a conventional life, it's what is drilled into us from when we are young, especially in India. There is nothing wrong with a conventional life. Infact it's the safer option. But nowhere close to being as fun and fulfilling as doing something a bit unconventional. I'm too young to be working in a job that ,yes, pays but for all the wrong reasons. I have done that for 4 years, worked my ass off, earned some money but now have no plans of getting back into the business world. Even if I may one day need to live on a shoe-string.

The last 5 months have probably been the most nourishing because for the first time I took 6 months off and did exactly what I wanted to. Why should things be different now?

Friday, October 13, 2006

Ignorance on the dance floor

Most of us begin salsa dancing because we enjoy dancing in general and like latin music. We prefer getting down and dirty on the dance floor than getting drunk, drugged and dizzy in a nightclub. We don't always want to go out to have deep and meaningful chats, especially after a long day at work. We rather dance our hearts out, have a drink and come back home, without the need and pressure to be 'verbally social'.

All this is quite contrary to the nature of salsa dancing. It is such a super ice-breaker. When someone asks to you dance, within less than a minute of knowing him, you land up spending the next 5 minutes or so locked in his arms, your body an inch away from his. Before you ask, there is an unsaid code between dancers. If you are a dancer, unless you are a snobbish, good for nothing asshole, you dance with everyone who asks you to, especially the first time anyway. (Things may not be so straightforward the next time around).

Apart from the above reasons, I started dancing because I needed a stress buster and I love going out and dancing. Had/have no particular interest in making close buddies on the dance floor, or talking about love and life as a means to get to know someone better. I go to dance. We are in the same place because we share the hobby. Punto. IF we talk, and IF we become friends, it would be unforced and yes, a bonus. But otherwise, I am happy just dancing. There is nothing more annoying than you dancing bachata with someone unfamiliar and they decide they want to get to know everything about you in those 5 minutes, after all - his mouth is millimetres away from your ear. It is such a turn off. Talk to me post dance mate.

Anyway...coming to my point. It is amazing to realise how many people you have not spoken to, or don't know their name when you have been physically closer to them than perhaps any of your non-dancing friends, and you see them alot more than your non-dancing friends. I remember a time when I had grown very fond of someone on the dance floor. We shared some great dances and yes had the odd conversations; and for about a year - I didn't know his name, where he was from, what he did, nothing. But everytime I saw him, I would be happier to see him than to see say a colleague from work. It didn't matter what I knew or didn't know about him. How can that be?

I think it's the no-obligations virus. I don't have to talk to him, but I can if I want to. Nothing will change the way we dance together, or whatever the hell we have together. Such relationship's are so unique.

Same thing in Spain. Yesterday, after 5 months of dancing atleast twice a night, 3 nights a row with idea what his name is.....he realised I don't speak Spanish too well, and that I'm not Spanish.

What lands up happening when you dance as much as a lunatic like me, is that you land up having a large number of acquaintances who are super dancers and you know them just enough to be comfortable and feel part of things. Life problems, work problems, relationship issues, need to compromise, partner problems, bombs in Iraq, floods in India, hunger in Ethiopia, everything is forgotten for those few hours out dancing. Such bliss! Isn't that the true essence of having fun? Do we really need close friends to go out and have a great time? Well, dancers don't anyway. You may say that we are escapists and that it's a bit pathetic; that we are loners afraid of admitting it. But it's quite the contrary. Not sure what I'd do if I didn't dance.

Wednesday, October 11, 2006

The latest from Dubai

Dubai, yet again never fails to surprise. Check out it's latest concept in offshore luxury living!

Saturday, October 07, 2006

Falling apart?

I was told that my last month in Spain would be the most important in terms of grasp of language. Everything will fall in place, you will be comfortable with the language, verb conjugation may not be perfect, but will not be a pain in the ass either.

I have entered this last month and my Spanish seems to be going nowhere but downhill. I am speaking worse than I was a month ago. I am saying 'no te entiendo' (I don't understand you) and am actually meaning it when I say it! Word's aren't flowing anymore. They used to flow. Flow wrong, but atleast flow. Now...NOT HAPPENING! My 150 odd hours of Spanish lessons so far are taking their toll; maybe I have too much information in my head that has chosen not to digest quite yet.

