I'm not going to keep you for too long. I don't want your tea to go cold.
A couple of weeks ago I had some visitors again - I am lucky - in the form of Hollie and Rob. I went to university with them and had seriously hoped I was rid of them, but clearly not.
I was in the final stages of my illness so I didn't do a lot with them on the Thursday.
We did go for a short walk though. Nearing the end of my road Rob bashed into the full shopping bags of a lady who wasn't really looking what she was doing. One bag broke sending newly purchased items tumbling to the ground. She hissed 'gilipollas' (arsehole) and gave him eyes full of malice. Rob wasn't best pleased. We didn't help. In retrospect I feel a little guilty. But I suppose the reasoning was: 1. It was mostly her fault and 2. she just called Rob an arsehole.
Friday I returned to the school after my hiatus and painfully taught 6 hours.
Saturday we went to El Escorial, a small town about 1.5 hours away on the cercanias train. To be frank there's nothing there particularly noteworthy except for an enormously grand monastery, which used to house the royal family before they decided to set up shop in the new central capital of Madrid. Inside, after paying 8 euros, we went round what was essentially a lame art gallery (and a bonus architecture museum). I don't want to lie, it wasn't worth the money going in. From the outside though it was breathtaking. After the monastery we went round the town trying to find somewhere to eat. First restaurant 'menu del dia - 17 euros', no. Second restaurant 'menu del dia - 13 euros', still no. Third restaurant 'menu del dia - 11 euros', for God's sake! Fourth restaurant 'menu del dia - 7.5 euros', bosh!
The food was strange. Starters included 'potatoes and ribs', a bowl of broth with boiled potatoes and ribs from some long dead mammal. Tasty though. Mains included two versions of a patty/burger thing. The 'russian fillet' which was an odd tasting mince burger and my 'squid burger' (peddled in English as octopus), which was a white mulchy paste that vaguely tasted marine. Dessert was nice though. 'Crema Inglesa'...vanilla custard.
In the evening we went out for a teacher's birthday. He's gay. We went to a gay club. The club itself was really nice, chique, cool but expensive. The toilets were unsettling. Queues of butch, modelled, smooth shaven men waiting to use the toilets. Chatting away. I'm ashamed to say it but I was a little wary when I had to use the urinals instead of the closet. Obviously it was fine, and I walked away in a normal fashion. On leaving I did see two earringed gym freaks shuffle into the same closet. I'm sure it was just a silly misunderstanding...
Right now it is snowing outside and on Tele 1, the main channel in Spain, is the main morning program. It consists of weather, news, cooking, chat etc etc. 'This Morning' basically. Or...Esta Manana. Right now they are teaching some ridiculous 'carnaval' dance moves. The main lady is explaining the instructions as she does it - more and more out of breath with every thrust and arm fling. I fear she is about to collapse. That would spice up the program a little. Oh! She's done, now back to 'MADRID IS TURNING TO AN ICE WORLD!'
Oh yes, my friends. On the Sunday we took the 'teleferico' (an 11 minute cable car) to Casa De Campo, which is a very large park area where Spanish people like to run, walk and go cycling at the weekends. We went for an hour long walk or so and came back. Sadly it was then time for my chums to leave. It was a short stay, but necessary for me. You need little things like that to break up the monotony of the working week. I think they enjoyed themselves too.
Now on Esta Manana we are watching a man dramatically put a chain on his car tyre as a reporter shoves a Television Espanola microphone in his face. Oh how they are laughing about it all. They won't be laughing when he slides into a bridge though will they? No, they won't be laughing then. But it's ok, he's got his chain.
Another positive is that I've finally got to know all my new student groups. By and large they are very nice. A couple of boring students, but that's common.
Apart from the near perpetual state of sleepiness, I find that my creativity is overwhelmed by the desire to watch tv, sleep, or at a stretch, read a book. I used to write poetry and I have written a lot.
In the five months I've been here I've only produced one. I'm going to write it here for you now, just for posterity. It was written on the train journey to El Escorial. You can decide for yourselves if it is any good.
And the man strums,
How he strums:
'Siempre sera' (It will always be)
The train heaves on,
Spanish lands wipes past the window,
How it wipes past:
'Lagrimas claras' (Pale tears)
Vibrations tickle the air,
The strings warble,
How they warble:
'Muchas gracias' (Many thanks)
And on to the next carriage.
And on to the next carriage I go.