Spain

(First draft. To be revisited)
Saudi airlines.
Toilet has a weird smell. A fly or two in the plane. Fortunate to have a air stewardess who dished out plenty of smiles. Surrounded by crying babies. Touch screen technology can be more sensitive. Alcohols and women’ breasts are blurred in movies. Subtitles with profanities are dubbed over.

Day 1. Massive misunderstanding from speaking in Spanish with the hostel recep. Dorm has only one key which is shared by all inhabitants. Weather was warm. Great park – reminds me of Central Park. A woman que hora es? Me a las 3. Man besides her maniana o china? Me silence. Was that a racist joke? Went to the hall in the morning. Met this China Chinese guy who is studying MBA in Portugal. He mentioned about land owners in financial centres – that there is indeed a bubble but not likely to burst.

Day 2. Went to Segovia. Was waylaid by a youth outside the tourism center to do a survey for them. It was on tourists’ perceptions or impressions of Segovia. A walk through the city/town showed quite a lot of vacant shops, rooms for rent, empty restuarants, souvenir shops with no customers. I passed by this shop that sells fruits and vegetables. He was eyeing the door. The economy seems to be in dire situation. Perhaps those boys outside the tourist center is trying to do their bit to revive Segovia so that they don’t have to move out of their beloved town in search of better opportunities. I wonder how the social security system works in Spain. It seems a big deal that I am going to have a job in Dublin.

3rd day
Went to Toledo with Stephen, a korean guy who is studying English in Galway, Ireland. The church is amazing. At 5am of the next day I woke up early and went to chill out at the hall. Suddenly this portuguese girl came over and asked me how to zip a file up. I spent the next 2 hours trying to figure it out on her iMac while she kept trying to talk to me about vacations. She asked repeatedly if I want to hang out with her the next day as there’s free tour of Madrid. Whether I have friends in Bilbao or whether I have already booked my ticket to Bilbao. She just completed her thesis and has 2 free days. She is very keen on Paris.

4 and 5th day
Bilbao. Hostel was very cool. Tried calamares en su tinta and a beer. Stomach didnt feel well. Hung out with Claire on the morning of 2nd day. Went up on a tram and had gorgeous view. Felt sick i.e. fainting spell. Ate a chicken doner and fries. Felt much better. Attended a concert for eur7.35. The Bilbao symphony orchestra played Tchaikovsky piano concerto no. 1 and Prokofiev symphony thereafter. The pianist got better after initial bland playing. The orchestra and piano don’t gel for some reason. Perhaps its the acoustics of the hall.

Day 6
Was in Zaragoza. Very local city. Not too touristy. I like it. Each city just gets better! My roommate is from Valladolid. We had a quick chat before he went out for the night. Madrid was dirty because the trash workers is on a strike! Took a ferris wheel.

Day 7
Asked a Spanish woman for directions to bus 34. She was very thorough. And called me hijo. Same thing happened yesterday when I asked a woman for directions. And a man who kept pointing the way for me. Met a lovely Spanish woman at the bus stop. We chat until we parted ways to go to our respective buses. She is a teacher who teaches drawing. She is going to a pueblo to climb 20km of mountain and spend the night at her brother’s place. She likes nature. And she treated me to coffee. She doesnt like Catalan much as the people insist on speaking to her in Catalan instead of Spanish.

Barcelona
It was raining for the first 3 days here. I dislike this city. The vibe feels strange. I feel constantly tired. At the first hostel which is located near Las Ramblas, I met Ewa from Poland who works in Liverpool as a nurse. She graduated last year and worked with RyanAir for three years before that. She is very cheerful and talkative. She moved to the UK since 22 years old. She is getting her first property soon.

Eden who is mostly from the USA. Born in the UK and is currently sleeping on the couch in his dad’s flat in London. Council flat if I have eavedropped accurately. He is interesting. He is a chain smoker who smokes half a pack daily. He takes drugs on a constant basis too. He is in Barcelona for a 3 day smart expo. He wants to get into the solar panel/power business. Oh yes, outside the Irish pub that we went to, he was talking abouy drugs with an America and comparing notes. A Swedish woman introduced herself and asked to join us. We checked out pipa, a residential unit that is converted into a smoking club look alike. I did an analysis of the Swedish woman and shared with her my thoughts which she agrred with. She is vastly unhappy with her life.

Elena from Russia, St. Petersburg. She mentioned in a conversation that people from Eastern European countries say Poland and Ukriane go to Russian, work as peostitutes and say that they are from Russia which is not true. She works as an advertising manager. She has a tendency to conceal information.

New hostel called the Hipster. One of the best hostels that I have stayed in my life. Free coffee machine. Great areas to hang out. Big rooms with thick mattress beds. Very cheap prices in the winter. Friendly staff who speaks good English.

Met Rebecca Chung. Her surname is the same as the first emperor in China. Her chinese name is Pei2 Long2. Long2 for dragon which she said that is a very strong name for a woman according to a chinese she has met. Rebecca is an extremely person. She requested staff not to dump away leftovers so that she can distribute them to the homeless. She reminds me of Maylin except that she is very feeling. She is perhaps an INFP. She says that she is so busy. 24 hours a day is not enough. She is currently preparing for her trip to Russia, after which she will take the Trans Siberian train to China, Ha Er Bing. She has visited 20 countries this year, including a week in Bermuda. She works as a medical massage therapist which she has studied in the royal school of massage in Thailand which is attended by people of over 72 nations. She has been a general helper in Long Island for an extremely rich family. Gone to theatres and clubs or bars where she was often the only straight woman. I randomly brought up of one night stands – she said that she doesnt do those. It is not who she is. She worked for a TV company for half a year and tallied up numbers. She said that she quit her job as it felt like a prison stay. She has since worked in various jobs and quit those as well, including one where she can get her USA green card but it would have required her to live in New York for 5 years which she doesnt want to. It is not who she is. She reminds me of Maylin – no compromises. Be who you are.

Strange dream on Nov 22
I was in this building with many stories. I was staying in this story and got out of it. I couldn’t return to this story as it is after office hours and I don’t have an access pass.

I requested for a dinner with the management team of my primary or secondary school. The vice principal came up with a long written message which a staff informed me, contained a passage stating that I was the one who requested for the dinner and that I had mentioned about contributing to the cost of the dinner say $50. I was indignant that she would include such details in the booklet which will be distributed to the management / the students. Besides, is the school so poor that my $50 matters given that I am the poorer one who is unemployed of my own accord? I have to give a speech on my unemployment for the past year. I was thinking of titles for my speech/written piece – no compromises, the average Singaporean, being true to yourself.

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