Perhaps I am just more aware of what I'm speaking now. Aware of how wrong I used to speak, so rather not speak, or think long before I do. Before, it didn't matter -(ignorance is bliss!), perhaps because I didn't realise what and how wrong I was speaking. Now it does. Well, I guess that's progress.

Onion flavoured ice-cream

There is a little heladeria close to home where today I tasted onion flavoured ice-cream. Yuck.
Yes it's salty. Yes you can eat it in a cone or in a cup. Yuck.

It tasted like onion paste with ice, more like an onion sorbet. Yuck. What were they thinking when they made that? They also have flavours like: salmon, potato, gazpacho, spinach, and garlic.


Friday, October 06, 2006

Spanish nick-names

I was always under the impression that a nick-name is a short form for a name. Eg. Robert = Bob, Frederic = Fred, Philip = Phil, Matthew = Mat.

But in Spain they are on bit of a different wavelength:

Enrique = Quique (ok, not bad)
Francisco = Paco (huh?)
Jose = Pepe (??)
Maria Carmen = Mamen
Rosario = Chari (HUH?)
Ignacio = Nacho
Joaquin = Ximo

And how did the whole of Spain or Hispanic world decide to come to a unanimous decision? I'm sure there are plenty more, how do you remember them when they are so non-corresponding? And why bother naming someone Jose, if you are going to call him Pepe? What about poor Pepe? Are all Pepe's Jose's?

Yes, I have had a long day. Guess some things are better left as they are.

Actually, when you think about it Indian's are no better. Almost all of us have a nick name with no logic and no uniformity, totally random.

For eg.
A Sneha could be: Pinky, Micky, Minni, Choti or Rani
A Nilesh could be: Nilu, Bittu, Shanu, Monu, Titu or Lovely.

No , I don't have one. Thank goodness.

Thursday, October 05, 2006

Spam Blog?!

This is why I haven't been able to blog lately. How on earth did my blog get tabbed as a Spam Blog? They said if I didn't reply, within 20 days they would delete my blog.

What if I was on holiday, and didn't see the message for a few weeks? all the writing I have done on this over the past year would have been erased. What a mierda system! Do you guys have back-up blogs? or somewhere where you can store your writing? (don't say Word 2000)

Well, they did fix it in 2 days, so I guess I shouldn't be ranting. Did shock me though.


Dear Blogger user,

This is a message from the Blogger Team. In order to maintain a free, high quality service, we use an automated classifier to identify spam blogs.

This system has detected that your blog has characteristics that resemble spam. Since you're an actual person reading this, your blog is probably not a spam blog. Automated spam detection is inherently fuzzy, and we sincerly apologize for this erroneous result.You won't be able to publish posts to your blog until we review your site and verify that it is not a spam blog. To request a review, please fill out the form found.

We'll take a look at your blog and unlock it in less than one business day. Please note, if we don't hear from you, we will remove your blog within 20 days. If the blog at does not belong to you, then no action is necessary on your part. Any other blogs you may have will not be affected.By using automated classification systems we've been able to dedicate more storage, bandwidth, and engineering resources to users like you instead of spammers. Thanks for your understanding.


The Blogger Team

Tuesday, October 03, 2006

For a change...!

Two things I am known to do badly (my family can narrate 1001 stories): picking food from a menu at a restuarant:- I always go for something I haven't tried before, and 99.5% of the time, I pick the worst thing on the menu. But hey, you gotta be adventurous right! Besides, I'm the one eating it so what pokes everyone else's bum, who knows.

And the second thing is picking movies to watch. See, I don't care if it's been heard of, or not; if it has won 8 Oscars or not, if it has famous cast or not. If it sounds interesting, I will rent it. And again 95% ...ok...98% of the time I am wrong - the movie sucks and people watching with me want to smother me with a sofa cushion.

BUT, today I rented a movie, and it was pretty damn good! Well I enjoyed it anyway. Went to see if they had Volver, but they didn't - and in fear of getting another depressing movie, I stayed away from other Al Modovar's and picked one called 'Habana Blues'.

Set in Havana, revolving around a group of young (guapo!) Cubano musicians who are trying to make it big and escape from the island, the movie didn't specially tell a new story, but told it originally.

Very real, with a touch of drama to save it from being a documentary; music to bring to life the essence of Cuba, and stunning shots in Havana city made the movie enjoyable.

