Right, I’m back. I have so much to write about that I don’t even know where to begin, last week has been absolutely hectic and as much as I would love to leave here a detailed record of the events, right now it seems like I don’t have enough energy to pull it off; I have a right leg I can’t move properly, and I’m using crutches, and I’m back home earlier than expected all because I fell off a bike.
To say that my reunion with the pedal-driven recreational vehicle has been far from romantic would be an understatement. This has been the most stupid thing that has ever happened to me in a long time and it totally sucks, particularly because it arrived in the middle of my 2-week holidays in Spain, just when I was hoping to dive into the Balearic Sea one more time before going back to London. Oh well, it could have been worse, I guess. There seems to be no broken bones and although I’ve been extracted 60cc of liquid and blood out of my knee, it doesn’t hurt that much.
Besides, I had a wonderful time on my birthday. For a second year in a row, July 20th has been an amazing day, each of them in their own different way. This time around, I spent it in Madrid, a city packed with some of my best friends; a lovely bunch of people with a very hardcore sense of humour that I find incredibly endearing. Before arriving to Madrid, I spent a few days in Barcelona laying on a beach, working on my tan, surrounded by gorgeous topless women from all over the world who I never got the chance to meet because I was just a bit overwhelmed by so much nudity. It was beautiful and painful at the same time.
Then, on July 19th, I took a bus from Barcelona to Madrid and that very same day, met up with my friend Javier and went for some well deserved beers. Got home drunk at 4am, fell asleep and woke up with no hangover whatsoever. It was fantastic. Next day went with my friend Curro to The Buen Retiro Park, a beautiful place I always try to visit when I’m in town, and later on met up with the rest of the gang for some very cheap rum and cokes at a place we call “Shemalia”. Why? Because its premises are surrounded by shemales who often get into the bar to go for a pee. As my friend Quico once said, it’s the equivalent of having Ronald McDonald entering one of his resturants to use the toilet, just a little less glamorous.
Now, the good thing about “Shemalia” is that is big, usually quite empty, the waitress is friendly and fun, it’s in the city centre and, wait for it, they have 2 rum and cokes for 5 euros. FIVE FUCKIN EUROS. Umbelievable. Just to put things in perspective, a badly served rum and coke in London could be around 5 pounds, that’s like 7 euros or so. Now think about a place that gives you 2 very big and strong rum and cokes for half the price, it was paradise. Besides, there were Curro, Rafa, Manolo, Dani, Javi, Ara, Quico, Nikki, Tamy, Eileen and Quique to share them with so I couldn’t ask for more, could I?
Of course I could. As if it wasn’t enough, I also got presents! For the first time in a long time, I found myself unwrapping birthday gifts and it felt good. Curro, Quico, Ara, Dani, Manolo and Rafa put together an amazing set of books, a wicked AC/DC mug and one of the greatest Black Sabbath albums in Deluxe edition, just for my pure enjoyment. They took me by surprise and the whole moment almost brought tears to my eyes, particularly because just a couple of years ago, most of these people were complete strangers to me and now they are like family. It’s why I keep coming back to Madrid over and over again and it’s why I wanted to spend my birthday there this year… I miss them and it’s always good to see them.
And then I went to Valencia. I took a bus from Madrid and after 4 hours, I was greeted by my good friend Felix who took me to his place for lunch. Shortly after, we decided to go see the city and he asked me: “shall we go by bike or do you want to take the bus?” The answer came out naturally and without hesitation: by bike, of course! I mean, there were 38 degrees, the sun was shining, there was a beautiful beach awaiting and, unlike cities like London, there was actually a designated bike lane to ride without any danger. What I forgot to consider was the fact that I hadn’t ridden a bike in 17 years. Minor detail.
I put my bag with my laptop and a few books on the front basket of the bike, get on and just as I managed to put my feet on the pedals, the weight on the basket made the handlebars do a funny move that made the bike go sideways quite abruptly and just when I went to put my right foot on the ground to support myself, my ankle twisted and I lost balance. Now, this wouldn’t have been a problem if it wasn’t for the fact that public bikes in Valencia are 3 times heavier than a regular bike; they make them super heavy so they can resist all that reckless use they get so when I was in the air falling, I had no chance to get off or push away the bike as easily as I would with a regular bike so all my body weight and the bike ended up landing on my right knee. It was fuckin’ painful. And embarrasing.
When my friend realized I had fallen like 5 seconds after getting on the bike he came to the rescue and helped me get back on my feet. My knee hurt but it was ok so I got on the bike again (this time with no extra weight on the front basket) and rid for 10 minutes to the University my friend is studying at, to work on the code for my installation. I could feel how my knee was getting swollen and by the end of the afternoon, I couldn’t walk at all. Took a cab back home, layed in bed with my leg on a cushion and waited for it to get slightly better overnight. But it didn’t, of course. Next day, my friend’s brother (who is a traumatologist – luckly!) put a needle into my knee and drained 60cc of blood and liquid out of it, put bandages all over to immobilize it, got me crutches and basically adviced to go back to London as soon as possible to get X-rays and a resonance, so I cut my holidays short and booked an earlier flight, for which I had to pay 100 fuckin’ pounds, by the way. Not cool.
Got home on Thursday afternoon after a journey from hell (aka Gatwick to London) and went to A&E the day after, to get an X-ray. They said there are no broken bones or severe ligaments injuries, which is good news, but still need to wait for an appointment with a traumatologist next friday to see exactly what’s wrong with my knee as it still hurts a bit. In the meantime, I’m finding my way with the crutches, figuring out how to go up and down the stairs safely, how to get into the bathtub without bending my knee, how to put my underwear and socks on in less than an hour… things like that. Fortunately, my housemates couldn’t be nicer (it helps to live with 4 girls and a doctor) and they have been taking good care of me; one of them even made a stunning tiramisú just to welcome me back home. She made sure to let me know it was mine.
And that’s about it, my cut-short birthday trip to Spain in a blog post. Man, I’m exhausted.