Unlike Mr DeBurgh’s Spanish Train, ours ran between Malaga and Fuengirola. And the guards don’t so much collect tickets as wield night sticks. And possibly guns. And possibly small nuclear warheads. Tough job they have, those train guards.
For me, the biggest obstacle to “getting abroad” (not to be confused with “getting a broad” despite both tasks quite probably sharing similar DNA) is an inability to disrobe down to my underpants in public whilst simultaneously relinquishing my wallet, passport, toothpaste and other liquids (not exceeding 100 grammes and quite possibly including, but not limited to, the contents of my bladder) and then fully repatriating myself with the aforementioned articles inside five seconds flat whilst being screamed at by whichever ex drill sergeant who happens to be standing at border control.
Welcome to the delightful process that is supposed to be “going on holiday”. Or in my case “going to my foster brothers apartment in Spain for a short break with both him and a mutual friend”.
Only this time, it was different.
A herculean effort on behalf of yours truly meant that, with a minimum of fuss, I was ready for my very own interpretation of a Spanish Inquisition. My sphincter had duly been loosened (and lubricated) with the help of a colon-busting bottle of something red and a late night meal the previous evening. I also decided to “get organised”. Of course, I managed to leave my see through plastic bag at the x-ray machine but very quickly retrieved this only to be told by friend that the three small cans of beer from the airport bar had “only cost £17”.
Luckily, despite being populated by staff armed with a veritable arsenal of WMD’s, Spanish public transport is both safe, clean, on time and cheap. So cheap. So very very cheap. Okay, the seats don’t have cushions on them but you don’t need cushions because you are not on public transport in Spain long enough for anything to go numb (either that or it’s already numb from all of the cheap. So cheap. So very very cheap alcohol you have consumed).
We visited several places whilst away, Torremolinos and Marbella amongst them and we even ended up at a highly lauded Tapas place highly recommended by The Hairy Bikers.
When we departed for English shores in the early hours of Monday morning, it made me think that we, as a nation, could well be leaving all of this behind. The people (Spanish and English – except for one fairly stressed out Spanish bus driver who was instantly forgiven) were fantastic. The food was unbelievably good (even in the more “touristy” areas) and this sort of cross cultural collaboration (even though a few days earlier, Raheem Sterling had thumped two past a rather forlorn David De Gea in the Estadio Villamarin in Seville) and cross cultural understanding really gave me hope.
We used Planes, Trains and Automobiles (if you include the ride to the airport and the taxi back) and we survived. We not only survived, we had a bloody good laugh. In fact, I have not laughed so much in a long time and for that I have two dear friends to thank.
The world is a smaller place these days and this is in no small part due to affordable air travel. Yes, it is possible to be part of something bigger and retain your cultural identity. Yes, it is possible to laugh with someone who doesn’t understand a word you are saying (because your Spanish is so utterly useless) even if they are part of airport security. They laugh with you at the misunderstanding and shake your hand as well as giving you a wonderful smile.
Part of me wonders if this will be the same after Brexit. The optimist in me says that even something as big as this does not need to affect how we deal with others because it all seems rather arbitrary. And stupid. That’s why I’ve ordered a tin of blue humrol paint, so that my passport is the “correct” colour when I return to Spain.