The maori mexican flying kiwi unda down unda.

My most sincere apologies amiguitas y amiguitos, as I have not written in these pages for a long time. Do you know that feeling when simply you think you have so much to do/think/procrastinate and leave that simple task you wanted to do and realized that you thought of something in 2007 and it is already 2017? Well, you might call it lack of inspiration, motivation, time, even excuses or that actually your mind has gone somewhere else. Well in my case? I just couldn’t find or better say didn’t feel the proper time to actually sit my ass down and write. But oh how unfortunate you are now, as this feeling has arrived and my now again cute ass is ready to be seated again.

The land down unda’ a land down unda’. A place where it is possible to breathe the freshest and cleanest air of the planet and even buy it on the duty free zone at the airport to give as Xmas present. The magical land of the ultimate adventures, badass war tattoos and war cries, a hilarious English accent, rugby on every corner and #gandalf.

Yes. New Zealand. ***makes Haka noises***

-The bloody hell were you doing there mate?- you might ask. Trust me when I say I was as surprised as you when I discovered that 0.4% of my genes are originally from Oceania which of course includes NZ***finishes the Haka***. To be sincere, I have always been curious about this faaar far away part of the world; as mentioned above, it just sounded like a too good to be true place. I recall a TV commercial in the 90’s where a lad was being dropped down from a chopper into a mountain, started skiing, passed cool caves, finished on what seemed to be a jungle, changed his outfit to a swimming suit, and then caught up with a lady in bikini, grabbed a board and started surfing. I mean how fucking cool does that sounds? And of course, #gandalf. So I was more than ready to snowboard and surf and potentially meet my NZ lover as I would yell to demons “YOU SHALL NOT PAAAASS!”. All in one day.  Hell yeah.

As this didn’t sound incredible enough, life gave me a marvelous and hilarious kiwi friend, someone I could basically say is like the sister I always wanted and never had, including the part where we can both deal with complex unsteady aerodynamics problems, fail miserably, still make the engine work properly, drink Gin like actual beasts and dream everyday to explore and conquer the world. Universally known as “Jenbla”, I had the great honor of being hosted by herself and her family where for about two weeks, we did a brilliant road trip all across from Christchurch down to Wanaka, Queenstown, to the west coast and the back to CH. You want a real advice for your next trip? Hang out with the locals, there is truly no way to know the culture of a place than with them. It is not only because they live there, it is also because when there’s a foreigner on the game, locals also discover their country. It is an actual win/win scenario.

NZ didn’t disappoint me as there is a huge Gimli stone statue right on the airport of Auckland. What a way to start I must say. So yeah, after spending a fantastic weekend in Buenos Aires, Argentina with another of my dearest lads (gracias #che! volveré hermano!), after 18 hrs, there was I, landing in Christchurch, ready to see kiwis, penguins, climb, hike, snowboard, surf and dance the Haka as soon as Jenbla came to scene. Literally, after 25 minutes of landing we were already hiking the closest hill haha. Had then a cultural day as I wanted to know a bit more of the culture of the country so we visited the natural history museum, got staggered by the maori culture and heritage, the importance to the people about it and well, I just love museums.

I must say that NZ is sooo fucking expensive haha. Beers, clothes, fun activities, gasoline, transport, food. Everything is expensive but absolutely fucking worth it. The best way to travel around the islands is to rent your own car or camper van and then up to the road as it goes. Asking for rides on the roadway might also work, just consider you could freeze to death after 8 PM during winter. Great extreme sport though. Despite making sure you have enough money, people’s mega friendly, chilled, relax. Have you seen Thor 3? The bloke made out of blue rocks? There you go, that’s a true NZ spirit right there. So what you waitin’ broh? Wanna come?

So off we were from CH to Wanaka! a small gathering point village where it is possible to do kayak, snow sports, helicopter/plane rides, hiking/trekking/climbing on hills, mountains and glaciers, Mt. Iron, Roy’s peak and Rob Roy’s glacier are just some examples of those; you want mighty thunder thighs? You want to climb, not feel your legs because of pain, sweat at minus degrees and still look at a beautiful scenery? This is the place to go. And of course a zillion amount of lakes and sheep. Sheep every-fucking-where. Not to mention that when I got the wheels, as you drive on the right side of the vehicle, I almost got ourselves killed but nothing to worry about, besides Jenbla’s panic attack, my extreme crazy cat reflexes saved us and got us on time for dinner. Simply brilliant, I really loved it.

Down to Queenstown, where is like everything I just mentioned, times 462. The world’s adventures capital some might even say, and trust me they might not be that far away from the truth. The town is beautiful, quite fancy, still expensive, but Jenbla and I were there to become legends,  to transcend in time and space on stories yet to be written and spoken among our family members and the people of this planet. To become one with the motion of particles and scream so loud we could open interdimensional portals. We became bungy jumpers. 134 meters of insane fun, 8.6 seconds of free falling and free red crying eyes after the jump. We went to risk our lives, jump into the void, feel free, get very close to what is a heart attack, and paid a lot of money for it. Absolutely brilliant. Of course, on a Skype session my mom wanted to kill me as soon as she saw the jump video LOL. #mexicanmomlove

To Punakaki in the west coast we went! And shit I was just amazed how the weather and the vegetation could change sooo much from side to side of the island. We drove a significant amount of hours that day, but it never got tired you know? The great music, the mountains and trees and the very cute Kias. (2nd official bird of NZ). We wanted to be on time to see the clashing of the sea waves to what are called the Pancake rocks. It was unfortunately too dark already and it was quite rainy (apparently always rains on the west coast) but life was benevolent and we had a nice and sunny morning the next day, so after exploring caves and almost dying either by falling off the rocks or getting swallowed by the crazy sea, we saw an amazing show performed by nature and enjoyed our ride back to the east coast.

 

On the way back, we went to a place called “Castle Rock”. Recall the scene on the 1st lord of the rings movie when the hobbitsesss hide with Legolas, Gimli and Aragorn under some crazy stones because a shitload amount of crazy crows from Saruman and a Nazgul are flying to hunt down Frodo and make him fall like a bitch? Well that place exactly is where I found myself screaming “MR. FRODOOO!” on the top of one of the rocks as an asian family would stare at me like “UGH these fucking tourists”. At the same time, Jenbla was running all around, hiding in holes like a rabbit and climbing the other rocks. Truly like brother and sister.

Naturally a trip in NZ is not complete until you’ve done a mountain bike ride after fucking climbing zillion mountains and being crazy sour or until you’ve swum on a basically frozen lake, surrounded by only snow, just because it is not fun until you’ve done it and didn’t die. #crazykiwis

I never had so many nature adventures and even better, never shared it with someone who is crazier than me and I feel blessed with life for this. I got thunder thighs and was able the completely cleanse my “smoking years” lungs breathing such clean air at the top of the mountains. Even when I didn’t see any penguins, nor kiwis, didn’t snowboard, nor surfed, nor met my ultimate NZ lover in bikini, I was able to live a true kiwi life experience as I had the chance of doing and living fucking cool adventures across mountains, lakes and sea. Lived as another member of an awesome kiwi family, felt welcomed by all the great people I met there and felt ridiculously happy with life, as I get to be the friend of someone like Jenbla. And I got to yell “YOUUU SHALL NOT PAAAASS!”

You feeling adventurous and with a pinch of adrenaline running through your veins? You feel you cannot breather under this EWWW disgusting quality of air of the town you’re living in? You tired of the routine and feel like a crazy adventure should make you feel alive again? You feeling like being totally away from everyone you know and surrounded by only chilled and cooled people that will say “Don’t you worry my dear!” every single time? You also feel like you have a shitload of money to spend only to get to this island? Well I feel all that, but only feel it, because my account balance is basically on negative numbers, but the feeling is so strong that not only I recommend all of you to fly right now to NZ, I definitely will be back.

