Slightly delayed post this week as I have been working all out on my detailed proposal for next year’s dissertation – I am currently stuck on number seven, ‘Difficulties I envisage’ – thinking of something less candid than “I sleep for fourteen hours a day, drink a hundred units of alcohol a week and refuse to work when it’s raining outside”. It is in Malaga right now. Horrendously. The pigeons are fighting to decide which two get on to the arc. The dissertation on the year abroad is like an obese ninja, you always know it is there but it still somehow manages to sneak up on you at the last moment.
Anyway, last week; I had yet more work to do for the first couple of days so they were not all that interesting; my only opportunity to remove my nose from the grindstone was to go to rugby training and feel like I had shoved the rest of my body against a grindstone after a week without exercise. A distressing moment came on Wednesday when all my friends received frantic messages from their loved ones praying that they were okay after the earthquake that shook the South of Spain (nowhere near Malaga though) – only for me to be left with nothing until midnight when my family finally discovered the earthquake having initially missed the news to watch ‘The Apprentice’.
Nothing else of note that I can remember happened until Friday when Eduardo, a Spanish friend who has undertaken the solemn duty of dragging our group of Erasmus students kicking and screaming into Spanish culture, took us to a Tapas bar near the beach which served all kinds of weird fish. We started off light with some kind of gazpacho with tuna in it and some other type of battered fish which just tasted like it was missing some chips, before we got hit with the big guns – some kind of mussel which was still alive and actually moved a second before I ate it thus breaking my lifelong policy of never eating anything while it can still put up a fight: it could have been more disgusting is the highest compliment I can give. Feeling distinctly like I was on some very cosmopolitan version of ‘I’m a Celebrity get me out of here!’ I then went on to taste some kind of eel egg-sack which tasted much nicer than it sounds – just like normal fish wrapped in a balloon (I had to edit this analogy having said condom instead of balloon at the time, which led to some awkward questions which threatened to expose my shadowy past as a Jamaican drug smuggler).
Our education on Spanish fine dining continued with a taste by taste tour of the country’s wine which two or three bottles later took us to around dinner time. I decided to have more tapas for dinner which put only the thinnest of linings on my stomach before the night out which followed which indirectly resulted in me and my friend Madi hitching a lift from a bin lorry between night clubs and then me going on to mug poor Eduardo to recoup the change that fell out my pocket when the bin lorry disposed of me. We ended the night at seven o’clock in the morning with a bonfire on the beach (fueled by what turned out to be a bench from an Irish pub nearby) until the sun came up.
Saturday was a beach day before our Eurovision party in the evening; an event I had treated with a sneering indifference over the last couple of years but in which my interest was rekindled by the fact that we actually had about ten nationalities watching. Although my national pride was mostly reserved for Andy Murray’s stonking performance against a player who is ripping up the tennis history books, I managed to muster the enthusiasm to enforce the drinking game in which everybody picks a country and takes a drink for every point that country is awarded. I chose Georgia on the strength of their rad nu-metal anthem, although I was also tickled by the gnomes from Moldova and their ‘Right Said Fred’ style party choon. However, after Georgia had been awarded around a hundred points my main preoccupation became that Britain were getting beaten by Jedward of all people, an absolute stain on the nation, and that those traitorous cads Ireland and Malta did not give us twelve points (I may or may not have shouted “We used to own you!” at the screen at one point – I am reading ‘Heart of Darkness’ but the guilt about our imperialist past obviously has not settled in yet). Fortunately though the Queen agrees with me and is currently casing the joint for a possible re-invasion of Ireland – that would put and end to Jedward once and for all, the bastards!
This party was the ideal preparation for rugby on Sunday, as I played two games on one foot and an empty stomach which did not leave me much energy to do anything except kick goals which I am doing with an unprecedented degree of success only having missed one kick in the last four games. Just thought I would throw that one in there. One tradition I do not care for is the brutal ritual of grabbing the last try scorer in each match by each limb, forcing his legs apart and ramming his unprotected goolies against the post three times: it’s brutal.
Monday was a sad day as my flatmate Martin finished his work placement and went back to Belgium; the first big goodbye of the semester which leaves me down a valuable male comrade in this female dominated Erasmus group and looking for a new football watching companion to accompany me for the Champions League Final.
And that’s about everything.