On June 13 I travelled over oceans and timezones for 26 hours to get from Wellington to Madrid via Sydney and Dubai. As I stared out the rectangle window and watched Aotearoa disappear into the distance, I was filled with a deep appreciation for those I was leaving behind, and an intense excitement for what the rest of the year would bring.
I met some awesome people on my journey. On my way to Sydney I sat next to a lovely Indian couple who didn’t like dairy so kindly gave me their cake and Chocbar icecream #gains. In the Sydney airport I met a young French guy who coincidentally had been working on an island with a guy who I met on a flight one day in New Zealand. From Sydney to Dubai I shared some quality banter and a few beers (all alcohol was free) with an Australian who was on his way to work in the mines in Africa, and a dude from Switzerland who studied medicine and paragliding and had been on holiday in NZ and knew some people I did. I hardly slept on my 14 hour flight so was glad to have three seats to myself on the flight to Madrid.
For some reason I was subject to a “random” security search at every airport I stopped at; I even got taken into a separate room in Dubai and got patted down by a Muslim lady while my bag was getting tested for explosives. I’m unsure if my big black backpack looked suspicious, or if my aesthetic just screams danger, but either way I eventually made it to my final destination and I have now been in Spain for five days.
My sister told me I would have to wait at the Madrid airport for seven hours until a train would take me to her hometown. I got my baggage and then found out the train drivers were all on strike that day. I walked around, most likely looking like a lost wee papi, trying to find a Wifi connection so I could message Ash with the update.
It was the best surprise but the buzziest feeling when I gazed around the airport and saw my sister, who I thought was in her hometown five hours drive away, running towards me with a sunburnt body and a huge grin on her face.
On the train to Madrid’s town centre, we came across a crowd of guys who I thought were models. They were actually the sevens rugby team from Mexico, and these tasty men were an absolute treat of an introduction to the country.
We came up from the underground, and I felt like Ella Enchanted as I stepped out into the sunshine of the city’s streets. Everything was bonita (beautiful), from the men to the nature to the casa’s balcony’s and entranceways. We had a picnic, walked around the pond in the park, and people-watched at a busy roundabout until our ride left to Malaga.
The area of Malaga is on the coast, where my sister has been living with a host family for the past seven months. Each house in the area has its own unique face, each with stunning detail and flowers casually draped across them, the skyline and ocean views surround the area, and the sun is almost always shining.
While I have been here I’ve been entertained by Ashleigh’s host brother (5) and sister (8), been swimming, roamed the streets of Malaga and nearby town Torremolinos, been to the beach, to a culture festival, to a native dance show, to numerous bars and restaurants, and last night to a beach party.
My highlight so far would definitely not be when we arrived home at 5am and had to stay in the bushes outside her house because Ash forgot her key and had no battery on her phone. She tried to get me to appreciate the stars on the clear night but I couldn’t really see the beauty as I got scratched up by the bush and eaten by the neighbourhood insects. I guess it’s all part of the adventure, right?
We’re off to Morocco tomorrow, so that should be a hoot if it’s anything like the past five days here in Spain…wish me luck!