Tequila Does NOT Break Dan’s Spanish

… But it has broken my spirit. Actually, yep, screw this. I am hungover as hell. Certainly too hungover to be blogging. I will tell you about it tomorrow…

31st March 2014 (some 8 days later):

Dearest readers, I am sorry that I lied to you. In my desperately hungover state, I boldly claimed that I would tell you about my latest of experience of tequila ‘tomorrow’ (see above for any clarification). As you may have taken note by now, I did not tell you about it that following day. Nor did I spill the beans the day after that, nor the day after that, etc., etc. … For this, I wish to apologise. Yet frankly, you didn’t miss out on much. As the title suggests, even in my sorry state that developed ferociously soon after waking up on the sofa of my favourite Venezuelan friend (of which I have a grand total of 1), I was able to converse with her in Spanish without too much trouble. Well, not so much converse as complain of an aching head and great regret for having drunk so much the night before. In fact, the volume of alcohol I consumed on the night actually had a fair amount to do with Luz – translated as ‘Light’ in English and pronounced more or less as the word ‘loose’ –  who is something of a tenacious little latina lady when it comes to convincing me to drink far more than I should.

After preparing her housemates, friends and me a delectable meal, such is typical of her generous nature, she proceeded to ‘pop bottles’. Birdman and Lil Wayne would have been proud. The contents of a couple of tequila bottles were quickly depleted thanks to the dogged determination of my South American companion to ensure that all in attendance knocked back shot after shot. The lemon, liquor and salt were all out in force. After time – an alarmingly brief period – as the wells of tequila began to run dry, Luz was able, with some considerable cunning, to trick us into downing further shots, presented as ‘tequila’… Tequila, they were not. She had us downing shots of vodka (which she had poured into an empty tequila bottle, somehow without anyone seeing). Worryingly, it took a number of us more than one attempt with this latest concoction to realise that our barmaid for the evening was pulling the wool over our eyes. Thankfully, I soon wised up to the deceit and stemmed the flow of booze to my system. Not before, that is, Luz was able, finally, to delegate me the task of seeing away some red wine left over from dinner that she had at least in principle intended to drink herself, or so she said.

The end result, needless to say, was a drunken group of individuals, which constituted of 2 Swedes, 1 Englishman, 1 American, 1 Venezuelan and a Pole (a Polish person – we didn’t form an international gang and wield a sole weapon between us of a pole as our means to instil fear in our rivals). It all sounds like the makings of a terribly poor joke. Without discussing the details of our punchline, we soon left Luz’ flat to go and wreak havoc on the streets… or rather, just to go to a club. An entertaining evening, for sure. Followed by a diabolically unpleasant headache the following morning, as is both deserved and to be expected. Regardless, the hangover is a familiarity, most regrettably, which never becomes more bearable. It did, however, on this occasion provide me a lesson (no, not to stop drinking for good): I can now say with conviction that my Spanish has notably improved since I first arrived in Barcelona way back when. I have the scientific evidence to prove it and everything! Well, er, sort of. I now have the pseudo-scientific evidence to prove it. Cast your minds back, if you will, to September 2013, during which I went out for tequila-filled night. The result was this.

Indeed, at that time in my fledgling Catalan career, equipped with an apocalyptic hangover having drunk a toxic amount of tequila, I was simply unable to string two words of Spanish together – let alone a sentence. I remember giving in to the pain fairly swiftly on said occasion and accepting that words were not destined to leave my mouth that day, in any language for that matter. I was well and truly hurting. Yet, back to the present day – or thereabouts – and I now have a barometer of sorts to measure the quality of my spoken Spanish. My capability to speak the language after my recent night of tequila consumption dropped far less than on that initial occasion. Therefore, with the independent variable of my consumption of [an unspecified amount of] tequila and the dependent variable of my level of spoken Spanish, I can accurately conclude that my Spanish has improved. All I have to do is look to the results! Whether or not I specifically needed the independent variable of tequila-drinking to formally examine the extent of my improvement is a question which, for the time being, remains unanswered (does it, really, Dan…?). What I can at least say for sure is that, in terms of the tequila and its attempts to foil me in my own attempts of speaking decent Spanish, I have come, I have seen and I have conquered.

