Exercise Update: Pray for me

Right then. Crunch time.

It has dawned on me that the Rat Race, aka the point of my life where I die, is nearly upon us. And by nearly upon us I mean it’s on Saturday. And there’s now a complete synopsis of all the stuff we have to do here.

You might think that I’ve been using the previous couple of weeks to hone my now finely-crafted physique, lifting things, running around, punching the air, doing sweating, and generally making sure I’m ready to face Soviet killing machine Ivan Drago, much as in this inspirational Rocky montage. I like the bit where he goes mental on the skipping rope.

Sadly, however, I haven’t. What I have been doing is eating cheese and drinking heavily.

In fairness, it wasn’t my fault. I had to go to Spain.

Now I love Spain; it’s an excellent country. 360 days of sunshine, a casual approach to public nudity, a strong focus on daytime drinking and a 3 hour lunchbreak wrapped in 4 hours of work are all huge plus points, and some of the foundations of the nation’s prospering economy.

I went with the best intentions, I really did. I even packed my running gear. The only problem is I never unpacked my running gear. What I did unpack was a hearty appetite which was well-served by Andalucia’s love of fat-free, healthy foods.

A modest range of training cheeses.

A modest range of training cheeses.

Oh wait no. It was all fat. And pork. And cheese. And variations on them. One of the most popular snacks, I shit you not, is chorizo fried until the fat runs out with mozzarella added to the pan until just melting. You then serve it with fresh basil and bung it into a french loaf, occasionally basting the mozzarella with the chorizo fat. In truth, it’s god’s own snack. Few tastier things have been in my mouth.

It’s also a heart attack on a plate and among the healthier of the options available in all good tapas bars. Then you just have to wash it down with beer, because it’s cheaper than water and we’re in a recession. Some of the beer bellies you see should have their own postcodes. But by god are those people happy.

That’s before you even hit dessert – one day we sauntered down to the village to watch a lady carry a porcelain saint with no arms (apparently perfectly normal) and then a middle-aged lady tried to force feed us all churros and chocolate.

There’s no escape!

Obviously it was a quality week.

Unfortunately I am now fully unprepared for Saturday, but I am now confident that my heart will give out before I have to run 13 miles. If I were a betting man I’d wager it’ll be somewhere in the first mile. I’d also wager that in the autopsy the doctors will find that my heart is deep-fried.

I have one small comfort: tall flatmate will be dying with me, as he has completely misunderstood what’s in store. An actual conversation from today:

Harry: “I figure it’s just run a mile, do an obstacle. By 10 obstacles it’ll be nearly over.”

Me: “No Harry, it’s not 10 obstacles, it’s 150.”

Harry: “Haha, funny. I went for a 2 mile run the other day so I’ll be fine.”

Me: “I’m serious.”

Harry: “<Confused look/whimpering sound>”.

Oh and broad flatmate still can’t swim. At all. And there’s a swimming part. A long one.

I’d like to say it’s been enjoyable writing for you all over the last couple of years, and I would urge you not to throw away your lives by blind stupidity as I am about to do.

We would all like fancy funerals please – I would like mine to be curated by vowel-hating producer SBTRKT to ensure I go into the flames to a cool, thumping beat.

Adios.

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An Englishman’s Guide: Mallorca Pt 2

Thinking about it, this section is going to be largely based around alcohol, and accurately recalling experiences involving copious amounts of the stuff is an inherently difficult thing to do. So this could be quite short. Sorry.

Amendment: It’s not! It’s really long! Sorry.

Uno mas?

Pleasingly, Mallorcans seem to view casual drinking as a way of life. Not in the same way that we view hardcore drinking as an essential pillar of life, but in a more sedate, refined way. A small, ice-cold beer with your lunch is standard fare. Every cafe and tapas bar, and I imagine many churches and playschools as well, have some kind of delicious brew on tap. Generally it’s Estrella, the delicious gold nectar out of Barcelona. This can only be a good thing.

If a beer at lunch and dinner just isn’t going to cut it for you, there’s a handful of good bars in Palma town. One of these is certainly not Shamrock’s, or pretty much any place on the waterfront. Shamrock’s is a little slice of Southend on a Saturday night. It smells a bit like vomit, even outside. Whilst enduring my beer, we witnessed a man run past who’d had so much coke that he was clutching his shoes in one hand and his heart in the other. After pausing to scream wide-eyed at a lamppost he sprinted off down the road. About an hour later he ran back the other way. He didn’t have his shoes any more.

