Dear Joanie,

Thursday, 12 April 2012

What is it with these hot countries? I remember Ada telling me, when she was back from Southern Europe, that Spanish men were jacking off in public all over the place. Of course I didn't believe her. You know what she's like. Practically frigid. She's so afraid of men that in her feverish mind, they're standing around her, at the Alhambra in Granada, the Alcazar in Seville, and inside the Sagrada Familia in Barcelona, pleasuring themselves while looking at her hungrily.

But what do you think? This morning I walked past a car blocking the driveway to our hotel (I was getting sick of campings), and I saw that the driver was "enjoying his own company", as I once heard it described. Noticing that I'd noticed it, he seemed pleased. I walked on in disgust. He followed me for around 50 meters, honking his horn. That's not another euphemism for masturbation, by the way. He just honked his horn. Whether by accident, I don't know.

Which reminds me of when Petr went to Ethopia at the time of the terrible famine there. I was impressed with him, by the way - hadn't expected him to care. And of course he didn't; he was actually going to sell second hand cars, at a maximum profit. Now, at the Algerian border, he walked into the customs office, and saw a customs officer seated at a table, masturbating.

"I guess it's a question of local mores, " Burke says. "Like blowing your nose. People from Japan are probably all "I walked past the hotel and someone was blowing his nose!"

Still, I can't imagine people would look pleased and proud if they blew their noses and you saw it. But tell me, dear - why is the fervent public tossing off only a feature in Southern Europe and North-Africa? Why not Florida, or Texas?

Or do Texans service themselves a lot in public? Who can tell me this?



Dear Andrea,

Sunday, 1 April 2012

Yes, we are in Andalusia. We travelled all the way to the Cabo de Gata Nature Park, in the very South of Spain, in order to hear Spanish families scream at each other and play loud, inferior music over their stereos (usually placed outside.)

Such is life at a camping site. Mostly, we stay in the wild, in Burke's little Westfalia motor home, but sometimes I cannot take the extreme lack of luxury anymore, and need proper bathing facilities, as well as washing machines, dryers and nanny services for Barnaby. 

Burke driving his Westfalia in Biarritz

I keep having to go to RecepciĆ³n, in order to get help with the internet, or buy coins for the washer. The girl at the counter has a huge, balloon like belly which she supports with both hands as she rises, with great difficulty, whenever I report to her desk. I would love to say "My dear girl, you are pregnant - don't get up!" but under no circumstances will I do that. The risk of error is too great. I have erred at least a dozen times, in my life. Because apparently, even if a woman looks like she is 9 months pregnant with a baby elephant, she is just out of shape in a weird way, and will react with great indignation if I ask her when the little one is due.

It's not my fault. I have always had a perfect figure, and I can't be expected to distinguish between balloon shaped body fat, accumulating entirely in the lower abdomen, and gestation. An elephant is pregnant for 2 years, did you know that? 

The Westfalia getting towed in San Sebastian

Oh drat, my internet connection is very slow...Shall have to report back to RecepciĆ³n. I almost feel guilty, when that whale of a girl gets up, with such obvious exhausted misery, to tend to my internet problems. Instead of saying "when's the baby due?" I think I will just advise her to lay off the deep fried octopus. Will have to look that up in my Berlitz Spanish for Travellers booklet, as well as "for goodness' sake, you almost look as if you are pregnant."



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