Breaking Up With Spain

This blog entry about the events of Sunday, August 27, 2006 was originally posted on August 30, 2006.

DAY 3:  “It’s a shame,” Jack said.  “It feels like when I’m breaking up with a chick.”

“You’re breaking up with Spain,” I said.

“Yeah, I’m breaking up with Spain.”

It never really hit me that there would be such an emotional backlash for meeting up with Jack and Sylvina in their adopted home of Malaga and bringing them with me to Valencia.  For me, going from Spanish city to Spanish city was just another leg in a trip, but for Sylvina and Jack, it was the end of an era, the manifestation of a failed attempt of establishing a professional career in Spain — even with Jack’s claim to fame doing a vet house call for Lenny Kravitz and his dog in Miami.

And so, sooner than they thought it would hit them, the end was upon them.  I could relate to the emotion in the air; it was like my last night in Singapore before my big Global Trip came to a close.

MOST OF THE DAY, Sylvina ran some last day errands in Malaga while Jack gave me a look into the everyday life he’d had since they moved there.  Living off of savings while looking for a job as a vet, he led a pretty leisurely life, like one of Hemingway’s Lost Generation.  For example, we didn’t wake up until noon and didn’t have breakfast on the balcony until three in the afternoon.

Sylvina usually went to work to pay for her half of the rent while Jack just sat around and drank coffee, surfed the web for work, and watched this Argentine soap opera involving hot girls in school girl uniforms.  Eventually he’d get up and go to Malagueta Beach across the street (picture above) for a quick dip — if he felt like it of course — and then perhaps wander around the streets of the city center to take in the sights — he never tired of the big Cathedral.  Then he’d sit a cafe, like the one overlooking la Plaza de la Constitucion, check his PDA for emails, drink more coffee and just people watch.

“It’s a daily dose of breastification,” I told him as we watched voluptuous Spanish women walk by.

I had thought that our wanderings in downtown Malaga, a city of old and new, would have led to some touristic sightseeing, but most places of historical value were closed on Monday (minus the bridge built by the Germans as a gift in 1984).  Inside the cathedral, closed.  The Alcazaba fortress overlooking the city, closed.  The numerous houses and museums honoring Malaga as the birthplace of Pablo Picasso, closed.  And so, we just continued doing what Jack did best: a lot of nothing but sit around in cafes in bars.

His favorite bar of course, was El Mercader, a place “where everybody knew his name” since his girlfriend worked there.  I thought it was cool because they had a thong dispensing machine.

“This is my bar,” Sylvina told me, working the back even though she had quit the week before.  She did it mostly because she had made many girlfriends at the bar, her fellow waitresses, who all had a special bond together — except for Turkish barely-legal blonde Gogtche (sp?) because she was the pretty one and got away with stuff.  (Girls will be girls in any country.)

“[This is my friend Erik,]” Jack introduced me to Ellie, the Spanish-speaking Bulgarian waitress, and what seemed like Sylvina’s best friend.

“Hola,” I said.

“[He’s come to pick us up.]”

“[Then he is my enemy,]” she joked, knowing she’d miss them.  My travels thus far was breaking hearts.

There were a lot of preliminary goodbyes amongst the girls while Jack took his usual spot at the end of the bar, like Norm Peterson on Cheers, and drank more coffee and beer.  He told me the crazy stories of being there, from hanging out with the crazy old German ex-pat who reminded me of Stan Lee without a moustache, to the times he had to bail Sylvina out of situations with pompous rich English customers.

Speaking of the English, that night when we went to the Plaza Obispo under the Cathedral in the town center to meet up with two more of their friends to say goodbye, the bar next door (ironically named “Cheers” and sported the same logo as the TV show), which catered to English tourists, had two flautists outside playing nothing Spanish — but renditions of Beatles songs.

I sat and listened while the friends said their goodbyes.  Again I felt them leaving a life behind.

“We are alone,” Sylvina told me.  “What you see, it’s a show.”  She tried to convince me that they really didn’t know many people; it was just a coincidence all the people they knew were suddenly popping out of the woodwork on their final day.  Still, it looked like a good life, and I wondered why they would leave it behind.

“If we stayed, we probably would have started hating it,” Jack told me.  “[I’d just do nothing again for three months.]”  He hated to admit it, but doing nothing for a while got pretty boring.

“Well, you’re leaving on a high note,” I told him.  “It’s a good break up.”

“Yeah, she’ll always be there for me.”

Next entry: Homes

Previous entry: United Nations of Malaga

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Comments for “Breaking Up With Spain”

  • Here’s one entry I typed up before hitting the sack on a long, tiring,
    tomato-filled day. Hope to have one more up tomorrow, plus some Tomatina

    Posted by Erik TGT

  • it is funny how certain cities (or countries) grab hold of you in a way
    that startles and surprises. sounds like you are all having fun, can’t
    wait for the pics.

    Posted by funchilde  on  08/30  at  04:48 AM

  • uhh.. how barely is barely? smile

    Posted by oogy  on  08/30  at  06:19 AM

  • OOGY: “barely legal” is still legal. wink

    Posted by Erik TGT

  • yo quiero gogtche

    Posted by T  on  08/30  at  04:56 PM

  • Can you bring Gogtche along on the trip?

    Posted by Dan 3  on  08/30  at  05:13 PM

  • Malaga is prettier than I thought - what a nice beach outside the balcony!

    Posted by sara  on  08/30  at  06:42 PM

  • Hey Erik, Trying to catch up on the BLOG after my vacation. Can you
    bring me home one 1 Euro thong from the vending machine? J/k.

    Posted by les morceaux de reese  on  09/10  at  04:02 PM

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