You want me to describe New Zealand in one sentence? Well I think there is one:

“Yeah, nah, it’s epic bro!”

Tēnā koe, a hupane!

 

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The classic and hellenistic turbomachine greek souvlaki

Well well well. First of all I want to express my gratitude to life and to the wise and vast universe for giving me the head, the will and the correct people around me to finally obtain a master degree in engineering and get one step closer of being an adult. #IhavenoideawhatImdoing. Secondly, how the fuck are you suppose to wrap up a 10 month adventure in one of the most exotic countries of the globe? May the turbomachinery and science help me then.

Between all this excitement you gotta ask yourself one question…-am I looking for a place to go and have crazy outdoors adventures? Amazing and magnificent archeological sites? Best food ever after the mexican? The beautiful agean blue sea color? Great spots for outdoors sex? Crazy people dancing and shouting opa? Do I feel lucky? Do you? Pppunk!?-. Greece ladies and gentlemen, is the answer to your problems.

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I spent the last 10 months in a country under “crisis”, studying under one of the highest levels of engineering of the world, eating delicious grilled octopus, souvlaki, pilafi, mussels and fried squids among others, drinking refreshing refreshments like ouzo, raki, tsipourou, rakomelo and mastixa, listening to emotional bouzouki, wandering around with the most beautiful women I’ve seen so far (cheers on Greece and your genes H!), travelling around places of the planet I never thought I would go to (cheers on #momondo), discovering ancient mythical greek temples, trying to pet every single street cat and dog I saw as I would scream “oh gatito!”, establishing friendships and bonds that I truly hope last long enough for me to have white hair and learning that life indeed is a journey where happiness and freedom exists. Oh yeah, a hell of a crisis as you can read.

What a ride. What a fucking awesome ride I must say, including the fact that today I know my DNA carries Greece too. #greekmexican #Manolios

Greece is world widely known because of the food like Tzatziki, the music with the Bouzouki, greeks shouting “Opa!” all the time, broken plates on the weddings, magical places/beaches/parties in Santorini or Mykonos and also for anal sex (#culturalknowledge). The truth is that Greece is absolutely way more than that so let me tell you my experience of this awesome country.

As I was on my way back to Azteca lands, Mexico, I was struggling quite a bit cuz I could not find a way to actually summarize an entire year of knowledge, adventures and emotions as the one just passed. But well, putting aside that time is a bitch and went by as fast as possible, I first want to explain something about the greeks; they are indeed probably the most similar culture to the latinoamericans, at least to mexicans as they love living life, eating well, easy money and power. Equally, very strong familiar/religious values, strong pride for their country and an amazing skill of finishing a freddo espresso in 5 hours as they complain about the new traffic lights, taxes and the government. Plus, they do walk veeery slow and are quite informal/relaxed with everything. Oh, and they don’t give an absolute fuck about parking. As said, very similar to mexicans.

 

It is true that greeks have a bit of a temper (it was funny because I didn’t understand shit and I would just smile whenever a greek was pissed at me, which made them more pissed) but to be fair, I have never been in a country with such high hospitality no matter if you were a foreigner, stranger or a drug lord faced mexican like me; they will offer you something to eat and a glass of Raki or Ouzo and ask you about your life and be genuinely interested in it. They will make you feel as if you were home and no less than that. Everything started with my former landlords, who kindly picked me up at the airport, invited me for dinner and would meet on a monthly basis just to chat up a bit and have some drinks, they are absolutely amazing people.

The magic in Greece is that no matter how hot or cold or difficult a situation is, you would listen to “halará” which means something like “chill out bro” and you would enjoy whatever you’re doing/eating/drinking. I must say I was fairly surprised by the scenery of the country as I thought it would be only cool because of the beaches and the unbelievable attractive women, but they have mountains and snow too, very convenient for snow sports and for long cool hikes. The other magic in Greece is that every 5.4 seconds you hear “pu ise re malaka!?” which means “where are you moda fucka?” and “PAME GAMOTO PAMEEEE” which means “let’s go for fuck’s sake, let’s go”. As said, magical.

Thessaloniki is located at the northern part of Greece and is the host of one of the best universities of the country which means a city full of students, so the average age of the city should go around 27-30 years old, so a lot of activities and epic parties to do in the northern greek lands. Feeling too adventurous and fit? How about a hike to the top of Mount Olympus and greet Zeus? (highest peak in Greece) Feeling like a monk and searching peace? what about a visit to the mythical mountains of Meteora? feeling romantic? how about a taverna night with amazing food and wine at the beach somewhere Chalkidiki or Kavala? Feeling eager to learn history? Visit the museums on Thessaloniki or go around to Pella where Alexander the Great was supposed to be born. Feeling like the last man of the universe? A night out with the Erasmus exchange youngsters or to meet greeks on the Ladadika area will never disappoint.

At the same time, the peloponese area (This is Sparta) as well as the obvious places like Athens, Mykonos, Santorini (one of the most beautiful sunsets you’ll ever see in your life) and the other 3000 and something islands, offer a fantastic collection of relaxing/adventurous activities to do. That’s the beauty of the country, you have the possibility of doing a zillion things despite how high or low your budget is, and fun is absolutely guaranteed.

Then Crete ladies and gentlemen it’s another bloody galaxy. I had the amazing luck of spending days there during Easter celebrations with a very close cretan friend. Cheers on that Mflow & Co. The tradition as in most of catholic countries is to not eat meat for some weeks until Yisus ascends to the skies and then it is celebrated by eating a complete and delicious roasted goat. All of it. Literally. Plus the incredible beach sceneries, undisputed hospitality of the Cretans the absolutely gorgeous cretan females and the alcoholic spirit called Raki or Rakomelo (+honey +cinnammon +hot +love).

From walking around bizantine temples and otoman architecture buildings to going up to the Parthenon and feel like Saint Seiya speaking to Athena (#SaoriSaaan). I had the chance of visiting about 10 islands in total, about 4999 remaining or more and they all gave me something different, like the most delicious Pistaccio ice cream I’ve ever had in my life.

This year I also had the chance of settle what it appears to be a long and solid friendship with a New Zealander girl and an Indian lad. Don’t know when I’ll see the indian, but I will visit the magical lands of New Zealand for 11 days and I’m pretty sure it will be just amazing to run in the same lands as Gandalf. Anyway, I also made a bunch of greek friends which unfortunately differs with my year in Sweden. I thought I made a couple of swede friends, but it was just my imagination as friends I did that year were from everywhere but Sweden. Anyhow, Greece was not the case, as I met smart, crazy, cool and incredibly beautiful ladies. And nice greek lads too. Hehe. People that truly taught me something, that gave me their time, a piece of a heart and that made me taking the flight to Mexico entirely full. That is exactly the way one should leave a country after so long no?

The truth is that it is not possible to tie up all the emotions experienced, but they shall remain in my head and in my heart for many many many years to come I’m sure.

As if this was not enough, after many many many emotional bumps and upside downs, just when you feel like you can do/give/have no more? life said – ha! sucker! – and then love knocked on my door. Again. My best friend says that I fall in love every two seconds and he’s actually not so far away from the truth, the difference is that I do get authentically amazed every two seconds, but love? that shit is way up high on another level. Yet, it seems that I reached that level again after many many many obstacles on the way in the most unexpected and unwanted way possible. That was a good one life, cheers. (Smiling from side to side thinking about a german lady somewhere in the world called H.)