My vanquished foe

My vanquished foe

The sad truth for me is that this merely represents a victory in a minor battle in what is sure to be long and hard-fought war against this vicious Mexican beverage. I am almost certain to continue drinking it, despite my better judgment, and it will no doubt leave me in a sorry heap on each and every day after the night before. So this is a victory that I will savour and will be sure to look to with fondness in my more desperate of moments, when all points to tequila holding the upper hand. The war rages on but, for the time being at least, I have the spoils of my triumphant battle to enjoy.



Dan Reaches the Top of Barcelona

DISCLAIMER: In the latest instalment of Dan Makes a Friend Called Spain, Daniel writes in a far more sentimental fashion than that to which he is accustomed. Snide remarks come at a premium and he may even make the odd comment that is commonly regarded as ‘cute’. For this, he can only apologise but he did really have a very nice day on Sunday 9th March 2014. That which follows in this blog entry is a detailed account of a walk that Daniel took around the city of Barcelona. And some other stuff. On a side note, he would like to inform you that his legs now somewhat ache. Soon, you might just understand why…

Ladies and gentlemen, boys and girls, I had a truly excellent day yesterday. A very tiring day at that, but my fatigue did not at all detract any enjoyment from what turned out to be a fine Sunday in Spain. As I opened the blinds of my bedroom window in the morning, I noticed that the weather was great; the sun was shining, the passers-by were out in force, donning T-shirts and sunglasses, and there was but a cloud in the sky. Having spent all of Saturday sat at home watching football – a perfectly good experience in itself, as Chelsea thrashed an amazingly hapless Spurs side at Stamford Bridge – I knew that today would be my day. Today I would leave my flat (and return at a later hour, I don’t mean to imply that I would be gone forever). Quickly, I decided upon going for a walk. Now, generally speaking, I do not ‘go for walks’. If and when I walk, I do so with purpose, with a destination in mind. I have never been one to simply step outside and see where the wind blows me. But on this Sunday morning, that is exactly what I did. Oh, how Spain has changed me.

So off I went to see the wind would take me… albeit initially with a place in mind: el Parc del Guinardó. I had previously heard that some excellent views of the city were up for grabs at the park in question, so, with the weather as good as it was, I took off on my solo mission to find myself some breathtaking views. And breathtaking views I found. I ambled through the characteristic streets of my Spanish home and, after a lengthy stroll, reached the park. Only then did I appreciate that, in order for me to enjoy the views for which I had gone there, a little bit of hiking would be required. It was certainly a warm day for a hike but I thought myself up to the task. Off came the jacket and on came the steely determination to reach the ‘top’ of Barcelona. I can now confirm that the reports are true, that the views from the top of Guinardó are simply astounding. The park stands as a lone mountain of sorts in the middle of the city, meaning that an extensive view of Barcelona can be enjoyed from practically all angles, regardless of where you are stood. And I must say, it is just lovely up there.

The beautiful view of the city #nofilter #quiteobviouslyafilter

The beautiful view of the city #nofilter #quiteobviouslyafilter

At the ‘summit’, joined by my fellow hikers and tourists, I hopped over a low fence to sit atop a raised platform that overlooked the city in an easterly direction, facing the sea and some of the city’s most iconic locations. A platform, I might add, that had no railing at its edge to prevent people from falling off and hurtling towards their imminent death, or at the very least, a severe injury. Meelie, my aunt and an impressive enforcer of Health and Safety regulations, would have surely reeled at such a sight. Yet my seated neighbours around me seemed largely untroubled by this hazard and I was fairly at ease myself. So there I sat, gazing upon such renowned sites as La Sagrada Familia, Barceloneta and some of the city’s finest and most famous hotels, listening to music which was perfect for the setting: the ominously titled Songs to Break Up to is a fine piece of work from Ta-ku, an Australian producer, and is certainly an album to evoke an emotional response. I will revisit this music shortly, but for the time being, I would like to focus on a pleasant discovery I made whilst sat overlooking these majestic views.

