Usually, there are reasons we live in whatever city we do. We have a purpose, something tying us to it; a workplace, a lover, a university, which sets our initial playground. Our decisions on where to live and what coffee shops to frequent are built around this anchor. We fit ourselves into the city as much as it fits itself to us.
I don’t have any of these anchors. I could just as easily live 6 hours drive away in Valencia or a plane ride away in Munich. Nothing except what I experience of a city’s features; its rhythms, its people, its landscapes, restaurants and streets, will entice me to settle here.
Why is it always my most wonderfully romantic thoughts that end up being fraught with confusion?
Because adding to this are idealistic fantasies about a modern one-bedroom apartment overlooking the beach costing only around 250 euro a month. I rationalise I could even go a bit further out from the city and truly live the European dream with a little Vespa Scooter. I’m thinking pump heels, a scarf and big round sunglasses for its virgin journey (aka: facebook photo in front of the beach, caption: “Living the European Dream!” Won’t Kendyl just be so jealous of my happy little face!!)
So the question is posed: does Malaga have what it takes?
The city is gorgeous. The perfect European dream complete with tiny lanes lined with balconies overflowing with hydrangeas. A man has his shoe polished on a street corner next to a band of musicians in traditional dress. Marble shines under my tired disoriented feet; streets keep popping me into plazas, the blazing sea on completely the opposite side I thought it would be.
For groceries I’m directed to the ‘Supermercado’ which turns out to be a small version of the Victoria Markets; three sheds of innumerable vendors selling fresh veggies (in the first) fresh fish (in the second) and meats, cheeses and wines (in the third). I order some fat, tight, juicy strawberries (unas fresas, por favor!) and wander down to the harbor eating them one-by-delicious-one out of the paper cone.
On the way back to the hostel, Oysho, a pretty little store selling soft bed clothes, (of all varieties *wink*) is having a sale. I buy PJ’s, a new set of lingerie and something like a super-soft jumper-thingy. It comes to about 20 euro. I can only describe this feeling as Smug. All those other people in the ENTIRE WORLD buying these things for TWICE AS MUCH! Fools. Sunshine sits in my heart as I step out into the main street and head for the next task… a SIM card for my mobile phone. Also 20 euro a month.
I could definitely live in Malaga.
Until I start trying to find an apartment. Bit by heart wrenching bit I up the price I’m willing to pay. The Spanish have a, er, unique perspective on décor that clashes with my own. I start considering a studio or sharing with someone. The areas outside of town are a conundrum. Where are the coffee shops? Do people go out here or just head into the city? Am I going to make any friends being a bus ride and a walk up a steep hill away? And should I even be thinking about making friends or just concentrating on writing?
By Day 5 I’m utterly frazzled. I don’t want to be here. I should’ve stayed in South America. Gone to Canada for Christmas and travelled down the West Coast of the USA in a combie van (aka: facebook photo, caption: “Living the American Dream!”) ending up in Costa Rica. Maybe I should try another country. Bali’s warm right? How much would a ticket to Bali cost? These thoughts whirl around my confused head huddled under a blanket at 3pm in the afternoon. I’m having a siesta. Gimme a break, it’s Cultural Research.Read More
I’ve heard Malaga is littered with unfinished buildings and smells like poo. A city to miss on the Travel circuit because, well, it’s on the “Tourist Circuit” *nose wrinkle*. The thing is, it’s one of the warmest bigger cities in Europe’s only Spanish speaking country (coincidentally enough known as Spain) and I’ve met at least 6 people just in the past 2 months who used to live there and say it’s wonderful. It’s also super cheap as well as right next to the sea and some pretty rated paragliding spots. Just perfect for someone looking for a pretty place to learn Spanish and hole up on the cheap in the sun for a few months while tackling a first attempt at a book. A first attempt at professional writing, actually, but hey I’ve never been one for half measures.
I should be in South America, soaking up the warm rays of a similar climate to Australia’s this time of year.
But something wasn’t right with me and South America. Maybe I was sick of travelling alone and wanted deeper friends around. Maybe the craving for life purpose and a lounge room I can pad about in wearing PJs and fluffy multi-colored socks overtook me. Or maybe the student of a Native Indian Chief I met somewhere up the backside of one of Columbia’s mountains was right and my energy lines don’t align with its magnetic flows. He suggested feathers and a song. I booked a ticket back to Europe instead.