 

Anyways. Greece was a random and unsteady phenomena that stroke me on a daily basis from feet to head. It knocked me out, brought me back to life, knocked me out again and then thrusted me right off to the skies so I could just fly and rumble. From seeing cats resting inside a “closed” shoe store to jump from a 15 m cliff in Matala beach, Crete; from feeling like a total ignorant and stupid incompetent pseudo engineer, to have the best thesis supervisor ever and recover my engineering confidence, from having no clue of what to do with my life to achieve successfully my master in engineering. From thinking that I would never play music again, to buy an ukulele and also play drums and sing in a very talented international band in a bloody awesome gig. From arriving sane, to finish happily insane.

For me, Greece is more than taking a fancy boat in Santorini, more than partying like a maniac in Crete, more than dancing like a beast in Thessaloniki. It is even more than finding a bloody mantis dancing in your ukulele, more than the beautiful greek ladies walking around the streets, more than all the delicious food you can eat in a tavern and more than fantastic beaches, mountains and the color of the sea.

Greece is something outside of this world.

Greece is home malaka.

Yamas!

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The 28th Anniversary of the International Malted Wild Tiger

28 years ago an 8 months Mexican baby was struggling between life and death as an abnormal heart beating manifested and required an urgent and immediate extraction procedure to live. A soul that wanted to get out right away, that couldn’t take it anymore and just wanted freedom without giving a fuck about any consequences. A bold and unbeatable essence that remains up today. Causing high levels of stress and breaking the ladies heart with a charming smile since 1989.

28 years. Fuck mate. Where has all this time gone?! 2 years ago I was in Mexico celebrating getting accepted into the program I’m about to finish now and having a relationship proposal of the ex-significant other (miss you “J”), last year I was enjoying my favorite whisky with a bastard who has become one of my best comrades in lovely Sweden. Cheers bro “M”. Today I am in Greece writing code for my thesis, drinking wine and eating cake and looking at my bracelet present from the current and lovely flat mates. You bloody rock “K” and “D”! 10 years ago I was completely excited to obtain my officially grown up ID known as IFE in the home land. That magical piece of plastic that would open the gates to every adult entertainment media and liquids. The evidence of being a young adult, with 17 facial hairs ready to conquer the world, study a career and think that 10 years later I would be the manager in a nice job, have a family, a lovely wife, a Porsche, the pets, the money, be part of the system and say a happy good bye. Mate it sounded so good back then LOL.

Isn’t it just bizarre and amazing how the years can just blow your mind and take you to paths you literally never thought you would be walking in? Thinking: – how the fuck did I think of that?- And smile about it!?

Well chiquillas y chiquillos, for those of you who know me you could tell how cocky egocentric piece of jerk scumbag I am or can be. But when it comes to my birthday, for me it is a day where I actually sit down and evaluate everything that has happened during this year. How?. Why?. Why not?. A day where I judge, assess and analyze in a cold way the overall performance of myself with no excuses. So…to be fair? there are not enough words to fucking thank life for everything that I received during this year. I had very very BLOODY FUCKING terrible and dark moments yes. Instants where I literally thought I was entirely broken, sunk in darkness and thought I was not going to be able to stand up and keep walking. Several winks where shit, they felt like a K.O. just one after another and another and another. A year well I truly put myself to test, where I just had to force myself to go beyond any limit I though I had, academically, physically, mentally, internally.

This is where the cocky part plays the game because to be honest? karma paid off to this lucky bastard and among some stuff, I was able to be present in my brother’s wedding, I passed the most difficult and annoying test I’ve ever written, I managed to stay in this program until the end, I’ve learned so much engineering shit, I’ve eaten incredible and exotic food, traveled with my another brother, received the unique chance of traveling around the world and seen the most incredible stars of the planet, walked through ancient wanders of the world, met absolutely amazing people from all over the world…but to be honest? I’ve learned…to truly connect with my planet and with my people. One day someone from Moldavia (“O”) told me just after 20 minutes of knowing each other: -I think success is not how much money you have, how many girls you’ve slept with, not even how many countries you’ve visited…yes, self love is vital but I also think it is about how people feel when they’re around you…if they’re happy and smiling because of you? Maybe you’re doing a good job! :)- I was speechless, I just couldn’t say any word. And no, it is not that I’m saying that everybody around me feels aroused by all the stupid funny random bullshit I use to say everyday or that I’m trying to achieve that; it is not that I know plenty of people or anything stupid like it; it is the fact that life is giving me the chance of truly connecting with people, of truly leaving a mark and make an actual difference, and that maybe just maybe it might be working.

But is it then always happiness and optimism and positive mentality and fucking fat cats and fat unicorns with cute pandas flying in my mind? Unfortunately or fortunately not.

Academically speaking? This last year I’ve been in a situation where after being either number 1 or at least top 3? I was just not even close to be in first half. Studying things I first saw as glyphs, dealing with engineering shit I literally thought I would never deal with. I felt like a piece of useless junk unable to solve anything. Failed tests. Incapable of finding the correct or even the enough motivation to study and advance as I thought I knew surrounded by totally brilliant people who knew (or seemed like) how to deal with this shit. People who became close to me and told me at certain points: -you can quit if you want, but you’d be a complete stupid if you do that because you have the brain and the guts to complete this. No excuses- A summer internship where I learned so much and got so frustrated with no significant results because of stupid reasons and thought again it was my lack of competence. A change to an entirely new country, new system, new rules, new people. A year full of changes, of challenges, of obstacles, of fire rings. And hell a year where I was lucky enough to have the correct people around me, to open my eyes in vital moments and was able to overcome most of those intense instants. But thesis is here, so this has just started.

Emotionally speaking? What a fucking roller coaster. My biggest dream of traveling around the world achieved? Come on, I sometimes still find it difficult to believe it until I see the pictures of the countries I’ve been to already. I’m lucky to have met complete strangers that changed completely my way of thinking and my way of living my life in a matter of minutes. People who I think made me a better human being. 21 new countries in my list. Probably around 100 cities if I put all my life together. Festivals including Foo Fighters and Tomorrowland. Wanders of the world and many many many flying hours. No complains at all on the adventurous and wild side.

But what about love? It still really amazes me how this chemical reaction in the brain can cause such powerful belief and make you go crazy. But it seems like a curse you know? Every single time I seem to find some peace ka-FUCKING-boom, something ridiculous and unfortunate happens that it just ends it. Sex is not the issue, I’m someone who stopped counting after 15. But love love like actual love is still something quite not well understood for me or at least either I’m too stupid and naive or it seems I still haven’t managed to know how to react to love these days. I’ve been the bad boy, the good boy, the rockstar, the nerd. Today I’m just fucking myself and I don’t give a shit on anything else, I’m authentic, smart and smiley as it can gets. But it is still apparently not enough. From not being capable to go for the ones who like me and appreciate me because I’m simply too stupid, to falling for exactly those who have a sign on their foreheads that say: “trouble”, “I don’t like short men”, “I’m in a relationship”, “I really like you but I won’t do it cuz I don’t know why”. And shit like that. A year where I got my ego somewhat fissured when a significant-crush denied to travel around the world because #fucklogics.

A year where love knocked the door. I’ve had the chance of hanging out and finish up in mutual amusement with incredibly attractive and very interesting girls. Specially one with whom I madly and unexpectedly fell in love with in fucking matter of some weeks because #yolo. I guess what they say about “when it happens, happens” is true. In my naive and obnoxious defense my core felt as I finally found someone with whom I could talk and laugh with random shit until 4 am, talk about smart engineering; someone who expressed her wishes of conquering the world, of going out, of accomplishing dreams and who seemed as crazy and ambitious as myself in similar ways. Someone with whom at the beginning everything looked just like a bad timing situation but in the end it was as real as my lack of beard, but apparently not as strong as I thought, and finished up sunk with me rejected in alcohol and tears for several days without being able to understand the universe. I should have read the signs like the ones aforementioned, but life is like that. Somedays you’re flying and some others you’re crawling. But no failure, no regret at all, it’s another stripe to the tiger. Only a big lesson learned, a drawer for the good moments lived and a new procedure for heart healing preparing it for the next, hopefully not, catastrophe. And to you who wished happiness and success? No need, but I’m truly grateful with you for making me feel such strong and marvelous thing. I keep my position of yourself being as one of the most incredible aspects of my life. I truly hope one day you let yourself understand that no matter how, or why, even when life is entirely weird? My eyes were real, your eyes were real.