My discovery was that I had found myself a muse, and that muse was the city I live in: Barcelona itself. The proof lies in the fact that here I sit, typing away, when typically, it takes me a good few weeks to come up with any content worth harping on about. As I surveyed the city sites in all their glory, the thoughts came flowing in, ranging from the prospective to the nostalgic and I felt the sudden urge to document them all. Barcelona had inspired me to write! It was a nice feeling, to say the least. Now, if I were an author, I would undoubtedly have jumped for joy (and probably fallen from the perilous platform to my doom) at the thought that I had overcome my crippling writer’s block. But as it stands, I am but a lowly blogger. Regardless, it was an alleviating sensation. Barcelona has become my muse, and it is a beautiful one at that.

Nice day for a stroll

Nice day for a stroll

So these thoughts of mine then, inspired by the city I live in. Well, partly inspired by the city. Beyond doubt, the trajectory of my thought process was dictated, too, in no small part by the music which I sat listening to. Songs to Break Up to is an interesting title for an album, indeed, and a thought-provoking one. Each song is titled to describe a different stage of the break-up process and captures the essence of that title most fittingly. Ironically, I would suggest that it is definitely not an album to be chosen as listening material in the event that your relationship is brought to an end. It will leave you in pieces; a gloomy shadow of your former self.  Now, here is where the music I was listening to and the sights I was seeing combined to inspire me. Naturally, they made me think of the ‘relationships’ of my short life and, thus, of the ‘break-ups’ which I have experienced. I have placed both words between inverted commas because, as you shall soon see, they hardly count as valid experiences of each, respectively. Thus, what needs to be noted at this point is that I am absolutely not an authority on the whole business of break-ups. Maybe Songs to Break Up to, in fact, should be a go-to album when you regrettably come to end a relationship with somebody. Maybe you need to allow yourself the time to be utterly miserable if you are to truly heal, and maybe that means listening to a 10-track album that will surely compound your misery, leaving you in a self-pitying and equally self-loathing mess. Then again, I could be completely wrong. I just don’t know. Such were the thoughts that ran through my mind as I sat atop Barcelona.

The experiences which for some reason were most on my mind were those initial interactions with girls, in which I would typically employ phrases such as, ‘will you go out with me?’ and, ‘yeah, I’m going out with [insert name here]’. For me, the relationships and the break-ups came thick and fast during my early days at school, spent amongst my peers of my class, 7 and 8SL. A 12-13 year-old lothario, the modern-day answer to Casanova, I made quick work of courting the attention of numerous girls of my class in my early secondary school career. I smiled in Guinardó on this most beautiful of Sundays as this thought came to me and I looked back fondly on this period, during which I spent much time thinking myself something of a player. What is so funny and so very ironic about it all was that, upon achieving my initial task of grabbing the attention of the girl that I did so ‘fancy’ the most, who inevitably topped the prestigious list of my ‘Top 5’ – an ever-changing list devised, perhaps uniquely at my school, denoting each of our five most desirable boys/girls of the time, certainly not to be sniffed at under any circumstances in those days – communications would subsequently and immediately be cut to a minimum between us. This happened each and every time that I found myself in a ‘relationship’ with such lady classmates as Lauren, Lizzie, Freya and Shadi, among others. These are names from such great times in which I was ‘going out’ – again ironically, doing the exact opposite, and not going out at all – with girls, which had my confidence brimming, as I was clearly something of a catch (what happened…?). Quite the player, Dan, quite the player indeed. Defining moments that stuck out in my mind on this fine afternoon in Barcelona were as follows:

