Stuff In Me

This blog entry about the events of Wednesday, August 30, 2006 was originally posted on September 02, 2006.

DAY 6:  There’s an underrated but funny quotable line from M. Night Shamalan’s movie Unbreakable where a comic book store owner tells Samuel L. Jackson that he has to leave his store because he’s closing up and he’s hungry.  It goes something to the effect of, “You don’t understand.  I gotta go.  I gotta get some chicken in me!”

How this popped in my head I don’t know, but it spawned an on-going joke throughout the day.

“I need to get some paella in me!”

MY WEEK IN SPAIN was coming to a close but it didn’t matter to me; it wasn’t my intention this time to “see” Spain like a tourist, but to just visit Jack and Sylvina and attend La Tomatina.  With both crossed off the list, my last day was to be a leisurely one to bum around Valencia and get food and beverages in me.

“This is my last day in Spain,” I said, raising my glass of Rioja.  “Probably for a while.”  We had taken our rental Citroen to the beach to eat Valencia’s contribution to world cuisine, paella.  The medley of rice and seafood was good as it was before.  This time around we were serenaded by an accordion and sax player doing a rendition of George Michael’s “Careless Whisper.”

Walking the promenade and down the shoreline was a casual affair amidst all the Aussies around leftover from Tomatina.  Jack reflected on his time in Spain, and how it’s different to see it all as a foreigner; everyone in Spain is so zealous about their own region, its unlikely they’ll see the rest of the country.  He was happy I got to see him and his life before it came to a finale in the next couple of weeks.  As deep as the conversation got, both of us were distracted every time we’d walk by a topless chick sunbathing.

A NEIGHBORHOOD OF VALENCIA that I hadn’t seen before was the Ciudad De Las Artes Y Las Ciencias (City of Arts and Sciences).  Like a city of the future right in the middle of what is usually a cosmopolitan yet historic Spanish town, the complex included ultra post-modern buildings as striking as ones I’d seen in Berlin, surrounded by shallow turquoise pools.  If we had the time or motivation, we might have gone inside the Palacio de las Artes Reina Sofia (performing arts center) or the Museo De Las Ciencias Principle Felipe (science museum) or L’Hemisferic (IMAX theater) (picture above), but instead we just hung at the cafe under the science museum, where others were chilling on beds by the pool across from the L’Umbracle listening to the electronic downtempo lounge music echoing from the walls.

“I need to get some coffee in me,” Jack said, sipping his cafe solo.

“Si claro,” I said in the worst American accent.  It was another on-going joke of the day.

FOR MY LAST NIGHT in Spain — probably for a while — we were supposed to go out for dinner with Juan and Elisa, but Juan got called into an emergency dog surgery.  It was just Jack, Sylvina and I that headed off to the city center with its sidewalk cafes by the Cathedral, where many of the leftover Aussies were carrying on inside their Australian traveling bubble at Finnegan’s, the Irish pub we’d gone to before.

“I need to get some tapas in me,” I proclaimed.  We settled at a restaurant with a quieter scene.

Patatas bravas (fries in garlic sauce), gamba de ajillo (garlic prawns), pulpo de gallega (Galician octopus), and a platter of manchengo cheese came to our table while we took in the moment over a local red wine blend.  “It’s funny.  It’s my second time here, but it’s different.  It’s like I’m taking the long way home,” Jack said, getting all existential.  “Funny thing is, I wouldn’t be here right now if it wasn’t for the first time.”  True, he met me in Spain on my big Global Trip on a whim, ended up meeting Sylvina that time on his last night, starting dating her for two years, traveled two months around Europe with her, lived with her in Malaga for seven months — all before he’d move back to the States and, most likely get married to her.

“You’ve come full circle,” I said, raising a glass.

He’d go home in the coming weeks to start a new life again — but he’d definitely, without a doubt, have some Spain in him.

FOUR-THIRTY THE FOLLOWING MORNING, Jack and Sylvina took me to the airport.  “Buen viaje,” (“Bon voyage,”) Sylvina wished me.  She had given me a key chain from the futuristic science museum as a keepsake of the last day in Spain together.

“Buena suerte,” (“Good luck,”) I wished her.  I’d eventually meet up with her back in the States, but for Jack it would be much sooner.

“So I guess the next time I see you, we’ll be on Oktoberfest time,” I said.

“Yeah, Oktoberfest time!”

I left for Athens leaving Spain behind yet again, knowing that I had a little bit of it in me too.

Next entry: It’s All English To Me

Previous entry: Attack of the Killer Tomatoes

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Comments for “Stuff In Me”

  • i love full circle stories…and i love food….and i love topless
    sunbathing chicks…

    claro que si for real

    Posted by markyt  on  09/02  at  03:28 PM

  • Great pics of the buildings!

    Posted by Anonymous  on  09/03  at  04:51 AM

  • Sounds like you had a good last meal in Valencia. The Imax theater looks
    like an alien rising from the deep. Enjoying reading the trip as well as
    your previous trips.

    Posted by Mila Tan

  • who got the better nightlife, valencia or malaga?

    Posted by T  on  09/04  at  05:35 PM

  • T: Malaga has more beach clubs… hey now…

    Posted by Erik TGT

  • Im coming in late again! I need a trip beeper or RSS or something.


    Posted by Anonymous  on  11/15  at  01:49 PM

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This blog post is one of twenty-five travel dispatches from the trip blog, "The Global Trip: Tomatoes, Grease & Beer" (originally hosted by, which chronicled a trip to Spain's wild Tomatina festival, Greece's awe-inspiring islands, and Munich's world-renowned Oktoberfest in August/September 2006.

Next entry:
It’s All English To Me

Previous entry:
Attack of the Killer Tomatoes


Confused at some of the jargon that's developed with this blog and its readers over the years? Here's what they mean:

BFFN: acronym for "Best Friend For Now"; a friend made on the road, who will share travel experiences for the time being, only to part ways and lose touch with

The Big Trip: the original sixteen month around-the-world trip that started it all, spanning 37 countries in 5 continents over 503 days (October 2003–March 2005)

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1981ers: people born after 1981. Originally, this was to designate groups of young backpackers fresh out of school, many of which were loud, boorish and/or annoying. However, time has passed and 1981ers have matured and have been quite pleasant to travel with. The term still refers to young annoying backpackers, regardless of year — I guess you could call them "1991ers" in 2013 — young, entitled millennials on the road these days, essentially.

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