For disclosure, this has probably been the most fluctuating year of my entire life, with emotional stuff being the Oscar award winner. And I bloody love it’s like that. It’s intense, it’s unpredictable, it’s crazy. During the last month I have met an insane amount of people from all over the globe. Interesting, insane and some might even as bold as me or more. These 28 years start and promise to be even a greater year than the previous one and I can’t just bloody wait for it.

I am more grateful than ever with my life, literally there are no words to thank enough, other than waking up everyday, look up to the sky, no matter if it’s a sad day, a happy day, an angry day, a bright day, a dark day. It’s for something good and it will always get better; it’s a matter of wanting freedom, of living the present, of wanting to live and not giving a fuck about consequences (sometimes at least) just like 28 years ago. I might be an annoying complainer of emotional things who forgives but who never forgets. Working on that. I could also be an eternal dreamer, a wanderer, a crazy mother fucker living it up. I wish life give me more years to continue living that way.

So to all the magical and far away places that welcomed me with arms wide open, to every fucking equation, simulation, exam and project and specially to literally all the people who went through my life this year who support me and who stand my annoying and obnoxious being. To the new friends, new family members and to the yet to be discovered corners of the world; to the amazing momondo team!; to life and to the universe:

Gracias, gracias por todo, gracias por tanto, gracias por esto.

Wanna conquer the world? Follow me, let’s do it together.

The Royal and Brave Portuguese Rooster

Oh amiguitas y amiguitos, what a bizarre and intense 2017 has been. And it is only March LOL. But back to middle February since it is when I did this trip, this pre-info. gave me most of the meaning of everything I felt during my days in Portugal, so buckle up, let us go back for some weeks in time and put our caps of “Fuck you February” on ok? 🙂

What the bloody hell universe?

The last week of January and first two of February were all about school, final assignments and final projects. I usually don’t complain about school because it’s stuff that needs to be done and the only way to finish the pain is by actually getting the shit done, period. The problem started when I realized that I might have done a miss-calculation as my 1 week time frame was simply not going to be enough to complete all my assignments when I had it planned. I took deep breathes, drank industrial amounts of coffee and just kept going with a 1-2 daily basis sleep hours, 7 work hrs. per 1 break hr. shifts and it was actually working! but in the end, the stress levels combined with a deplorable emotional state made my mind and body collapse and my defenses were the same as an albino baby ready to conquer bloody hell’s gates with a baby pacifier; i.e. I fell into a terribly sick semi pneuomonia “my lungs were dying” state. Fever, shivers, only two powerful pills in my stack plus some paracetamol and the good old Vic Vaporub. Chugged all the pills, drank insane amounts of tea, ate oranges and grapefruits like never in my life and kept working. It was Thursday, 1 more day remaining and managed to have only 1 last assignment for delivery. Slept that night with my bloodstream transformed into a flux of camomille+ginger+honey and rubbed the Vics all over my nose, my chest, my feet, my bloody anus, basically everywhere. And shit it worked. I was making a good progress but then I noticed I required a more powerful operative system in my laptop to perform some simulations on time and it was simply impossible to finish it before the flight to Portugal on Saturday. PLUS that Friday was the last night I had to spend with my previous awesome international ex-roomies, two strangers that became like family and about whom I shall talk about in another occasion. You know I miss you both bromigos!

So having overcome the worse of the sickness, I managed to get an extension of the professor, had a lovely dinner that night with friends, greek tavern on point and then just when I thought my emotions were feeling at their peak, everything crumbled down. It was a situation that today I reckon is mostly my fault for not being able to foresee things properly, that today I feel calmed and working on my daily peace, but back then, my mind thinking I was an incompetent for not finishing work on time combined with a heart telling me:-you like her so fucking much that you’re gonna fuck everything up. Like always.- and a soul unable to really process all the information that was being recorded…it was a rough night to be honest. But as I was back in my bed, barely able to breathe with a cracked heart, all I knew was that I just needed to get out of there and hop in the plane, I just needed peace urgently.

After some ancient testament size emotional “Viber” messages were sent, fever again and saying good bye to the international shack members, I landed in Rome for a 12 hrs. lay over. -WHA YU DU DISSSS!!??- I asked to the universe. -AHH shut up and open your eyes you whiny bitch!- the universe responded, as suddenly I found myself drinking a “+7 Anti cold” healthy juice and sited in front of the “Fontana di Trevi”. Perfection goddammit. The Coliseum was next and people I still can feel the goose bumps when I write these words as strong as I saw and entered the Coliseum for the 2nd. time of my life and shit, I swear I could hear the people roaring again. Not a coincidence. I still can feel the energy, the glory, the adrenaline and the strength given by victory. Feelings that made me truly smile after a long time and I said to me: -VAMOS CABRÓN-. I had a delicious Italian lasagna for dinner and was ready to get my flight to Lisbon at 7 am the next day.

Lisbon, Portugal. What a bloody cool city. To be fair I had absolutely zero idea of how Portugal was going to be. I had of course my own knowledge of the country but I did not pre-research as I usually do before any trip, did not know where to go, basically was in fucking blank because I just had no time to do it! So I decided to embrace everything the city wanted to offer me. Bold as always and wise as…sometimes. Best call ever. I first through the city taking the musical magical bus tour, passed through cool sight seeings and spots of Lisbon, both in the modern and the ancient zones. Lisbon has like a zillion amount of museums; the museum of the tiles, the museum of oceans, the museum of cars, the museum of museums. The city is divided by the Tajo river crossed by the bridge “25 de Avril”. It is like the cool younger brother of the Golden Gate bridge in SF. The music, “Fado”, the folk and typical music of Portugal so filled with emotions that it makes you want to cry. Barrio Alto is the zone that hosts most of the night life and the start spot to go up hill and spend the afternoon with wine, some food and enjoy the view of the city.

Have you heard of the typical cliches of romantic places like Paris, Venice, Milan, Rome, a log cabin to make amazing hot nasty rough sex love aside the fire as the Aurora Borealis is in the sky? Well, despite the not yet accomplished sexual fantasy, I was lucky to be in all the aforementioned places, even some more and well fuck all that. Portugal my dear chiquitines is (for me) the most romantic country I’ve been so far. For real. One of the spots I wish you can visit one day to confirm my theory is called “Sintra”, a magical town 40 min. away from Lisbon in regional train, host of ancient castles, royal family palaces and houses related with witchcraft and secret sects. Everything is green, with stone paths, a smell like rain and point views that will take your breathe away. A spot of the planet that again, at least for me, made me think of one day taking that special lady whom I would love and would love me for the rest of my life and share all the feelings I’m describing. Or maybe just my cat. Probably will be just my cat.

I had the chance of visiting a very good friend of mine from Japan who was living in Lisbon due to master studies similar to mine. “T”-kun took me around many groovy spots of the city, had some Portuguese alcoholic beverages in a fancy market, had some wine in the top of one of the hills and had actually a great time talking about school, love, future, alcohol, life. I know I’ve said this a lot in the past but is always crazy how you can connect with people from literally the other side of the world, with spiky hair and slanted eyes. Great one “T”-kun!.

The next day I was ready to take the train to the northern side of the country and off I was to Porto. Did I say how cool was Lisbon? Never mind. Pack your things, stop whatever you’re doing and go to Porto. Seriously. Despite being a bit chilly and rainy, it just made it equally beautiful city. The “Manuelino” architecture, old castle walls, medieval churches, rivers, a bridge design by Mr. Eiffel himself and the absolute and magnificent Oporto wine.