  1. When I made the claim to some of my classmates that I liked Lauren more than peanut butter – the highest of honours.
  2. When I bought Lauren the DVD of Mean Girls and she hugged me for the very first time.
  3. In the same exchange as that mentioned above, in which Lauren gave me some Skittles and a brimming pack of multi-coloured and personalised pencils, all of which donning my name, Daniel.
  4. When Shadi and I spoke over the phone about a wet flannel she had found in her bathroom.
  5. When Freya and I lay on the carpet in her living room and shared an awkward moment of almost kissing and then wisely deciding against it (we would have been ‘going out’ for many weeks by this point in time).

These are the 5 moments which propped up my very early history with the opposite sex, when I, along with many of my other male peers, was just coming out of my shell and striking up the confidence to engage in different conversations with girls. These were the moments that I looked back on as I cast my gaze across Barcelona, wondering how on earth I had got to where I am now, having come from such an uneasy and uncertain navigation of my early teenage years. Of course, I was dumped on various occasions by my early ‘girlfriends’, who realised well before I did that our relationships were farcical by nature, that we were still so young and needed not to be tied down by such serious commitments as these, but instead just to move on with our lives. Lauren thought nothing of the sweet gesture of mine to buy her a DVD that I knew she would so enjoy (such was the rave for Mean Girls at the time) and cruelly disposed of me. We were destined to be ‘just friends’. Regrettably, on one occasion I was the one to do the dumping, an experience which cut me to the core. In a swift and brutally executed conversation, I suggested to Shadi that, perhaps, we were also better off just as friends. In grown-up world, when the ‘just friends’ suggestion is made, it very rarely comes to fruition yet, luckily for me, Shadi and I remain great amigos to this day and she has become a far more successful young woman than I could ever dream to be (although I don’t dream much of becoming a successful young woman).

What a strange way of living in those early days of school, I thought to myself in Guinardó. A way of living not only considered the norm at the time, but one which was enthusiastically encouraged amongst each and every one of us. It was as if, collectively, we had indoctrinated each other to think that there was no more to life than having an impressive set of names with which to comprise your ‘Top 5’. How funny it all was at this formative and important stage of our lives. Needless to say, it all soon passed; we grew up, matured and have all since come so far. As I descended down the side of the miniature mountain in the park, I thought to myself, ‘I wouldn’t change a thing’. At that moment, a flock of birds, which turned out to be a group of pigeons, caught my eye as they flew past me and into the sun, overlooking the city. It would have made for a great picture that would have captured the notion of ‘Freedom’ perfectly, had it not been for their refusal to a) stay in the air long enough or, b) take flight again after landing in their preferred spots, cooing away. I tried some gentle encouragement for them to give it another go but basically just ended up mildly harassing some poor pigeons, as I intruded in their congregation:

Not quite what I had in mind

I spent much of the rest of my walk (towards the beach) pondering what had been a delightful experience at the top of a hill in Cataluña. The walk to come was a long one and afforded me much thinking time, which after a while came to focus less on my early experiences with the fairer sex (or lack thereof) and more on my dropping energy levels and increasing hunger. I strolled past my old neighbourhood, which again provoked much nostalgic thinking, past my old place of work, and eventually past La Sagrada Familia, which, as ever looked magnificent in the afternoon sun – but for a few cranes and scaffolding erected for the scheduled rennovations taking place. Walking on and on, I realised that I have so many great memories of this place and I was certainly justified in choosing it as my home for my Year Abroad. I continued past La Monumental, past the Hotel Arts – where I enjoyed such an amazing dinner on my 21st birthday with my family – and finally made it down to the beach, where I promptly took off my shoes, let out a sigh of relief and walked barefoot through the sand and the sea as I thought how dreamy the day had been.