Having been to Cuba, was very nostalgic watching it (minus the guapo men, who we didn't seem to find during our 4 weeks there!). In short, it was just the sort of movie I was in the mood for, made me smile and I am downloading the soundtrack as I write.

BUT, I must point out: I found it harder to understand the Cuban accent when they speak Spanish! They eat words, always speak in 3rd person singular, and do not pronounce 's'. There are 2 Spaniards in the movie, who I was so glad to be able to understand! I had the perception that Latin American Spanish would but much simpler to comprehend, but I think it totally depends on the Spanish you have been accustomed to, obviously I guess.

All in all, dare I say, I felt better watching this more than all the other 3 I saw over the weekend put together.

Sunday, October 01, 2006

Movie weekend

To welcome the winter with open arms, my body decided not to resist a cold - for that is what winter brings. Blankets are out and so are trousers and cardigans - and this weekend so were my panadols and vitamins. However, a cold is a great excuse to stay in, cuddle up (to your dog, if that's all you have) get some hot Cola Cao going and watch movies. I had become a member of trendy Version Original down the street some 4 months ago, and still had 9 of 10 rentals on my card (can you believe it?). Anyway - so I landed up watching 3 good but very depressing movies:

Barrio: Es un cuenta de thres chicos que viven en un bajo barrio de un ciudad. La pelicula revolve alredador de amistad de ellos, sus problemos en casa con sus padres, hermanos, trabajo y vida en general, y acaba en un tragedy. Es triste pero recomendo este peli.

Hable Con Ella: Si! mi primera pelicula de Al Modovar. No sabia que muchos de sus peliculas son triste! Este pelicula es sobre dos hombres que tienen novia's en coma. Como ellos las cuidan, y desarollo de sus amistad. Pero, este pelicula tiene un ángulo muy chocante y poco enfermo - que despues siente muy mal. Emocional y casi real, este pelicula es muy bien, recomendo tambien.

Whoa. My first attempt blogging en español - y me cuesta mucho! Por favor, si hay alguien español leyendo mi blog, cuanto lo siento! Un dia escribiré sin error!

Water: Now films like this make me proud of Indian cinema. Beautifully shot, this film revolves around the life of a child widow in a home for widows, during the time when most widows were considered useless and a burden. In these houses they need to beg for a living and sometimes sell themselves. Written and directed by Deepa Mehta (known for picking controversial topics) it was made only after a political battle with Indian parties. The movie is not a sob story - but an intense, powerful, and sad peek into the reality of over 34 million widows in India.

Great weekend, but I'm a bit low on my 'happy level' after watching 3 serious and sad films consecutively. Am off to watch some Aida before bed.

Saturday, September 30, 2006

Do you know how to squat?

Whilst doing some bedtime reading, came across this article - made me laugh; especially being Indian, who has grown up without the luxury of toilet paper. Today, there is a book on it "How to shit around the world" and even technique lessons. What to do, how to do, what not to do, pre-doing, advance squatting. My my.

Languages open doors

"Translators needed: Pakistani/Hindu to Spanish", read the ad on a notice board in town. I pick up the phone to call the number, if nothing else but to explain to these dudes that Pakistani is not a language; Pakistani's speak Urdu. Hindu is not a language, it is a religion - the language is Hindi. Hindi and Urdu are spoken similarly, but the script is completely different. I speak Urdu/Hindi but cannot read Urdu. (Now I must have said something very unclearly because on my way out of the interview, I was still given a Urdu-Spanish dictionary)

Anyway. All excited about visiting an interpretor office (yes the movie The Interpretor was flashing infront of my eyes), I went for an interview to be a translator. Thinking I'd be writing or translating for business/tourism purposes, I was a little set aback when I was told that I would be the official translator in a criminal court of law.


"You need to understand the laws of the Spanish court, and be able to communicate them to the detainee," they said. "You will narrate the story of the detainee to the court and be the mouthpiece of the court to the detainee."

What? After only 4 months in Spain, am I competent to do this?

" Si si si si!, hablas muy bien" - No problem at all , it's easy. Right.

"Here is a book (in Spanish) you need to know in and out. It explains your job and your rights. There are 300 legal Spanish words you need to know in Pakistani (HINDI!!por favor)
and since you seem to have good English, I'm putting you down for English detainees too."