But first things first. My mom’s surname is Pereira and there are records that this surname came from my great grandpa which was either Spaniard or Portuguese and to whom I actually owe my first name. The village is veeeery tiny and peaceful, stone streets with barely a central church, farms, vineyards, a graveyard and some sort of small mountains and green fields surrounding everything.

This trip contained also like a business bonus feature. I had the amazing opportunity of first being contacted by the #momondo PR team in Portugal because there is a Portuguese cultural magazine called “Fugas” that heard first of the competition and second that the Mexican lad who won has Portuguese blood running through his veins. So basically they kidnapped me for one day, a fucking brilliant day where they made me an interview regarding the contest, how did I win (still no clue), what did I say, what did I thought when I knew the price and of course what was my opinion and knowledge about Portugal? what was my favorite spot so far? and the main reason that took me to Portugal, why did I want to go to a village in the middle of nowhere called “Pereira”? Despite being in Portuguese, you can check the interview here if you want:

http://fugas.publico.pt/Viagens/370175_manuel-veio-a-portugal-confirmar-que-toda-a-gente-pertence-a-todo-o-mundo?pagina=-1

They also took me to eat typical Portuguese food in a town called “Barcelos” which was close to Pereira, ate duck rice, octopus, cod fish, delicious wine, among others. I also got a Portuguese rooster as a gift from the restaurant. Wanna know the story? Just google it, quite cool! Then the crew took me to the village of Pereira to actually see and explore the place. I mean how fucking cool is that? who does that!? And then back to Oporto. But the most amazing experience was when we were in a local cafe in Pereira, were talking to a kind old sir and we asked if there were any old reminiscences of what Pereira was and he mentioned a castle in ruins, the “Castelo de Faria”, that supposedly belonged to the royal family of Pereira in the very old times. Off we went to the castle on the top of one hill and man…everything was covered in green, all the stones, all the paths, all the trees. It was like taken out of a Narnia and a Game of Thrones and wild Harry Potter scene. My first feeling was:-I’m on a fucking fairy tale, everything’s so green, uhhh look at that big stone, LET’S JUMP ON IT-. I basically felt like a little kid, running and jumping around every tree and stone I saw. The people of Fugas and Momondo were just laughing and saying that I truly looked just happy, that it was incredibly contagious. Like, just imagine if you could talk to the trees or stones of such ancient place? what would they say? or what would they not say? better said. On this day, at that moment, everything I mentioned in the beginning of this post just went at warp speed through my mind, that and even more stuff. An internal emotional wave that made me cry as I was just listening to the wind just because I had to cry, a thing that I very rarely do. I felt as if the place was telling me -you’re gonna be alright, be brave, be bold, be yourself-. You see I’m a guy who in times of crisis believes on whatever signal life gives. I’m a true follower of the signals, every detail that the universe is telling us and there was an instant when I truly knew what I was doing right and wrong in my life and most important what I needed to do to work and overcome that which I thought was wrong. Too bad it was only an instant since I kinda fucked it up some weeks after that (LOL) or well…did I? It was just an absolutely brilliant experience. Thanks #Fugas and #Momondo !!! I will never forget it.

As a cultural data, Portugal was founded by many families with significant resources, among those, the Pereira family. The proof is in the castle of Sintra where on the ceiling you can observe all the royal families coat shields that founded the country. Wikipedia also cooperates with this. So know you know ladies: you looking for a man who is single, handsome and descendent of a royal wealthy family founder of a country? *winks with cool sound.

The last days I spent in Porto I basically explored and walked as much as I could. The Duoro river, divided by the bridge “Luis I” as said designed by Mr. Eiffel, the library which J.K. Rowling got inspiration from, the Majestic coffee, a 40 year old Oporto wine that was the closest thing of love I’ve ever felt, the “Riberinha” area, got lost in the magical and narrow streets, ate a magical thing called “Francesinha”, listened to more Fado music and saw some other good friends I made during my year in Sweden. I even saw a cat in a leash. It was an authentique jackpot if you ask me.

 

Portugal was special because of many things. It is directly related with my mom’s bloodline, it is a special place for “J”, it is the holder of probably the most delicious wine I’ve had so far, a country with great and friendly people, with delicious food, with music that touches your heart, and specially it is spot that literally took tears and fears out of my eyes; it created a tremendous emotional earthquake in my core that reminded me that to be in love is a game where we meet people who makes us evolve on specific times of our lives, in every sense and in every way. A place that reminded me that nothing is meant to last, NOTHING in this life, and that it is exactly that fact, which makes life beautiful and provides unforgettable memories, just like the Castelo de Faria did to a young and wild mexican lad. It is exactly that fact, the reason we should listen to our minds but obey our hearts and be bold, be free, be brave, be fearless, be fucking happy.

Obrigado querida Portugal!!!!!

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The Arabic Bedouin Ancient Caravan

Jordan. Middle East and Arabic territory. The ancient and mythical lost city of Petra awaits and I couldn’t keep it together, I just felt bloody thrilled about it. But of course no magic happens before going through an uncomfortable 24 hrs. experience that contained delayed flights, running and tackling people at Dubai’s airport, technical aircraft faults on the 2nd plane and my stupid face being enchanted by a beautiful blonde Russian Matryoshka. At 10:00 am I landed on the capital city of Jordan, Amman.

I had no sleep, was not able to shave the 31 hairs my face is capable to grow and I was starving. Arrived to the migration part of the airport, paid the 40 JOD entrance visa fee and my mind was just ready to go to the hostel, eat and sleep until the next morning…

W-R-O-N-G.

As I gave my passport to the officer, he started asking the typical questions but stared at me in a peculiar and odd way. -Sir, please go back there and sit down, we will keep your passport- he said as he would talk in Arabic on his radio. -Is there something wrong?- I asked. No response. I actually thought that maybe they have to check for criminal records on their system or something, but I was too tired to argue and ask so I obediently went to sit down and waited. A new officer and a translator arrived to the scene, called me and took me a bit apart from the entrance queue. He started basically to ask the same routine questions but now with a more intense look towards me. -Mexican? Why were you in Africa? then Dubai? and then here? And why are you alone? What is your business? Do you know someone here?- he asked, as I cheerfully responded: -Just holidays sir! I’m a student and just came to visit Petra- whereas his eyes would scan every single movement I was doing. He asked about my luggage which was on the delivery platform and he said the bag had to be scanned. But of course. We passed the official entrance to the country, picked up my bag and as the bag was going through the scanner he said -What’s all these?- pointing to all the flag patches I have in my bag. -Ahhh ye! I just like traveling very much sir (happy face)-. Nothing obvious revealed on the scanner, he asked me to open the bag and he found two plastic bags of a mysterious kind of powder. -AHAAA! IS THIS THE COCA?!, where’s the coca??- to what I immediately bursted in laughing and said: -no no sir, that’s sand of the Sahara and from Zanzibar, I have no drugs-. He saw the sand and then he said: -don’t lie to me, are you sure you have no drugs?? “Cero” drogas?? No coca!!!??-, -AHAHAHAHAHAHHA- I responded. He started to become really pissed as other officers were approaching the scene and talking in Arabic; Mexico was the only word I could catch. But despite all the intense efforts of the Jordanian airport security force and of course putting aside my obvious badass Mexican international drug lord face, the officers did not find any evidence of narcotics, gave me back my passport and let me go. It’s grand you know? He was doing his job and did it good; except maybe for the tiny fact that just for being Mexican he assumed I would be packed with drugs as the “Chapo” style. Classic pun. #mexicanproblemas

As soon as my stomach was full and my head touched the bed, at 15:45 I was already dead and slept for 17 hrs.

