Published: January 6th 2010January 6th 2010
3rd April '09: (“even stevens”)
Namibian has conjured up a little jewel recently - literary flair is simply thriving on tour. Between extended periods of gnawing on his knuckles, polishing his curved horns and fangs.. Oh sorry, I got carried away there - his tail doesn’t, in fact, thrash like a wild scorpion. Namibian doesn’t even have a tail. Anyway, in the lead-up to his anecdotal blog entry, I’ll just casually mention that I have easily accessible photos of him shirtless and sexy in the heat of last summer. I’m sure he’d hate these saucy stills to be exhibited on the blog, so I’ll just leave the threat hanging in case he really is planning to take up the metaphorical cudgels - and run me through like a blackguard - in his entry. As promised then, I hand over the baton to that indefatigable of characters, the Namibian:
Will Hi there all u Blog Readers; I the Namibian has been asked to do a blog; well time to take the ppp, Only 1 thing comes up as Barny is always taking the P out of me,, this one beets them all.. Most of Europe on the hiways U have
to pay to use the loo,only cost 50 cent,,now Barny dont want to pay this he is a tight arcs,one day in Italy he was doing a wee next to his truck as the a female cop drove past ,,mmm cant tell u what she said, Anyway he was given a 25 ERO fine, we wer parked on a no parking zone he got 70 for that i didn't,so that cost 200 trips to the loo,ha he calles me lazy,the loo was 100 meters away.
Me again: it seems I’ve escaped lightly, for now at least. We’ll let bygones be bygones, I think, but I do like a little churlishness: I seem to have included a snap of my South African pal instead of me. Honestly, talk about hypocrisy, Namibian..
We’re now in Barakaldo, a little west of Bilbao, Spain, where Cookie suggests a rock ‘n’ roll night out. ‘Hang on then, let’s get our AC/DC cardigans,’ we chorus. So, donning our matching crew “swag” - looking summery dressed in black - we set off via Bilbao Exhibition Centre’s tourist office. Cookie lingers longer than strictly necessary, feigning interest in the Basque coast, chatting
to the young girl in there, while Namibian, Little Dick and I leaf through brochures, and generally browse.
The Basque region, nestling as it does in the Pyrenees, is a pocket of peculiarity: the language is an utter enigma, incomprehensible to both French and Spanish speakers. And just in case you’re interested, the inhabitants are historically a seafaring nation, renowned for whaling in the 17th century. That’s all you’re getting because we’re on to food now.
Finding a restaurant here is, as Cookie describes it, ‘a debacle from the start to the beginning.’ Tapas, or “pintos” as they are called here in the north, are two a penny - on every bar - but sitting down for a serious meal proves more difficult. We tease Namibian as he beams at the sight of a taxi rank for the way home, and notices confectionery shops. Despite losing girth perpetually, he maintains that, for his height, he is now only a stone-and-a-half overweight. Mm, rightho. Perhaps he’d like to join me in a cycle tomorrow then? No, I thought not.
Mind you, I’m not doing terribly well myself on the cycling front. Directions to Bilbao from Barakaldo involve a
motorway, forcing the cyclist to rethink his route. One has either to catch a bus or restrict peddling to Barakaldo’s environs. Add the fact that this bargain bicycle from Munich is crap, and the situation is hopeless. When battling uphill on this trusty steed, it has a tendency to snarl one’s trouser leg. A quick pedal backwards ought to free it, I hear you cry. Aha, but that applies the brake. So, if one perseveres forwards, in a gear that is nowhere near low enough, one is mangled beyond recognition from the ankle up; if the pedals are spun anti-clockwise, a standstill is reached.
The left hand, supposedly free to make telephone calls, must now remain on call to unfoul oneself from sprockets. After twenty minutes of this - negotiating spaghetti-like junctions in a vain attempt to find a small road to Bilbao - I look to the left to find myself, out of breath, looking down at the truck from which I’d started. And I’m sporting a frayed trouser leg. If one is to ride an unfashionable hybrid Toscana - entirely unsuitable for an intrepid reporter, I might add - one may as well tuck trouser into sock
and, fashion be damned, sock into sandal..