Try and check out Lorien, which is a tidy little beer cave just up from the waterfront, near-ish the Cathedral. Aficionados will note the mind-boggling range of heady brews, as well as the terrifying man that serves them. Gibson, which is more in the centre of town, is also a good watering hole, especially if you are on a date or have money, because it’s also crazy expensive. Another of its plus points is that you can hide in the corner and play ‘would you rather’, with a focus firmly on the rest of Gibson’s clientele, with 3 Finns, an English girl and a wonderfully angry American.

Top Tip: Finns do not understand ‘would you rather’. They get the concept, but will spend a long time forlornly muttering “but this is not how it works reeeeally” in a very Finnish accent. Pretend you don’t understand their concern, it only adds to the amusement.

Anyway. Wine.

One must in Mallorca is a wine-tasting experience/bender in Santa Maria. Take the excessively-developed-for-a-tiny-island train network from Palma towards Inca and you’ll wind up in Santa Maria in about 20 minutes. Don’t get the stop wrong, because the majority of other stations on the island are helpfully located in the middle of vast fields, miles from anything.

Head towards the Macia Batle Bodega first of all; it’s Mallorca’s biggest and most famous winery. I think. Take the self-guided tour, i.e. wander aimlessly through the cellars nodding sagely but not quite understanding, until you reach the tasting room. Unfortunately we couldn’t do the proper tasting as there were 60 Russians having a private gathering, but eventually a sturdy German girl took pity on us and gave us a mini tasting, which still consisted of a good 7 or 8 wines in about 20 minutes. Their top whack red is a hefty 15 Euros a bottle, but is admittedly delicious; a mellow and fruity explosion of happy.

Don’t stop there. Wander out, half cut, into the blazing 6pm heat and then stalk the town looking for free wine. We only managed to find one more that was open, maybe they saw us coming, but that was a surreal treat too. The Sebastia Pastor Bodega, I couldn’t for the life of me tell you where it is, was a tiny little family run concern. We were given a rambling 15 minute verbal ‘tour’ of the bodega, some of which I understood (which is odd given that I don’t speak any Spanish, must have been the wine), by the absolute boss on the far left. Check out his bloody moustache! One of the main things I noted about this family was that every man, literally every man, is called Sebastia Pastor. All I could think was, “That must make the post a very difficult time.”

Angry American politely listened to all of this before cracking out something to the effect of “Great. Where’s the free wine?”, at which point Sebastia Pastor went on a one man crusade to get us monumentally drunk. A couple of large glasses of his finest Crianza, or 10 minutes, later and we were all fucked, slumped against wine tanks or leaning a little too casually against walls.

It was great.

We also saw a woman come in and buy some wine and produce, all the while with a small parrot clutching on to her shirt and squawking. Nobody batted an eyelid. I bloody love Mallorca.

One quick tip: Santa Maria has an amazing public toilet shaped like a wicker basket (for some reason). Locate it and remember it early on, you will need it.

rantraverelax Phrasebook

I promised activities and exciting adventures with tour buses. I lied, that stuff got covered off in Part 1. Ille Cabrera and the Caves at Porte Cristo. That’s two activities. Happy? Good. Time for some filthy language!

As I’ve mentioned, I don’t speak Spanish, but with the help of Spanish-speaking Americans I now know some useful phrases and quite a lot of sleazy lines, which I’m happy to share here. Family members should probably go and do something else now. Put the kettle on, have a nice cuppa. For everyone else, master these lines and you’ll be as successful with the ladies as I was…

“Si” – Yes.   Use this a lot, even if you don’t have a clue what’s happening.

“Claro” – Clear/Understood/Ahhh OK.   Ditto.

“Vale” – OK (pronounced like ‘ballet’).   Ditto Ditto.

“Hace calor, o eres tu?” – Is it hot in here, or is it you?

“Hace calor, o eres mi polla?” (ll pronounced like y) – Is it hot in here, or is it my penis?

“Hace calor, o eres ti concha?” – Is it hot in here, or is it your…you get the picture.

“Tu me pon es” – You turn/are turning me on.

“Me voy a carrer” – I’m going to come.   Strangely, given the sure-fire-winning nature of the previous lines, I didn’t get to use this one.

And no, I didn’t learn anything actually useful.

In Summary

In the format of potential tourist information slogans:

“Mallorca – The rock that rocks”

“100 quid return on Ryanair – what the fuck are you waiting for?”

“Hace calor, o eres Mallorca?”

Fin.