The next day, since the bus to Petra was totally full, I spent the day walking around downtown, exploring the ancient city spots like the citadelle, visited some temples, museums, mosques and of course tasted the local cuisine. I must reckon that hummus should be named as humanity patrimonial. Just saying. Just so fucking tasty. Amman is a complete and expanded 3 million people capital city. Modern/fancy and ancient areas, cars horning, black tea and mint tea, date fruits, shishas and Arabas selling everything at the market. Also quite a lot of security checkpoints with massive trucks and a heavy machine gun handled by an officer. It was a good day I must say.

So there was I, waking up at 4:57 am, courtesy of “D”, an individual responsible of the latter and last emotional tsunami that went through my core (story for another time), and was up and ready at 5:30 am so I could take the bus at 6:30 am to Petra. Takes around 4 hrs. to get there from Amman and it’s the only available schedule, which is actually quite good if you want to visit the place for a day and come back to the capital. I was not n a rush so I decided to spend the night there. The city is small and it is composed by an area of hotels, food locals and a modern bedouin village where the locals live and work.

Ladies and gentlemen, Petra, one of the seven wanders of the world. One of the “most see” places of this planet. Holder of secrets founded by the Nabateans. After I set everything up in the hotel, I was just ready to walk all day and discover all this magical land could provide me. As a cultural data, tourism is the main income of the country with Petra of course being the main attraction above anything. It is indeed not cheap to go in, it costs 50 JOD to go for a day, 55 JOD to pay for a two day visit and then up for different situations. Also, Petra used to be in the old days (around 100-500 D.C.) one of the main cities for commerce, so everybody passed through this place. As said, the site is filled with bedouins who sell souvenirs, tea, food, shishas, camel, horse and donkey rides, scarfs and turbans among others. Some of them are actually quite “annoying” as they follow you for like 80 m. trying to convince you to buy a bracelet or something; in the end, it’s the job and they gotta sell to eat, I do get that. Anyway, as I went into the site, I felt I was entering Mars. I thought the Sahara was actually red-ish but hell, this area was just sooo Martian! For a moment I felt I was in a chapter of the book of John Carter. The first part you can appreciate some monuments done by the Nabateans, which are kind of tombs in form of squared monolites (is that actually how you spell that?) called “Jinns”. It’s quite impressive. It is possible to start seeing a kind of water channels used to distribute water (dah) in the old days, until you get to the Siq canyon. The almost 80 m stone walls above the head combined with the sun beams created a smile cheek to cheek in my face. Everything was getting more red and the stones and walls had this peculiar mineral line colors.

Bedouins, Asians, Russians, Americans, some latins too. People from all over the world including their selfie sticks and big ass Canons walking through these ancient magnificence. The canyon takes about 2km or around that, until at some point, the pass becomes a bit narrow, barely sun goes in, but far away at the end of the path, it is possible to appreciate some huge red-ish carved pillars and some camels walking around. “The treasury” amiguitas y amiguitos. Shit. Fucking staggering. I had no words, just wide opened eyes and an impressed face by the almost 40 m carved  monument. As many cultures passed in more than 1000 years throughout this place, the site has arabic, persic, greek, roman influences. It’s unbelievable how such radical mixture just works. Hundreds of people taking pictures and riding camels, so I just took maybe 10 min. to appreciate the place and kept walking, I wanted to go to the furthest point of the site which is called “The Monastery”, it is also the highest point where Israel can be appreciated while having a delicious cup of bedouin tea, and it is also like a 3.5 km walk with a quarter of it going just up.

I felt like a huge ignorant as I thought that Petra was going to be only the Treasury and the Monastery but hell, the city is huge! and it is claimed that is not yet fully discovered. If today it looks magnificent, I cannot imagine how it was in the glory days. Royal tombs, a roman theatre, carved houses within the mountains, a royal palace, an orthodox church, more tombs, more sacred temples, a straight path with columns on the sides, ancient entrance doors. I also felt as I was just bloody part of an “Assassin’s Creed” game or something. I felt proud to actually wear the turban I got in Morocco. It was hot but quite windy, so it actually helped to protect the face and all the locals were wearing theirs. Some even talked to me in Arabic and said -you look like a modern bedouin!. -Yala yala!- I responded laughing.

After climbing up the path, sweating like crazy and regret smoking for the last couple of months, I reached the monastery, which to be fair might not be as pretty as the Treasury in terms of architecture, but it is in fact more impressive since it is bigger and it is older and with a lot more of historical background. I sat down, had a nice glass of juice and smoked a shisha. You might think I am crazy but as I was walking across the city, I could actually imagined the old caravans going and carrying exotic spices, fabriques, stones, weapons, animals; the locals buying the merchandise, the royal guards protecting the city. For a moment I felt I was crazy, so I decided to keep walking and go to the highest point and enjoy my tea as I could observe the amazing view. I even found a cute cat that was playing with a butterfly, played with me and then back to the butterfly. I cannot explain it, despite being in such an old piece of the world, I felt just great, I felt welcomed, I felt as if the land was saying “just enjoy mate!”

I spent the 2nd day basically walking through the further temples, churches and tombs of the site. Of course spent like 30 min. just watching “The Treasury”. Something I really liked is that there is some sort of “freedom” to walk almost wherever you want. So as I was climbing one of the mountains, I first found this amazing spot on the top where there is a bedouin tent and you can see “The Treasury” right from the top, in piece, having tea. Absolutely wobbling. I kept walking, kept climbing and then found two bedouins that were smoking shisha and drinking tea as their goats were having lunch. -Hey tourist! come! drink tea!- they said to me. I was quite thirsty and thought ye well! one cup would not hurt, so I went and asked how much was for a cup as one of them said: -No, no, no. We don’t want your money. Money don’t make friends. Please join us and enjoy if you want- to what I was just shocked, it was a totally unexpected answer. So I smiled, sat down and talked with these guys for like an hour. Solomen and Ibrahim were their names. They shared some of their seeds and taught me how to opened them with the teeth and eat them. -You have a sincere smile my friend- said Ibrahim, -there aren’t many people like you these days, you are a good man-. This is a moment where I was more than convinced that it doesn’t matter what religion you believe in, what skin color you have, what clothes you wear, how much money you have; it doesn’t matter if you’ve been to jail, if you’ve been to church every sunday, if you’ve had a shot once with David Bowie or if you’re a pal of the pope. It was not that what Ibrahim said fed my ego and made me think “ah ye, I’m great I know”, hell no. It was the fact that he opened himself to a 27 year old lad he barely knew and shared his beliefs, his food, his beverages and his thoughts. He taught me a lesson that I will never forget in my life. No matter who you are, we all have the same blood color and we ALL are capable of uniting and of sharing what we have, even if it is a total stranger.

During the next day I came back to Amman, had for the last time an original, delicious and industrial size plate of hummus, had a good amount of sleep, met an interesting person who drove me to the airport and shared some of his crazy young sailor stories, Greece included in the visited spots and took the flight back home. I’m pretty sure you know that feeling where you actually feel more tired after holidays than before? This time I felt recharged, fully fucking motivated and recharged. I couldn’t believe how in 3 weeks my mind was able to see so much, to feel so much, to give and to share.

As I saw from the plane the famous dead sea, I couldn’t stop thinking how bloody lucky and grateful I am for being able of living this type of journey. Call me a cheesy, romantic, annoying and naive bastard, I don’t care, but every place I go I find something different that connects me in such a way…I can’t explain it. I’m not bragging about it, I’m not showing off how many cities, places, countries I’ve been to and I will go to; as said, it doesn’t matter who you are, what you do, where you’ve been, I am just trying to unite and to share who I am with you.

Thank you so much Jordan. I am more than certain that 4 days were just not enough, I do hope one day in my life I can go back to explore and discover more of your magical corners. I promise I’ll shave and dress nice clothes next time so you don’t think I’m trying to be a Mexican contraband drug lord. Thank you for showing me one of the brightest sides of life, I promise too I’ll do my best to share that side wherever I go.

