ah, hello. never have i been so glad to get home before.
spain was beautiful, but i have discovered 2 weeks away from home and computer is too much for me. i think it’s partly because my dad wasn’t around, because it would’ve been more bearable had i a laptop to keep in touch with some people some of the time. in any case the tour had about 24 people, which is quite a nice size since everyone had 2 seats to themselves in the coach — which i may mention was a very comfortable coach.
i usually hate conducted tours because you have to wake up at ungodly hours of the day and drag yourself out often before the sun awakes. i suppose after going about 5 years on your own you really begin to appreciate someone else planning your itinerary for you, as well as deciding where to eat your meals and all that — a subject of contention in my family since forever cos we’re all indecisive bastards as some people will testify.
however this tour was really good cos the people were really nice — except we were a little horrified that nearly all the women in the tour were teachers save my mum and 3 others. mind you the male-female ratio is a little lopsided. met this family of four that were really really nice to me and my mum — they have 2 sons called augustine and desmond (ok no one make any funny comments) they’re 27 and 25 but they’re really funny and they’re damn nice. august calls me a hamster cos i store food up and eat it reaaallly slowly. so in return i called him a monkey cos he likes to eat peanuts, of which there were plenty since nearly every chinese restaurant we ate in offered them. i swear chinese restaurants in spain have egg as their staple dish or something. they have egg in every single restaurant and i mean fried egg you know like chye poh omelette im just like okae let’s all con caucasians into eating weird shit like omelettes that pass for chinese food.
euro exchange rate is crazy. euro keeps going up and us dollar keeps dropping. reason i know this is because firstly i’m in europe (d’oh) and secondly everything in spanish hotels is — tada! — in spanish and the only thing that is in english happens to be cnn. hooray pro american channels. also, i discovered they show japanese anime in spain except like everything else it is in spanish. do you know how ridiculous it is to be watching japanese anime in spanish when you’re chinese and speak english?! oh and i also discovered that german tv (because they do screen german tv channels) is like infiltrated with porn galore because it’s national tv! for god’s sakes! there was like this crazy sex show where they had to answer questions related to the porn industry and if they got it wrong they had to strip off one part of their clothing! (this information i got with you know, inference.) what is this! anyway i watched it long enough to figure wtf was going on before i changed the channel only to find another porn channel. my god i give up watching tv in spain all there is is porn and cnn. let’s just die. ..
so i learnt some spanish. the most random words ever. i learnt that gracias means thank you, naranja means orange, melocoton means peach, salida means exit, hola means hello, leche means milk, pollo means chicken. we had a lovely time trying to describe to the waiter what a fish was when desmond just gave up and said ‘nemo! you know nemo? -makes some hand sign describing fish-‘ and the guy went AH and mumbled some unintelligible spanish word which we presumed meant fish. oh and by the way tortilla in spain means OMELETTE please don’t make the mistake of ordering 4 ‘tortillas’ like we did and die of egg overdose after that.
mango and zara are quite cheap there. didn’t buy much though. didn’t really like madrid although my friend went crazy after seeing the real madrid stadium (the name eludes me) cos he ran up and down the bus screaming ‘RONALDO!!!’ after that. good grief.
weather was good. 10-15 most of the time, rained for a few days but it was sunshine in the second week. by the way spanish flamenco dances, phwoar. it’s so violent i wonder the floor hasn’t cracked yet. and a 70+ year old woman could do it. gee. tons of gypsies! and therefore tons of pickpockets. it’s crazy the things they think up to pick money off you. then again i suppose you have to be creative in this sort of line. went to (in order) barcelona, valencia, alicante, peniscola, torremolinos, granada, gibraltar, seville, lisbon, salamanca, madrid. crazy whirlwind journey. but my god it was fun.
it’s weird to come back and have culture shock in your own country. spain is so full of culture and life, there’s so much vibrance in it it hurts to come back and look at singapore. the hilltop views are fantastic both in the day and night, and the architecture of every single building in their cities is totally unique, they’re all different. they’re all fantastically balconied and decorated for christmas and there are little shops here and there bustling with old people young people and there are buskers out on the streets selling artwork music performances phwoar. i love it. many of the older ones complained it was abit boring because spain is a catholic country so what you see is mostly churches and castles and squares (their squares are fantastic) but there’s just so much history and culture behind it it grows on you. then there are so many narrow cobblestoned streets and the pavements on the main avenue are wide and spacious and everyone around you is talking and laughing. the little children run around bundled up in their little winter coats they look so cute.
the churches are great. there’s just this overwhelming sense of grandeur and somnolence the moment you walk in and it’s just like, phwoar. the stained glass is beautiful, restored or not, and the light pours in and illuminates you while you walk down the aisles and breathe in the atmosphere. the chapels, the ceilings, floors, columns, walls, facade — everything is lovingly created by some dedicated artist, dedicated to god working in his god-given gift for god — it’s wonderful. everything is so beautiful and holy and magical. the sagrada familia in barcelona is still under construction but it already looks wonderful — architects say it’ll take till 2022 to totally finish it. man, i want to go back just to see it. then there are so many parks and boulevards, flowers and fruit trees lining the streets and the shops and even the people are colourful. the rivers flow by while people walk along the esplanade (which incidentally looks a hell lot better than ours) it’s just happiness, happiness, happiness. there’s love everywhere around me it’s amazing.
the flight to and fro was terrible though. took about 24 hours in all to get there because we stopped over in like 3069536 places. singapore to bangkok to helsinki to barcelona, and on the way back it was madrid to stockholm to helsinki to bangkok to singapore. it’s crazy. stopped over at helsinki for 7 hours last night and spent most of it trying to while away the time playing tai ti. then bridge. then heart attack. then bluff. then pictionary. then hangman. then drunken elephant without the drunken elephant parts. i was bored shitless. the only thing good about stopping in helsinki was that it was SNOWING! HAHAHA. was about -2 outside so we checked out for awhile and played in the snow then went in again. ahhaha it was shit cold but it was damn fun.
took lots of pictures but my computer is down yet again. will call my cousin tomorrow to come and fix it sometime, so meanwhile i’ll be on my mum’s comp again. will try and find to cable to connect my camera to this comp and then upload somewhere. does anyone know a nice picture hosting site that hosts in album form and is like, free?
ah well. had a good trip. but was yearning to come back somehow. except there’s no one to talk to cos everyone’s away. i think i should just camp at home and read till i go to jakarta.
in any case someone tell me what time to report for de-trash so i can arrange my schedule? haha thanks (: