To San Sebastian

Walking from the bus station to my hostel I realized San Sebastian is even more beautiful than I remembered it.  As I checked in to my hostel a light drizzle came and went, so when I went looking for some bread for dinner the streets were amiably shiny and people moved just the slightest bit faster about their errands under the threat of more to come.

The hostel here could use some work.  2 of the 4 knobs for the stove are missing, and of the two functioning burners, one is covered in crusty layers of burned funk and the other one works only intermittently, even when on the top setting and gets not quite enough to bring a cup of tea’s worth of water to a full boil.  That would be a problem if I was going to be here longer than a day.  The blankets are holey, and I thoroughly inspected the mattress for bed bug stains…twice.  Luckily the mattresses look pretty good.  The slight India-themed decorations are a thin camouflage for neglect.

The clock above the door read 12:05 at 8:50, and a second ago the hour hand free fell so now it reads 6:06.  I find that indicative of timeless places like this.

The owner is a busy little lady with old hands, who spent 10 minutes pressing together the pieces of an obviously broken iron, despite her recognition of the broken plastic fittings that meant the effort would never succeed.  The only thing greater than her annoyance was her perseverance.

Then she tried to sell me postcards, and asked for my keys back tonight, and I began to suspect her of being a slumlord, but she just gave me her number (no, don’t say it) and some advice on finding work as an English teacher, including the address of some sort of something related…I guess.  I can only approximate the information due to her thick accent.  Tomorrow I will be looking for a street with a name something like “Burata.”  Ah…I think I remember seeing an “Urbiata.”

So many Spanish women have this same voice, young and old.  Raspy, tired, well used.  A life lived with so much passion and so many exclamations gives them the sound of sand.  Honestly, after awhile I just want to tell them to chill the fuck out.  And stop saying “joder” all the time.

It is an international truth that people often adopt one or two words which their speakers use FAR too much.  In English it would have to be “fuck” or “shit” which, if you hang out around anyone aged 10 to 30 you will hear far too much of.  Italians are always saying cazo this and cazo that, while the French folk in my hostel last night couldn’t help but add “putain” at least twice per sentence.  (Not sure if I’m spelling that right..if not, please let me know.  For the Spanish it is definitely “joder” while Mexico is fond (although less than these others) of “chingar.”  (Maybe “buey” is a better bet.)

In case you didn’t know or couldn’t guess, those are all dirty.  Silly humans.