Next stop, home…for a little while.

Vámonos!

 

 

 

The Tanzanian Zanzibarian sensational spice

I firstly want to apologize for not posting this before, as I have been dealing with a traumatic amount of work, finals and equations flying all over the place. The perks of being an engineer.

But there I was and my cute butt in South eastern Africa. Tanzania. The paradise island of Zanzibar. What a place!. I honestly was not expecting that such a far away piece of land would create such a magical feeling in my guts and heart.

After a harrowing Senegalese visa denial and a trip re-arrangement that included 50 hrs. of flying and “sleeping” through Madrid (cheers Emilio, I owe you this one bro!), Brussels (cheers Belgian beer, I love you!) and somewhere over Egypt and the UAE, at 20:00 hrs. I was landing on the african island of Zanzibar. Sleepless, clumsy and stupid was my head and body when I didn’t pick up my travel journal and left it in the carry-on luggage compartment. Still awaiting a response from the airline saying -Dear Mr. Maqueo, we have you journal. PS: You’re stupid- Sounds quite unlikely after 3 weeks but hey, optimism dies the last. Aaanyhow, I had several mixed emotions when I landed there; part of it was because it’s one of those places that make you say stuff like:-I don’t know why but I need to go there…I NEED IT- so as the song “Africa” by TOTO was at max. volume on my iPod, the drums within all its glory and then KA-BOOM the 33ºC heat wave and 98% humidity crashed against my skin, bones and triple layer shoes. -WHOOOA IT’S HOT!- I said, as I immediately started sweating as if I was in a sauna. I know I know, it’s not thaaat hot, but please understand that I’ve been living in cold places for the last couple of years and I’m also a living boiler, i.e. I get overheated when walking at 8ºC (Yes, I’m the one to hug during cold times). The smell of the rain, of the soil, of the tropical state I was falling in, everything immediately kicked in and provoked a big smile from cheek to cheek.

After a successful visa and passport control, the warm welcoming message of the police and exchanged some thousands of tanzanian chellins in my wallet, I quickly found myself in a cab on the way to the most populated area of the island where I spent one night: Stone Town. The driver called “Musa” said in swahili: -Jambo! Hakuna matata!-, which is hello, no problem! in english. A revelation occurred when I realised that “The Lion King” was based in Tanzania and hence the hakuna matata. That night I had a delicious and original chicken curry, spicy beans and rice and felt like I was ready to sleep for 18 hrs straight. Wrong. The place I stayed in, as clean and presentable it was, it had only a fan on the ceiling. -Ah should be grand!-I said. The fan at maximum warp speed, all windows open, 31ºC, I was basically naked and I felt as if the mattress was on fire. It reminded me of the hot “southern winds” that strike Catemaco, my home town back in Mexico and also reminded me of the a bit orthodox words my first boss said to me in a metallurgical facility at 47ºC:-you fuck with the heat? It will fuck you. You d0n’t? It will fuck you anyway.- To what I basically stopped whining, just focused on my breathing and managed to get some decent hours of sleep.

The next day I ate for breakfast one of the tastiest mangos I’ve had in the last couple of years. All the available fruits were actually fresh and delicious. Finished and had the chance of making a tour called “The spice tour”, where basically you walk into and through the harvesting farms of most of the spices and fruits of the planet, as one or several workers of the farm explain you the harvesting and further processes. As a cultural data, Zanzibar is known as the spice island, since spices like pepper, curry, tamaroc, ginger, cinnamon, old spice, flowers like vanilla or the one out of which Chanel No.5 is taken from and tropical fruits like mangos, lemons, limes, oranges, bananas, pine apples, lichies, among others, are either originally from here or were imported during the old colonization days from several and diverse regions of the world. The good weather, the rain and the soil did the magic and voilà, spices and trees everywhere. I was having a lot of fun! tasting fresh fruits and seeds, incredible variety of smells all around me and suddenly a lad that is popularly known as “Mr. Butterfly” said:-you want a coco cola?- to what I said -ahhh whatever that is, ye sure!- and he started climbing up a 10 something meter palm tree with just hands and feet, cut a HUGE coconut with a machete and opened it for me to drink. It was bloody impressive.

Afterwards, I had lunch with some locals of the tour; rice with cinnamon and pepper, some type of bread and vegetables in coconut sauce, a sauce that tasted fabulous. Then met other tourists part of the same tour and went all together to a beach in the area of “Bumbwini”. In this area there is a place called “The cave of Slaves”. You guessed right, it’s a big and quite dark cave that during the 16th and 17th centuries was used to keep slaves that were traded across different parts of the world. A dark past that today only hides in the further corners of the cave. Huge is the contrast when just a couple of km away, there is a magical beach where I was able to get refreshed by the sea and by the local beverages. “Kilimanjaro” and “Safari” are the names of the beers, and “Konyagi”…a liquor quite strong (but tasty) that made me basically cough and suffocate as I drank it. A local started bursting in laugh when he saw me basically choking.

Back to Stone Town I wandered around the town a little bit. I must say that despite having a map, the structure of the town is not the most organized, which is fine but it was very easy to get lost. I must also say, that the public transport becomes a bit tricky for tourists, because unfortunately they do not go through the “touristy” spots, and if they do, I just couldn’t figure out which “Dala dala” to take without getting lost and freak out after half a km. This means, single way taxi fares that go from 10 USD to Stone Town, and 40 USD to the cool beaches of the island. It becomes very pricey if you ask me, but definitely worth it. Anyhow, I had to check-in in the villa I would spend the rest of my days in Zanzibar, in the area of “Bububu”, so took a cab and became friends with the driver, today a friend, called Yussuf. A very nice lad just my age that would drive me around both to my hotel and to the new year’s eve party about 70km to the north. I actually had way more fun in the ride than in the party but we’ll come to that later. “Imani beach villa” is the magical spot I stayed in. You feel stressed, tired, sad and want to experience beautiful sunsets? Just go there. The staff was absolutely kind and generous, all time. The owner, South African, welcomed me, offered me a fresh mango juice and said that there would be a dinner at 19:00 to say good bye to the year.

A delicious last day of the year meal that would include sea food and some South African dish called “Bunny Chow”, wine, beers and more wine and more beers. I met interesting people, mostly couples like in their middle 40’s and 50’s. All foreigners. Including a lady that just some couple of days before had a really close death encounter as she and her husband tried to climb Mount Kilimanjaro as their first climbing experience. -Not recommended for amateurs, neither for a quick trip- she said a bit sad and disappointed. But there she was, at least celebrating life. Alive. But despite the emotional moment I felt like dancing! it was 31st of december after all and heard about this “crazy” party that “everybody” was attending to. As previously said, a 80 USD ride + drinks + surprises expense record had to be cashed out if I wanted to proceed, but I mean, last day of the year? In Zanzibar? Let’s fucking go. Aaand it was…complex lol. Picture a massive amount of americans/russian/scandinavian tourists in a beach with many opened bars and dance floors. Now picture huge handsome african muscled guys trying to get game with the previous nationalities AND beautiful african women hunting the old but not the poor. And myself dancing with my beer. ALL the africans can dance like incredible. It was so crowded that it was basically impossible to get any drink at any of the bars, meaning that I had only one bloody beer in all night thanks to Yussuf’s skills. At the end I was actually able to talk a lot with him, he told me a bit about his life, his dreams, his ideals. The music was nice, people was alright, I did have fun and learned quite awesome african dancing moves courtesy of Yussuf’s lads, but at the end, I was back in the bed of my hotel at 3:00 am, exhausted, alone and fucking sober. -Well, bring it 2017- I said and went to sleep.

