Thursday, January 03, 2008

When you are in Spain, do as Indians do!!

It is sort of sacrilegious if we don’t expect every new year to be better than the previous year…Isn’t it amazing that we really believe that the new year is going to be mind blowing and spectacular only to end repeating the same farce again and again…Neways its not the time for stupid rhetoric so I would rather keep the blabbering to the minimum. Last 10 days were absolute fun back packing in Spain this time. As you see my bank balance is dwindling at such a pace that I don’t believe the common perception that nothing travels faster than light...But I kept delaying the worry coz there was no point that I was gonna stop enjoying either way...


Every time I visit a new place I always get the vague feeling that there cant be a better place than this…Spain in many ways has a different feel which didn’t evoke reason enough to compare with somewhere else...The blue skies of Barcelona…the beaches…the Mecca of football buffs the Camp Nou… the Moorish settlement in Granada...the magnificent Alhambra...scenic Seville...and very capital-like Madrid… Along with the visual treat there was a very dynamic gastronomic tour which ran parallel which left me acknowledging the second best cuisine on planet as to Spanish food…Ofcoz the best is Kerala cuisine and I have pushed the Italian down to the third...I know everyone must be thinking that am writing too many travelogue these days…but I have those vibes that I surely be killed by some Spanish matador if I dint share my impressions of the country…

The trip started of rather not that pleasantly considering that the flight departure was late by an hour because of some mix-up with seats...I was boarding the plane and here I see a ruckus coz a lady had come with 2 kids and there was seat short...If you still believe that sun rises in east believe me finally they settled it by agreeing to seat the 6 year old kid beside the pilot in the cockpit!! The next one hour was devoted to a feverishly paced rosary with occasional visions of the kid playing at the controls and gears when the pilot might be just peeping outside the window...You know??…You never know!!!...Needless to say in spite of working at a place where they make aircrafts I do have remarkable fear that planes might come down especially when I travel in one of em…

That is exactly why when the airhostess comes in with that tray and asks…’Would you like to have coffee or Juice...’
I had to say…’Chechi…Could you please give some sleeping pills to that kid’

And what is it with aircrafts…How do humans ever find motivation to sit in a seat where the picture in front of you is of rapidly spreading fire and images of a plane sinking in a sea…And notice that these airlines make sure that the faces on those pics are as grave as possible…Whoever thought of these…uh!!...

The first that stuck me about Spain is that there is a bit chaos and plenty of noisy people unlike in Germany where you rarely would hear people talking in metros or buses on a normal day...Barcelona has feel of the sea nearby and the city is very vibrant and you can infact keep walking coz u would surely come across some interesting monument sooner or later…We had lunch near the seaside overlooking the Mediterranean sea. When you talk about lunch in Spain it is always ‘Paella Rice’ that beckons…it is like when you think about idiot you have a picture of Bush...sort of images conjuring up to expectations...Paella rice is somewhat over hyped coz the Spaniards are not crazy about it but the tourists are…Maybe I can describe it as a Spanish version of Fish biriyani...nevertheless it tasted awesome...I had a glass of home made wine before the lunch and the combination of wine, Paella and sea breeze was simply too soothing that we decided to hang around the beach for few hours to get over the feel good hangover...took the funicular to a hill from where we saw the whole city and later next day took the much awaited trip to Camp Nou...My travel mate is a football aficionado who said he is going to gift his mom an Arsenal Saree and his dad an Arsenal towel during his next trip home when asked what he is taking back home. Am pretty sure he would name his kids Fabregas and Wenger considering his excessive devotion…and any day would prefer to get married at some stadium than a church!!

Few days later we went to Granada which is a classic town with heavy Arabic influence coz it was ruled by Arabs centuries ago...This is where Alhambra which most Europeans consider as one of the wonders of the world…exquisite palaces …and gardens…legend as is they tried to recreate the Koran’s description of heaven in here…must say simply stunning…

Granada was interesting at the hostel too where at the pub I got into midst of a conversation among a Palestinian Moslem, an Israeli Jew and a German girl...I couldn’t conceptualize a even more volatile group to have a drink with...For those brief moments I reincarnated as Mahatma Gandhi talking about peace and sacrifice…They got the point and we started another round of Sangria!! ;-P

Our next stop was the beautiful town of Seville...The town is famous for having the biggest church in the world, flamenco dancers and for being the birth place of ‘Tapas’...Tapa is not a dish, but it is just any dish served on a small plate served along with a drink...We had registered for a ‘Tapas tour’ from our hostel and when we finally assembled at the hotel lounge it was realization of a fantasy come true for any average male...there were 6 Spanish, 2 Brit and one French girl who were in the tour…and just two very ‘exotic and decent Indian males’ accompanying them…Me and my friend started thanking our stars for the god send opportunity…Nevertheless due to previous inexperience in handling such a large crowd we ended up saying a little embarrassing to some very embarrassing lines…I could sense how desperate my friend was when he pretended to know about small towns in Spain and very unlikely interest in Spanish music...

Girl: ‘I come from San Sebastin’
Wow…really...oh...How I always dreamed of visiting that place…was my childhood ambition’
Girl:’ that is so sweet...You must be a big fan of Pedrosa la $§%””ß# ’
yaa..yaaa…it is simply amazing…cant stop listening to her music’
Girl:’ How romantique…no one has ever said so eloquent about the famous cow in our town’

Seville is famous for the bull fights as well…But you know it is very inhuman to torture animals like that they do in such fights...I wonder why these people don’t have a bit of conscience when they make a mockery of animal rights…simply outrageous…For god sake they are not game material!!!.. It is food …Make some delicious vindaloos wont you!!!

Our final destination was Madrid which I must admit wasn’t as exciting as the first there…just the palaces and museums which I was pretty tired of by then...How much can u pretend admiring at some painting which looks like as if the artist was mentally deranged when he did it...I came back on 31st night and the best part was that the pilot gave a new year gift by circling low around the city before landing...watching fireworks up from air is altogether different sight and I loved it…

As I took the metro late night home...there was lot of fun and frolic in it...lot of beer and champagne. Many people singing…and a unmistakable joy engulfing everyone...everyone seemed to be happy…But then as the train was nearing my station and the crowds had dwindled after they got down at stations much before, I saw this old man walking in the train with a trolley...he was picking up the empty beer bottles and champagne bottles strewn in the train...when the trolley was full he began tucking them inside his jacket...the sight some how hit me hard...there was the whole world celebrating the arrival of new year and here a 70 something old man collecting bottles so that he could sell it off next day for a living...I don’t know what I felt that moment...was it the guilt of enjoying hard in Spain…was it the contrast I saw a few minutes back with the revelry in the train…or was it the irony of life???

22 comments:

anN-series said...

Senor..where are the pics of flamenco dancers or the hot babes gang?..and at least u bothered looking at the old man...90% of the world tht day was either sloshed or smoking grass passively like me (no matter how i much tried avoiding it)..

Shn said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Mishmash ! said...

Blogger Shn said...

I think that pilot's new year eve gift was a romantic way of saying adieu to a great year and a great trip !:)that colorful building is so pretty ...

Btw, on the irony of life, I dont know if u re already into this, allotting a small percentage of ur annual income to the needy or educating a child or two is a good start, in our own little ways to help others..u may find such organizations in ur own hometown itself....

Nags said...

wow! i am so jealous u got to see all these exotic places. what a lovely way to end a year :)

VIDYA said...

:) Happy new year. LOwely pictures.

mathew said...

@Ann
the flamenco dancers werent really great..the music was nice though..flamenco dancing was dapankuthu blended with kayyikottikalli...and we dint take the pic of the babes and my travelmate is still angry at me abt it..

@Mishmash
yeah..that was a pleasant surprise from the pilot..
and I already do like what u said..

@Nags
do you have mastercard or visa power..I can always ask you for monetary grants??:-P

@Vidya
thanks..and wish you a great year ahead!!

Rupinion said...

Your writing would make people say "wow, what a wonderful trip" even for a very boring and non happening one :).

emmanuel said...

enjoyed reading it.....the chats were too good....but the last para, as u said, is a hard hitting reality.....and it's all the same anywhere.......and the show will go on and on and on.....

silverine said...

"’Chechi…Could you please give some sleeping pills to that kid"
LOL!! That and the cow conv was hilarious!!

And err.. chechi? Remember when someone called you 'Uncle' and you wrote a whole post about it? /:)
I agree with Nags, what a lovely way to end the year!!! Hope you get to end all your years with a bang with Sangria or equivalent as the accompaniment :p
Do well in all you do buddy this 2008!

eljo said...

Wonderful pics as always. We too felt that Madrid was not all that great in comparison to Barca.
Loved the food there. We spent more time in restaurants and pubs than the monuments ;-) Hubby, the clever guy would first pile me with Sangria and then go for his favourite sport - birdwatching ;-)

Nanditha Prabhu said...

your travelogues are different from other travelogues.. it has a mathew element in it! the last stanza was touching!

Sreejith Kumar said...

Loved this one Mats! A great post. The last paragraph, especially the last few lines... I liked them very much! Sadly, it is the irony of life; the difference between people who have and people who don't.

Neers said...

Beautiful!!! i am repeating myself... i ENVY you!!

Jyothsna said...

Happy New Year Mathew! I envy all that travelling you've been upto!!!

Zee said...

u know, when i win that lottery and have tons and tons and money and travel all over the world, i'm going to refer to all your blogs and use that as a guide to expect what from where.....austria or spain first now? hmmmmmm

Priyankari said...

A lovely travelogue...nice humor and a great ending....Enjoyed very much....

It was a great way of bidding adieu to the old year...Happy New Year, 2008!!!

priya said...

Lovely pics ther.

mathew said...

@Rupinion
Thanks a lot..:-)
@Emmanuel
Exactly…it is little reminders in life..
@Anju
Thanks..
Well..i don’t remember exactly. what are u talking abt..?? .;-P

@Manju
Yeah..I like food irrespective of place..;-P
And mind you please don’t insult the art..your hubby is practitioner of a very exquisite art!!;-P

@Nanditha
Thank you very much.:-)

@Sreejith
It is the irony of people who doesn’t look at what they don’t want to see..

@Neers
Thank you..and hope to see you traveling soon..

@Jyothsna
Happy new year to you as well..thanks..

@Zee
Hehehe..ofcoz once u win the lottery I need a share of the dough too.;-P

@Priyankari
Happy new year..and thank a lot....

@Priya
Danke.danke..:-)

Umesh said...

Again the unmistacable mathai style. loved the part where you asked the air hostess chechi to give sleeping pills to the junior pilot :-)

Sreejith Kumar said...

Ya...

Aiswarya said...

The best bit was the kid in teh cockpit!!!!

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