So it is with a bit of trepidation that I walk off the plane into the airport. To say you’re going to go live in a city without actually ever having been there is a bit like going on a blind date. If it sucks, you’re stuck for an awful long time in a whole lot of awkward.Read More
Am currently filtering through my private online blog retrieving thoughts from the past four years and came across this… pretty sure I’m onto a new psychological phenomenon here.
Anyone else’s ideal person based on the first cartoon you ever watched?
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Saturday, December 24, 2011
There’s nothing like karaoke singing to “A Whole New World” with your 7 year old niece to bring some life clarity. The particular revelation this morning is that I am in love with Aladdin.
I’m stalking a Mac Store. In the rain.
The train to Zurich leaves at 2:30pm today and I’m hoping, practically praying, my early rising and piety will impress the gods. Anxiously, I stare up the wall of glass to the looming, illuminated white half-bitten apple logo as if it were the cross – a symbol of my salvation.
Surely, they can raise my Notes from the dead. If anyone can, the red shirted demi-gods contained within can help me. Their elixirs will sooth my iPhone’s refusal to rise after its third waterboarding in a toilet bowl, even just for a moment so I can synchronise and save my data from eternity in oblivion.
Apparently my last ‘automatic update’ to iCloud was in October and somehow only managed to capture about 50% of it. An impressive error for a software which, in my civilian ignorance I assume by its very nature only does what it’s told. In this case, ‘back up my most important data’. This apparently doesn’t include the past 3 months work on a book aka: irreplaceable inspiration.
The pre-day huddle of red shirted Smurfs inside breaks and I dash across the square. The gods are pleased! 7am alarm clock WORTH IT! A bearded elf escorts me to the Genius Bar where no less than 5 geniuses are customer-less. Inglorious riches! Like discovering $20 in the pocket of your winter jacket.
Mid-fantasy of all the things I could get 5 geniuses to do with my Mac products at once I’m introduced to “Oli”; the iPhone specialist. My ailing phone is laid at his feet and faith fills my eyes. I’m like the Commander Soldier before Jesus. Just say the word Oli and my phone will be healed. I believe in you. I get a wary look before it is whisked off behind the Curtain of Oz.
In his biography, Steve Jobs’ is quoted as saying “But you can’t call them Geniuses!” on the suggestion of using the term ‘Genius Bar’ for the repair area. “They’re geeks!” Watching the rotund belly of the other genius two metres away move up and down with his explanation of something i-phoney to the middle-aged lady on the other side of the counter, I’m suddenly overwhelmed with a gratefulness for geeks.
Call them geniuses, wizards, even priests, whatever you want, I don’t care. Geeks are surely more socially-useful than priests these days. Let them put a Mc before their name, like a Doctor, and wear a gold ring with apples on it. I’ll kiss it. Just get me my Notes back.
Third party repairers quoted a week, another one three days and finally one took just 2 hours to take a look at my phone and find out whether it was redeemable. Oli, in his wonderfully geeky Appley way, takes 5 minutes.
It’s dead. In the un-raisable sort of way.
Oli thinks it’ll be more than a 1000 euro to recover the data but first we’ll check if my Airbook just happened to back up to itself, rather than the iCloud. I’m given a new iPhone for 150 euro (wha-at? yes!) and spend a nervous 5 minutes watching an apparent synchronisation from the 12th December take place.
And there, there at the bottom of a notes titled ‘Book’ is my most recent burst of inspiration.
Apple, I am yours. I will never cheat on you. I will never have an affair on you with other platforms or hardware. I will never wait 3 days for an external Supplier to refer me to a specialist who has no record of the fact I bought the phone in Australia and attempts to charge me for his time. I am a devoted follower of you Mac. For richer, for poorer, in sickness and in health.
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Although a niggling, worrying thought stays with me on the train ride home. Is the failure of iCloud to Actually Do What It Says the first crack in the demise of a company now Founderless? Does whats-his-name-who-took-over-from-Steve have the balls to ask “What’s it supposed to do?” and on receiving the answer respond “And why the fuck doesn’t it do that?” after which promptly firing the Team Leader like he did for MobileMe? Can he cut through the bullshit to continue to maintain 10 minute service times and 5 second load ups?? Is this ship’s Captain at the wheel or DRUNK IN CABIN!?!
Maybe he needs me to send him an email and let him know how close I nearly came to my old Microsoft experiences.