Tuesday, January 10, 2006


I Left My Reputation in Portugal

Thursday, January 05, 2006


The Grey, Grey Skies of Home...

Yes, I crossed from Spain to Portugal the slow fussy way... First I caught a bus from Seville to Huelva. I'd like to say I had a "hellva time in Huelva" but I didn't stay long enough to make that rhyme a fact. I caught another bus to Ayamonte on the Spanish border with Portugal. I went by the river ferry as planned and the moment I stepped off the boat the fact I was now in Portugal became immediately apparent. Every pavement in every town in Portugal is paved with cobbles. Painful on the feet if you are wearing thin soled shoes (as I was).

From the Portuguese border town of Vila Real de Santo António I caught a train to Olhão. I found a great place to stay in Olhão, the nicest place I stayed in during my whole trip, so I decided to stay there for four days. Olhão doesn't look Portuguese: with its square white buildings, flat roofs and exterior stairways it looks African. In Olhão I drank more than one galão, and this is another thing I like about Portugal. In Spain you have to ask for "cafe con leche", three words for something that in Portugal just takes one word -- galão! Then I caught the train to Faro. I found a room in the same small hotel that I stayed in on my first night in Portugal. In fact it was the same room!

I was sad to fly back to Wales. But there were compensations, chief among them my friends, Sarita, Stuart, Monica, Huw, Manuela, Carly. It's just too cold for me here, and too wet, and too grey. I need to get away again soon I think! It has been nice to return to writing: I have resumed work on MY CHOLESTEROL SOCKS and plan to complete it by March at the latest. I am also pleased that my story 'The Hydrothermal Reich' has just been published, more than five years after it was written. I understand why it hasn't seen print until now, it's an extremely complex, intense work. I think it demonstrates all my strengths and weaknesses as a writer.

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