17 October 2010


Well, here we are in Spain. I’m writing this on my mother’s iPod in the hotel. It is now ten at night: I have been up since three and now I am feeling quite ill. The same illness that Naomi and Mei had this week. It’s my turn. Better me than them though as I have the self control to get to the toilet on time (as opposed to Naomi) and I understand that being ill is just a part of life (as opposed to Mei). Still I wish a couple of things: first, that I didn’t eat as much as I did today. The spirit of the holiday really took hold and though I caught myself at around three in the afternoon, it was too late and we ended up ordering way too much for dinner too. The worst of all worlds. Second, that after realising I was going to overeat for the day, that I wouldn’t have gone running for forty minutes in the Spanish afternoon sun. Now, I am shuttling between the bed and the toilet as the children and wife sleep, wondering if my body is finished expelling whatever it thinks it needs to expel.

Torremolinos. I think you could learn more about British culture here watching the expats than you could by watching the actual Spanish people. There are a lot of interesting Spanish people here: don’t get me wrong. But the most interesting group of people has to be the British. What are they doing here sitting in British pubs, drinking British cider at eleven in the morning?

Torremolinos, as I was warned, is a resort village. Lots of concrete highrises and miles of beach. The boardwalk on the beach is lined for miles and miles with little cafes and tiki huts, selling more or less the same thing: steak and chips for twelve euro. It’s stunningly beautiful and everybody you see couldn’t give a fuck about anything from the looks of it. There is no recession. There are no issues of inequality or class. There are just miles and miles of people eating too much and, like I said, not giving a fuck.

I am not putting this down, by any means. Although under different circumstances this wouldn’t be my first choice, but it is cheap and easy: two things a PhD student supporting a family needs. Tomorrow, we are going to spend the day at the beach with all the European women with their boobs hanging out (hanging!) and I will try to eat less and run less and have a good, but more judicious time.

One thing I should say: I love countries where you have to go to a fast food shop to get a cup of take away coffee; everywhere else you have to sit while they serve it to you in a proper cup and saucer. Ten minutes sitting in the open air under a clear sky blue blue sky as the day slowly pulls away into the Mediterranean sea will solve all of your problems for at least ten minutes. Everything else be damned: that alone is worth £700.