I had been with my Swedish girlfriend Erika for roughly six months, in a fishing village called Puerto de Mazarrón in South East Spain.
It all ended rather badly when around my 27th birthday, I lost my job and the love of my life, all at the same time. It turned my world upside down and my heart inside out, so I had to get away from there.
I managed, with no little effort, to book and pay for a flight back to Australia via London using all of what little money I had saved and someone else’s credit card, as I didn’t have one of my own. After two weeks sleeping in the spare room at my mate Leigh’s place, attempting to lay low, feeling like I was dying and almost achieving it through excessive alcohol consumption, it was finally time to go.
Friday, June 7, 2002. My last night (or so I thought) in Puerto de Mazarrón was a blinder. I spent it at my favourite bar “La Escalera” where the owner Luz kept giving me more drinks every time I tried to leave. Ah good old Luz, a totally genuine and all round damn good bloke. Needless to say, by the time I walked out of the bar, the sun was well and truly high over the horizon, my bags still not packed and my bus to Murcia long gone.
Being the weekend in a Spanish town like Puerto de Mazarrón, there were no more busses for the rest of the weekend. So the day I had planned to spend in Granada, on the way to Málaga, never eventuated. Finally, it was 10:30am, Monday, June 10, 2002. I had managed to stay away from the bars and said my last goodbyes to Leigh and his wife Raquel and thanked them for taking me in and being so kind, when everything else had gone straight to hell. I was on my way to Málaga via Murcia.
There is not a lot to say about this part of the journey, except that I had to wait several agonising hours in Murcia before the departure of my bus to Málaga. I remember that the countryside was beautiful, but really during this time, such mundane things barely registered.
I was leaving my life in Spain forever and not because I wanted to. My heart had been removed and hacked to pieces by a blunt knife, scattered on the ground and run over several times by a large truck. This is think, is a very dangerous state for anybody to be in and I wouldn’t wish it on anyone.
Eventually it was evening and I had arrived in Málaga. It seemed like a pretty large place, and kind of reminded me of another Spanish town called Benidorm – large, ugly, and filled with English, Germans and Dutch who think this is the real Spain. Not long after I arrived, a German guy approached and took me on a bit of a walking tour which ultimately led to where most of the pensions were located. There I managed to get myself a room for €24, locked my gear inside and went out to find the German waiting. Off we went to a Tapas bar where we met a friendly Kiwi guy who bought us a couple of beers each and told us some of his stories. Then we found a supermarket, bought more brews and headed for the beach.
Down at the beach we came across a Canadian Classical Guitar student – along with his guitar. We joined him and shared our beer while he played. It was really lovely music too and there couldn’t have been a better distraction for me. Eventually it got rather late and the guitarrist mentioned something about going to bed and I thought I’d do the same.
The Mad German however, wanted to stay on the beach and tried to convince me to do the same and drink more beer. I began to realise at this stage that he might not actually have any fixed address and took off back to the pension anyway. I’d paid good money for it after all. Before I left, I lent the Mad German €5 which he promised to pay back tomorrow. It was a kind of test. I had a huge double bed back at the pension which felt very strange to be sleeping alone in.
Tuesday, June 11, 2002. I awoke feeling pretty crappy, checked out and left my bag at reception to be looked after. Walked around in the sun and as arranged, the Mad German was waiting for me at McDonalds at 1:00pm. He said he would have to contact his mother in Germany and get her to send him some money via Western Union. Righto.
We returned to the pension and I grabbed my gear. I desperately needed toothpaste, so we went to a supermarket which was extremely crowded. I didn’t particularly want to go in with my bags and nor did I want to leave them with the Mad German, so I gave him some money to go in and grab it for me. He returned sometime later with shitloads of beer, and an expensive tube of sunscreen. Oh for fuck’s sake.
According to the Mad German, the only open Western Union office was at the airport. So what do you know? The mad bastard jumped onto the bus with me and when we arrived, I had to check in straight away while he went off to Western Union to get my money. Surprise, surprise, I never saw him again. So, drunk, sad, ripped off and generally fucked up, I finally boarded the EasyJet plane, while vaguely noticing a pretty girl doing the same and flew out at 1:30am. What a day.
It was a pretty uncomfortable flight. I had one of the emergency exit seats, so had to sit bolt upright the entire way and at about 3:20am (UK time), we finally arrived in Luton. What a contrast in weather. Málaga was warm and sunny, Luton cold, wet and miserable, yet only a couple of hours apart.
There was some sort of work going on at the airport with changed traffice conditions and such, so us passengers were hearded down to a corner by a café and told that there would be a bus to the train station arriving in about half an hour. Myself and the girl I had noticed earlier, who was suddenly standing next to me, introduced ourselves and decided to go into the café for a coffee.
She told me her name was Jax and that she came from and lived in Switzerland, though her parents were English. We talked about everything and I think there was some sort of chemistry between us the moment we met. We accompanied each other out to the train station, exchanged contact details, then hugged and kissed each other goodbye and that was it. I was off to London for £10 and she was going elsewhere. It’s strange when that sort of thing happens.
Sometime later, I arrived in London Bridge Station, caught a bus to Camberwell and eventually found my way to Ann’s flat. Ann was a friend of a friend in Spain who I had been put in touch with for a place to stay in London, so I had spoken to her on the phone, but never actually met her in person.
Ann was lovely and very intellectual, which showed in the way she lived. Books and other paraphernalia scattered everywhere. It was almost difficult to move inside her flat. She let me use her internet and I crashed out for the rest of the day, completely exhausted. At least I had made it out of Spain.
To be continued…