I ended up in an old haunt, a pub on the corner of La Plaça Reial, watching rugby (which I enjoyed?!) as England beat Wales in the Six Nations, eating a well-deserved burger and getting tipsy off some potent pints of beer. I decided as I staggered up La Rambla that it would be perhaps be wise for me to catch the metro home after a full day of walking, in which I clocked up about 20km. A wise decision it proved to be, as I finally got home, slumped myself down on the sofa and promptly dozed off.

La Plaça Reial looking prettyIMG_0715

To you, an arbitrarily taken photo of a standard Barcelona neighbourhood. To me, memories of summers past

To you, an arbitrary photo of a standard Barcelona neighbourhood. To me, memories of summers past.

It was an excellent day.

I walked about 20km in total, over the course of the day

My route: I walked about 20km in total, over the course of the day!

The Exclusive Account of a Fish Monger-Turned-Contraband Smuggler Pt. II

So then, where were we?

The Fish Smuggler

    The Fish Smuggler

I believe I had just successfully achieved my task of chopping up large volumes of tuna and managed to get all of it to fit into one Tupperware container, which would prove to be most convenient for shipping it over to Switzerland. I know, I know… My life can get pretty wild at times. The things I get up to. I just take each day as it comes, you know? Accept the lifestyle on the edge, accept the danger. How else would I ever cope? Anyway, back to the matter at hand: following on from my operation with the fish, I had considered the possibility of running into trouble in either Barcelona or Basel airports’ customs – or both – given that I was attempting to ferry fresh produce across international borders. Yet, I had it on good authority (again, read as: my dad) that I would run into no such problems and that there was nothing to worry about in that respect. I trust my dad but I wasn’t sure of what to make of everything he was telling me, whether he was reassuring me in order to ensure that I remained a cool customer going through security checks, or simply, as he’d said, that there really would not be any trouble with me packing fresh fish in my bag and smuggling it into Basel.

Either way, on the Friday that I was due to fly, I grabbed my bag laden with the potentially illicit tuna and rushed off to the airport. I hopped on a train, sat back and relaxed. Drawing ever nearer to my destination, I honestly hadn’t thought too much of my contraband in tow. After all, I figured, even in the absolute worst case scenario, what were airport staff likely to do; cuff me, inform me that I was ‘nicked’ and then march me off to a Spanish or Swiss prison (or both… somehow) after discovering my banned cargo? No, they would most likely give me a slap on the wrist, if even that, confiscate my contraband and send me on my way to Basel minus one Tupperware container’s worth of Barcelona’s finest tuna. That, I thought to myself, was an outcome I could live with. So, yes, in a way, I was relaxed about pursuing my new career as a smuggler. Nothing to it. Any drug lords, leaders of rings or cartels, or even small-time dealers who happen to be reading this blog and are currently looking into the recruitment of a mule: sign me up! I’ve got this smuggling business all figured out. Send me over to Colombia, Thailand (etc.) or wherever you want and I will get the package to your business associates. I’m that much of a pro these days… What’s that? You want to see some of my qualifications? Well, I’ll have you know that I smuggled some fish from Barcelona to Basel once and no one even asked me about the contents of my [hand] luggage! I’m not quite sure how I’ve suddenly started applying for more smuggling jobs from the leaders of the criminal underworld, but hey: C’est la vie, or es la vida, should I say.

Joaquín "El Chapo" Guzmán, the recently arrested Mexican drug lord, or me after a few years in the smuggling game?

Joaquín “El Chapo” Guzmán, the recently arrested Mexican drug lord, or me after a few years in the smuggling game?