My confidence and pride was escalating like a rocket in this room. I could see myself being important, doing something that made a difference (no shit, what I translate could make a difference on whether this dude goes to prision or not), without me, the courtroom practically cannot function. I was exhilarated.

After a 3 hour interview/briefing, all set to hear my working hours and pay - everything seemed to go the wrong way. "We pay Euro 12 an hour. Does not count travel time."

Thats it? Surely interpretors get paid more. Anyway, money not being the prime reason for me excepting this job - I wasn't going to contest that. It's about 50% more than the average pay of an Espanol my age, so that's pretty good.

"You have to be on call 24 hours"


"You might have to go to court, to the police station, to the scene of an accident, to the hospital, to the detention centre. There is no fixed time. We pay Euro 15 any time after 10pm".

Ok.. So if I'm out salsa dancing and you call, I need to be there?


How inconvenient! and what if I can't come? "Say you can't, but the more you say you can't the less we will call you."

Ok. So I have school 1-7pm, I dance 3 nights a week. I see myself saying no alot. But then what's the point? And, if I am out dancing and they call, and I say no, am I going to be able to enjoy the rest of the night thinking that I have taken up a job that I probably am never going to show up at ?

Anyway, I was told I have till Monday to think about it. Being in two minds, I was happy to hear that. My mind was saying: try it for a bit, and if it's a pain in the ass, forget about it - how many times do you get such an opportunity? And I saw myself beginning to nurture my competency in a language and translating, felt good. But it was also saying, do you really want to spend your last month in Spain doing this? Do you really want to get phone calls at any hour asking you to drop everything to go help the Spanish courts? Will your conscious allow you to say 'no' when you have to choose dinner/dancing/movie over helping bring justice?

4 days to think...lets see.

Was in class the next day when my phone rang 3 times and I received 2 messages. Panic messages from the lady wondering if I could go to court tonight for a job.

What? I don't even know how to say "Rights" in Hindi yet! My heart was racing.

After a coffee and a long conversation with my dad, I called back and refused the job.
Perhaps another time, if I return to Spain, I might dare to take it up, it would certainly be a fabulous experience. For the moment I'm just happy and relieved that I'm blogging it. Who knows what other doors language learning will open.

Wednesday, September 27, 2006

'Pipa' Culture

In Spain, people eat pipas - sunflower seeds. They have a cover that you need to crack open to get to the seed; the seed is miniscule and tastes like...umm...nothing.

Seeing them being sold extensively both in supermarkets and on the streets, by companies both local and international, I decided to buy some. Not knowing much about this snack that Spaniards seem to be munching on all the time, I decided not to be boring and bought barbeque flavour.

Now, since the cover of these pipas is well 'barbequed', it didn't occur to me that I had to break past the delicious BBQ flavoured shell to eat the thing, that, has no flavour.

So here I am, eating these pipas with their cover, 100% sure that I know what I'm doing and thinking how on earth do people swallow these things? Don't they choke?

Yeah ok. Really dumb. But why would you want to bother flavouring the cover of something you don't eat!?

I spent a few days wondering if I was more retarded than the concept.

Anyway, today there is a phrase in Spanish 'pasando pipa' that originates (apparently) from the whole process of friends getting together, having fun and eating pipas. This was done so that it's never awkward when there is nothing to say, everyone is always occupied eating (or trying to eat) pipas, so never an awkward silence. Today this phrase means 'having a good time'!

So chicos, hope you are 'enjoying the sunflower seeds.' :P

Always one!

No matter where you live or what you do, there is almost always one person around who gets under your skin. Who you want to punch, every time he speaks.

You cannot stand anything he says, does, wears, writes or breathes. He thinks he is smart, but he is an idiot. He thinks he is funny, but he is an idiot. He thinks he rocks the world of every girl around him, but he is an idiot. You cringe when he smirks.

He has been learning a language since he can remember, yet when constructing a sentence he speaks like this.
And still gets it wrong! He asks questions like 'so when you are driving in Norway, if a rhino happens to come in your way, who has the right to pass first?' (HUH?)

His hobbie is visiting libraries. He has visited almost every one in the city, but has not bought a single book. From the 865,980 odd books in the 11 libraries he has been to, he likes none.

He doesn't like Spanish food - cooked or raw. Says the meat has an odd flavour, the fish smells, the pure Spanish virgin olive oil just tampers the original taste of food, and the fruit tastes different.

Everyday he has a weird story to narrate where everyone seems to want to pick a fight with him. (Hmmm I wonder why?)


Okkkk. He doesn't mean bad and was probably neglected as a child or something like that, but I generally have a tremendous level of tolerance for people and always give them the benefit of the doubt, but this dude crawls on my nerves like a giant spider who's cobwebs stick.

I have another 6 weeks with him. Mierda.

Will let you know if I ever punch him.

Monday, September 25, 2006


I have a guy in my Spanish class from a country called 'Suriname' . He said I should be ashamed not knowing of this country, as a majority of the population is Indian!

Located in the very North of South America, it shares borders with Brazil and 37% of the 450,000 population is from Bihar and Eastern Uttar Pradesh! Do you think Laloo Prasad knows of this country?! A former Dutch colony (known in the past as Dutch Guiana), the first official language is Dutch, but the second is Sarnami Hindustani, which apparently is a Bihari dialect!

It seems like Indians landed up there to serve as labourers through a special arrangement between the English and the Dutch.

*sigh* The world is full of surprises.

Spanish Spit

Spanish spit is the last thing I thought I'd be writing about Spanish men. As much as I think they are very sexy, it all goes down the drain when your face gets repeatedly sprinkled with spit in conversation. Ugh.

Every time for the last 4 months, I have let it pass - thinking, nah it's just this dude- he has a lisp, or ah this dude has lived in Germany, or ah he's old - old men spit. But no. Spanish men spit when they talk. To which I must add, their sense of personal space is half of what you would be comfortable with, so there is no place else for the spit to go but your face.

These days I stand as normal when I'm talking, but my head is a good 45 degrees acute angle away from Juan, Carlos, Jose, David, Raul, Ricardo, Javier, Miguel, Toni, Ivan and Mario. Don't they realise when they do it? How can you not realise? The fact that 'g' is pronounced 'khhhhhhe' and 'j' - 'khhhhhho'' is not good enough of an excuse. ' And, just to clarify - not Latin Americans, just the Spanish.

I'd be interested to have a spitting competition between Arab and Spanish men, it would be a tough one.

Sunday, September 24, 2006

Salvador: * *

Today I saw Salvador, my first Spanish film. And I understood 99% of it! It felt great and was much needed, specially after the time I went to watch Spanish theatre (La Mujer De Negro) and understood squat. Anyone learning a language will know the joy you feel the first time you can listen without strain, confusion or frustration. AND, despite the fact that alot of the film is in Catalan with Spanish subtitles, wasn't a problem at all. *sigh* what bliss! (Ok, I did read the story of the film before I went. But that doesn't count).

Ok now the movie. Hmmmmm. Not as good as expected. Revolving around Salvador Puig Antich, a young Spanish revolutionary who fought against dictator Franco and was sentenced to death by the regime, I imagined it would be a good summary and depiction of life in Spain during Franco. But it turned out to be an emotional, melodramatic tribute to the guy, with no substance as to how he and his team fought, why they fought, or the Franco regime. 50% of the film is him in jail playing basketball with the guards and the last half-hour is him waiting to die, with a good 10 minutes of him being killed.

Very emotional, but the emotion is generated primarily from the natural heart wrench you feel watching anyone good, sentenced and waiting to die (even the Franco's police guards in the film don't want him to die!).

How did the Franco regime treat people? What was life in Spain like then? Apart from robbing banks and using money to buy weapons, what else did these young revolutionaries do? What political and social activity lead to the formation of the youth revolutionary organisation? What happened after his death? Did he inspire some sort of movement?
The film doesn't give you anything to imagine.

However, I must say - German actor Daniel Bruhl is great in the film, and speaks super Spanish and Catalan for a German.

Another thing that I couldn't decipher was the end of the film when they show credits. You'd think they would show real footage from the Franco regime, but instead there were snippets of Osama Bin Laden and Yasser Arafat!??? No entiendo.

Comparing this film to that of Indian films like Bhagat Singh, and Mangal Pandey - Spanish cinema has alot of catching up to do.

A review found online couldn't have summed it up better:
"We are served up a slick, commercial soap opera – a rear tear-jerker of a movie. A laughable fictional melodrama, run-of-the-mill stuff."

Friday, September 22, 2006

One of those days

Have you ever had one of those days when: you want to go out, but you also don't want to go out; when you feel like ringing someone to take a walk or have a beer, but you can't really make-up your mind who exactly you want to ring, and the one person who rings you - you don't wanna go out with; you feel lazy and useless, but with the option of doing something else right in front of you, you still rather be lazy; when you really don't want to eat at Burger King, but you do anyway; when you want to read a book, but you don't seem to have THE book you want to read; when you want to watch a movie, but nothing on tele and video club is closed;when you want to blog, but you don't have THE topic you want to blog about, clear in your head.


Saturday, September 16, 2006


When you travel, needless to say, you learn alot about yourself. What you can handle, what you can't. What you think you can handle, and also what you think you can't handle.

Formentera was my first-time proper exposure to nudist beaches. Seeing topless girls on a beach here and there is quite different to being on a beach where everyone is naked. And as open minded and I think (well, thought) I did bother me.

People of many countries, all ages, all sexualities, all types, all sizes, all shapes, all shades, all shaves were most happily (bless them) struting their stuff. And the rest I will leave to your imagination. Because you know what? sometimes it is really better that things are left to ones imagination. Healthier.

Please remember that people in general, in real life, on the beach, do not look like people in Baywatch. 60 year olds, 300 pounders,transvestites - do I need to elaborate? And yes, guys still scratch their balls.

What was interesting, was that it is so normal in Formentera to be naked. When we arrived, our host J took us straight to the beach (since there wasn't much we could do in his garage!) - and before we could even get our bikini's out, midst conversation, all of a sudden he was standing with us, stark naked. And talking.

I didn't know where to look, or rather, where not to look. I had known this guy a whole 10 minutes and already crossed boundaries that I have not crossed (and will probably never cross) with people I have known for years!

My friend M who went with me had a slightly different attitude towards it all. 'The human body is beautiful and how liberating it is to be able to just be in our natural forms' types. However, it took her 4 years to get comfortable with the idea. I truly thought I'd get used to it in 5 days, but nope. It was too odd.

It was interesting to note certain things on these nudist beaches. Like, you could tell if people had been there for ages - if they had a tan, but didn't have bikini lines. You could tell that some probably were apprehensive of stripping when they first arrived, but now they are into the groove of it - again because they had swim suit marks.

All in all, yes the human body is beautiful. But too many naked human bodies at one time, is a whole different story.

Yeah...ok, I bet you are asking - so did you get naked?

What do you think.

Wednesday, September 06, 2006

Squatting on Spanish islands

"We've got the house!" said my friend M with whom I was going to Formentera/Ibiza. M has a friend, who has a friend - who lives in Formentera, and the darling that he is, is willing to let two people stay there for 5 days. YEEEHAAA. So we no longer need to pay for accomodation. Money saved: Euro 200, yippee!

So we arrive on this island, and again, the darling that this guy is, he comes to pick us up at the port. Life is gooooood. People are wonderfulllll. He seems decent, talks sense, doesn't seem to want anything in return for us staying with him. Hmm. Too good to be true huh.

Well..anyway..he tells us while we are in his battered station wagon, that he doesn't exactly have a house, and is not sure if we know where he really lives. Not being too picky about our beds, we listen with a smile. We reach his house, that has been home to him for 5 years. It's a garage.
Literally. A shed, with a small window, a curtain, no electricity, no running water, no plug point, no bathroom. Hmmm.


Ok, it's free and everything else is booked out. It's not like we had many options. No worries.
Rules of the ummm...garage: Do not make noise in the morning, do not be in sight around 4-6pm. OK.

Oh, did I mention, sure he didn't have a bathroom, but he had a laptop and a fridge. Hmmm.

Anyway, we dump our stuff and decide to just chill and call the other 2 remote friends of friends of friends, who might just remember us - to see if we can crash with them. This dude didn't want us around more than two days, another thing nobody bothered to tell us before hand. No worries.