Moving on, I did indeed manage to fulfil my smuggling duties without even so much as a hiccup. Granted, I had a moment of brief nervousness as I set down my belongings, bag included, at the El Prat airport security check and saw them all disappear behind the rubber curtains of the X-ray machine. Trying my best to appear calm and collected, I am almost certain to have failed as I could feel myself acting in a shifty manner, eager to collect my bag full of the contraband. The alarm went off as I stepped through the detectors myself and I was searched. Standard procedure, of course,  but I suspected that my card had been marked. It hadn’t. After a few nervous laughs as I attempted to exchange a casual joke with the staff member responsible for frisking me, I had made it through security. I had made it through with my tuna! Like I said, nothing to this smuggling game. The only problem which I would now have to confront was more of psychological one as, lest we forget, I am still afraid of flying.

Don’t ask me why but on this particular evening, I was nervous. That doesn’t quite do it justice, I was really nervous. Really, really nervous. Perhaps with all the excitement from the smuggling gig I was undertaking, I had let my imagination run too far ahead of me, always a dangerous idea for me prior to a flight. As usual, I had entertained thoughts of catastrophe, doom and all the others which I tend to associate with flying. Only on that day, these thoughts would simply not cease and desist, they were all that was on my mind. As I boarded the plane I began to feel deeply unhappy, as I typically would, but normally I would expect this to subside after a while. Certainly before take-off, only for me then to begin a new process of freaking out. But on this Friday night, it did not and was only confounded further by waiting a good half an hour on the tarmac in anticipation of take-off. I literally died. *Note to self: develop further understanding of the term ‘literally’*. Waiting around watching other planes take off from the very same runway which my own flying vessel would soon be using to lift off the ground is my personal hell. You may think of the Catholic depiction of Hell, with demons poking out sinners’ eyes with fiery pitchforks, but if that’s where I end up when the time comes, I know exactly what I’ll be doing. The fear I experience in the aforementioned scenario is like no other I’ve experienced. I do not like it.

Anyway, there I am on the plane, fearful for my life as ever as we finally take off, at which point – and I have no shame in admitting it – I buckle under the pressure of it all. I leaned over to my fellow passengers sat beside me, and asked them that, kindly, they take a moment to talk to me, so that I do not have a full-on meltdown. They turned out to be a very likeable Catalan couple who made it their mission to ensure that I was OK, which I appreciated very much at the time, as you might imagine. Soon, I was calm for having spoken to some rational folk who obviously knew that we were going to be fine. I thanked them for their time, slumped back in my seat and remained diligently nervous and alert, of course, to ensure that the engines didn’t fail. This is my rationale, question it at your peril. As you may have ascertained by now, flying brings out a deeply troubled, and frankly, disturbing side of me and I am not proud of that. I really must remind myself to fly less. Either that, or simply, to man the f*** up!

Cruising at 38,000ft, I was more comfortable than I had been prior to or during take-off. Still getting over how on edge I had been previously, but settling down at least. That is, until I heard the pilot’s voice come on over the tannoy, at which point, as always, I removed my headphones from my ears, leaving my music to play without an audience in order for me to devote my full attention to this most important of professionals. A note to this man and to pilots in general, for that matter, in the interest of passenger wellbeing: please, for the love of all that is holy, do not under any circumstances begin your opening sentence of your announcement with the following:

Ladies and gentleman, we are struggling…”

That was it. I knew it, I was finally on that flight! My worst nightmares had now become a reality.

“…to serve you your requested drinks and snacks as the cabin crew is running low on loose change[!!!!!!!!!!!]”.

I was most vexed by proceedings. If ever I were to seek reassurance from someone during a flight, my first option would obviously be the pilot, and for this individual to start his sentence so carelessly as he did… Well, needless to say, I died again. Literally. However, sure enough, despite my conviction that we were doomed, we proceeded safely, only for the flight attendants to be donated the change they needed from the passengers and for the next incident to illustrate to me that, surely, I had actually lost the plot; that my nerves were shot and my fear had caused me to become delusional. A brief 30 minutes before landing, the tannoy sounded again, only this time for the voice of a member of the cabin crew to be projected:

Ladies and gentlemen, with 30 minutes remaining of this flight the crew will shortly be passing through the cabin, offering you the chance to buy boutique items”, exclusive this, top-of-the-line that, the usual, blah blah blah… “Cigarettes, fragrances and CHICKEN FILLETS…” Pardon me. Come again? What had I just heard? I’ve been partial to the odd piece of poultry from time to time, but offered some on a plane??? Don’t think so. Equally, I quite enjoy the effects of the silicone breast-enhancing tools oft used by women these days but surely, there’s a time and a place! Of course, I’m sure I completely misheard but this led me to wonder what had actually been said in the first place. I was honestly ready to be cuffed by men in white coats and driven off to the nearest Swiss institute upon landing. After all of this, mercifully, the flight came to an end and I decided that, in hindsight, I thought myself quite silly for being so scared, as I always do.

Notwithstanding, waiting at a Basel bus stop to be taken into the city centre, I was sincerely shaken, relieved and, above all, confused after all that had occurred during the flight. As I stood there slowly recovering my status from ‘nervous wreck’ to ‘gratefully content’, a duo in uniform awaiting the same bus as me, I assumed, caught my eye. It soon occurred to me that these two must have been the pilot and co-pilot of the plane that I had myself just been on moments beforehand. Using my considerable powers of observation, I deduced from each of the pair’s blazers that the man stood directly to my right was the pilot, based entirely on the greater number of accolades decorating his arms. What I noticed next shocked me to the core. Bear in mind that I view the professions of pilots and flight attendants as those that, of all vocations in the world, tempt fate most. Don’t these people doing these jobs realise that they are putting their lives at risk each and every flight? I mean, I’m aware that the popular daredevil, Evil Knievel, was prone to a fair amount of danger in his life but, really, he had nothing on the brave (crazy) men and women who make a living from being on a plane all day, every day.

Onto the shocking sight, then: the pilot, the man who so daringly carries out his work, was stood casually at the bus stop with his colleague looking generally at ease – chatting, smiling and… smoking! There he was, equipped with a lit cigarette, dragging away and apparently thinking nothing of it. Well, I thought, this man clearly did not value his life as I do, as many other non-smoking, non-pilots do. What a truly audacious individual. In the initial moment that I noticed the cigarette between his fingers, I could feel myself screaming (internally) at him, “What?!” What do you think you’re doing? Don’t you think you’ve got enough on your plate as it is?” I was unsure of whether to condemn or applaud this man’s life choices. Beyond any shadow of a doubt, he must have been one crazy character, what with all these perils that he would inevitably confront on a daily basis. That was about it for me after all of the evening’s events. I officially gave up. I stepped on to the bus and proceeded to have a great, danger-free weekend with Dad and Emm.

Based on all that went on cruising through international airspace and, subsequently, at a Swiss bus stop, I consider it safe to say at this point that, perhaps, contraband smuggling may not be the career for me. Whether that contraband might be tuna and/or cocaine or heroin. What a promising career prospect that now lies in tatters. Oh well, I’m sure something will come along eventually. Maybe I’ll look into training as a pilot…


Just so you readers know, I sat writing the final sequences of the second instalment of The Exclusive Account of a Fish Monger-Turned-Contraband Smuggler (Watson, 2014) aboard a flight to London, where I am currently to be found for a few short days. A flight that, might I add, I seemed to actively enjoy! What is it with me? I have concluded that I quite simply must be a strange person. I imagine that many of those reading this who happen to know me arrived at that same conclusion long, long ago, but at least now I can finally acknowledge it myself. I really have no idea why, on one flight I can fully lose my cool and, with that, evidently my sanity and on another I can grit my teeth and bear it (or even enjoy it). I guess that’s just the way I is.

Well friends, thank you for accompanying me on my emotional roller-coaster that was travelling from Spain to Switzerland with a few lumps of tuna in my bag. It’s been a blast. Until next time… Hasta la próxima.