We meet our other friends.
a) B, Valenciano turned hippy, lives in a pine forest. Cool! house in the mountains! hehhe nooooooo. Just a sleeping bag and a tree as shelter. Wow.

b) V, Nepali, lives in a hut in the forest. Four walls made of wood, a roof made of leaves. No electricity or water either. Great.

Conclusion: Our garage is luxury.

But we only have it for 2 nights, we need to find a place to be for another 2.

Easy: Night 3 - we stay with a friend of B in an abandoned house in the middle of nowhere. It has a roof and a well! So we have access to fresh water. Not bad.

Night 4 -

Almost as if feeling our plight...V tells us he has a mate who has a beautiful house (real house) in the mountains with everything - light/water/bed/4 walls/chairs/TV...and he would be happy to shelter us for a night, for 10 Euros each. YAAAAAAAY. We can have a shower and perhaps sleep in a bed!

(NB the 3 nights without real accomodation were really good. Quite comfortable, quiet and really got us into the 'being with nature mode'. But we hadn't walked through a real door, or had a shower, or used a bathroom for 3 days - a house sounded great. And for 10 Euros - ooffff jackpot!)

So we go to this house on our last night, in the middle of nowwhere. We hung out with out host I for the evening. But he landed up drinking alot. No - thats an understatement. He probably couldn't distinguish a man from a tree - thats how drunk he was. Anyway, fingers crossed - we go with him, he seemed harmless.

The house was beautiful, and we go into our room with the biggest smiles on our faces. We shut the door, get ready to sleep. And we hear him put his stereo on FULL volume and him singing from the top of his lungs. MAN.

Ok...10 minutes later, seems like he has passes out. We creep out, turn off the stereo and the TV and slip back into out rooms.

5 mins later - he is up, TV is on, music is on, he is singing again. MAAAAAN!

Ok...10 minutes later, we decide to talk to him and request him to reduce the noise.
We see him passed out, butt naked on the sofa. Yikes. We don't dare to leave our rooms.

We try to sleep. But all we can hear is noises him singing, talking, banging into things, things falling down and other strange noises I rather not describe. He banged into our room a few times. He even opened our door and put in a cactus plant? aaaaaahhh...freaky!

With no lock inside, we do whatever we can to jam the door from inside. And we fall asleep, freaked out, listening to terrible and loud noises.

8 am - he seems to be still awake. Yikes.

10 am - we sneak out of the window of our room, and make a run for it.

Night 5: Ibiza

The last boat from Formentera to Ibiza is at 8:30pm, our flight to Valencia was at 7am the next day. Plan? party all night and go to the airport around 6am.

Starving, we decide to eat first. Find this decent and not expensive pizzeria - and go in for a pizza and an extra large jug of Sangria. Comes time to pay, I give them my bank card. Lo and behold, it doesn't work. In wallet - Euro 35; bill - Euro 27.

Now 2 chicas in Ibiza, with 8 Euros and no friends. Thats not enough to get a taxi to the airport. Buses have stopped running. No battery in phone, no money in phone. Phone cards don't work in Ibiza. YAAY. So much for our plan to party.

Luckily the dude in the resturant had a friend in the restuarant who agreed to drop us to the airport and even take us around town, if we felt like hanging with a big, African, non-English, non-Spanish speaking dude from Senegal for the rest of the evening.

Fingers crossed in our pocket, we agree. It was midnight, there was no way we were going to spend what would probably be our first and last night in Ibiza, at the airport.

So here we are with R from Senegal, who took us to Playa En Bossa, one of the most happening beaches. He seemed to know a few bouncers so we got into places for free. With E8 in our pockets, we couldn't even get a water.

After being silent observers in 6 bars and 2 clubs, we needed a strong drink. Went to the Mercado, got a litre of beer and sat on the beach till 3. R thought he was making great friends, and as nice as he was, we decided it was time to go to the airport.

So night 5: Airport.

Beer at night, breakfast later, we are in Valencia waiting at the bus stop for a bus to get home. 4 Euros 40 Cents in our pocket, we need 5 for the bus. Great. Luckily the girl next to us heard us furiously counting our change and gave us 60 Cents.

Yes people are wonderful in general. We were very lucky on this trip - we always had people helping us out of our stranded situation (s).

Definitly one of my most adventuras and unpredictable trips.

Now, anybody can top the level of adventure in sleeping arrangements?:)
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