The next day, totally fresh and without a hung over, I was ready to explore other exotic spots of the island and with Anuar at the wheels, (the driver of the hotel that also became a good friend) I went off to the national forest park of “Kichwele”; a 50 km squared area that is home of fauna and flora specimens like the unique Colobus red monkey, the only monkey that has 4 fingers and no thumb. Also, host of unique type of plants and mangle trees that would divide the salty and sweet water parts as well as protect the island from natural disasters. Clever nature as always. A magnificent show only possible to appreciate if you truly open your eyes and not mess with the badass crabs that hide on the trees. We proceeded to go to a spot called “The Rock” on the south eastern part of the island; specifically speaking, a boutique hotel called “Upendo” where I had probably the most delicious and juicy octopus of my life, including a bloody awesome beach that was host of coral reefs, cute star fish and a zillion deadly sea urchins.

As I arrived and as you will appreciate in the pictures, the water level was quite low at the shore, like at the ankles, so it was like if the sea had some kind of “pools” and the water actual level increased at like 60-70 m away from the shore, it looked amazing! and my oh poor naive and stupid head did not understand why. But did later. I started walking to the sea, saw many cool sea species, was careful to not step in any of them and when I arrived to the “dry” area, I noticed that the sand was very muddy and sticky, it felt like Play-Doh, but couldn’t care less, swam a little bit, took cool pictures and then I realised that the “dry” area was slowly decreasing, i.e. water override, double i.e. the tide was increasing, maximum i.e. fucking sea urchins ready to attack on the way back. So as the reliable and effective problem solver engineer I am, I freaked out, ran for my bag, kept the phone on the hand and tried to get to the shore as quick as I could. Water level was above my belly button, it was not possible to walk, neither to swim without screwing the recently obtained 800€ phone. Legs shaking, evaluating all options, and the only one was to die with honor. -This is it, this how I go, this is the end, POSEIDON HELP MEEE!- I said to the Indic Ocean, as the urchins were prepared to fire at will with the minimum friction. It initially took me 8 minutes to get from the shore to the sea. 55 min for the way back. There is a restaurant at the top of the rock where you can appreciate the view, including the disgrace of a stupid tourist like me about to be drown in poisonous darts. But life was amused and gave me the skill to get to the shore, safe, sound, with no harmed sea species or coral reef and with a dry phone. Nothing like high adrenaline to feel alive uh? It was actually fucking exciting and fun.

The thing impressed me the most of this place was again the people. Everybody seemed to be happy, wether working had at the docks, or the farms or playing football at the sea. Or taking a bull into the sea just because it was hot and wanted to give cool him off. Every single time a local would look at me, they would notice I was not from around but would say hello. ALL of them. -Jambo!- to what I said -Poa!- which is “all cool” and they smiled back.

I also noticed that everybody would share what they could share, no matter who or what it was. Sharing indeed was the key part of this place. A gentleman in particular in charge of the bar of the villa; his name is Daoudi, originary from “Mbea” on the land side of Tanzania. Fervent fan of Manchester United like me. We talked everyday prior breakfast and on the afternoons for some minutes about hobbies, family, football, some dreams, some jokes. He expressed he always wanted to learn new languages including spanisg and asked if he could read some lines of the book I had with me, just to know what spanish looked like. He finished the introduction and incredibly managed to understand the general idea of it, for which he was very excited about and couldn’t stop smiling. Ladies and gentlemen this was a moment in my life where I was able to presence a person developing new dreams and will, I could tell just by looking at his eyes. -How do you pronounce that? What is this letter? It’s like italian mixed with some english and french isn’t it? Teach me!- he said, and at the same time he would teach me more swahili sentences. Just bloody brilliant. I forced myself to finish the remaining 135 pages of the book and decided to give it to him, and not because of pity or tenderness or shit like that, it was because I had a brilliant lad in from of me willing to learn and gain knowledge, to expand his mind and was knocking on the doors. Why would I stop him? Why would I actually not help and do what I can to push him forward? He smiled and hugged me twice when I gave him the book just before I left to the airport. -Until the next time, I will not forget you my friend, thank you- he said. Shit, I cannot remember the last time someone looked at my ugly face in such a happy way. Until the next time indeed bro.

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Mr. Daoudi

The mythical door of Zanzibar, the house of Freddie Mercury, the hungry mosquitos and the amazing and crazy tropical weather. The Zanzibar Juice, the king fish with coconut sauce and green banana, exotic precious blue stones and the happy african music on the streets. The mango trees, the beautiful moon, the staggering sunsets and the smell of the rain. The smiles of the people despite any condition. The new friends. I honestly felt I was leaving my home and one or two emotional tears were shed as the plane was taking off to Jordan. I will come back, I have to. All these emotions that were flowing just reminded me that life could be very VERY rough but it’s ALWAYS worth to try being kind everyday, to share what one has, to truly listen and to be grateful of the life we live in. Emotions that reminded me that my blood is african.

Hakuna matata!

The moroccan sub-saharan abduction

Morocco, north Africa. I cannot even describe all the emotions I went through as I was landing for the first time at the African continent. Excitement rushing through my veins without having the minimum idea of how it was gonna be. The first thought I had when I went out the menara airport in Marrakesh was: -where the fuck are the taxis and the buses?-. There was only people picking up other people, no taxi signs, no bus coming soon. Plenty of luck I had when I found two lads that were going to the same hostel I booked, so off we went to the old city center of Marrakesh or Medina. The hostal called “Kif Kif” is located right in the heart of the city. The hostal crew received me with a delicious chi red tea and some biscuits, the place has a lovely and cozy lounge full of cushions, shishas and colours. Just brilliant, I highly recommend it. It was already late in the evening but I took a walk to get familiar with the area; all the locals of the main market were closed, and to be honest at first sight the area looks quite creepy and spooky, with wild cats hunting, but despite the looks, it’s fairly safe to walk anytime and for some reason I thought -I think like this place-.

With Redoian at kif kif.

The mission of day two was to go to the capital city Casablanca, go to the senegalese consulate and get a pre-visa to enter the country. Oh Internet what an epic fail you did this time. According to bloody Wikipedia and other websites, it was possible for Mexicans to process electronically a pre-form, arrive at the airport in Dakar and enter the country. This website was down for several weeks before and according to some Dakar airport information exchange, the instruction was to go to Casablanca to do such “fast and easy” process. Wrong. As I arrived to the consulate, a tall and fancy dressed senegalese guy in charge said to me that the only way to enter was by official confirmation directly from Senegal, and to do so, my passport and other stuff had to be sent to Senegal and I had to wait at least 3 months to maybe obtain an answer. -Do you have your yellow fever vaccine? Did you book your tickets already?- he asked. To what the answer was -yes, I’m flying in 3 days to Dakar-…-well I don’t think you are, I’m sorry, we cannot do anything-. I was a bit sad, yes, a bit pissed, yes, but I didn’t argue or anything, I’m a guy who likes to think that life always gives us signals, that sometimes it’s a “feck yeah go for it!” But sometimes it’s a “nope, sorry mate, knock on the next door!” And that’s exactly what I did. As I was telling my story with a totally rusty French to the taxi driver, he said in French-don’t worry Mexico! Morocco will make you smile- and he drove me around the main avenues of the city before going back to Marrakesh. Fairly cool city I must say. 

Casablanca, the Atlantic and the biggest mosque in Africa

With limited communication with the staff of momondo due to the Xmas break, I did have a tiny panic attack on the train back to Marrakesh, but my head cooled down and the worse that could happen was to book a flight to Spain (since it was cheap) and then find the way back home, but as said, life is wise and I found a 48 hrs flight to Tanzania with two 12 hrs lay overs (including Spain). The momondo team responded effectively to my Mexican S.O.S. call and my trip was on again, with some extra days to enjoy Morocco. Wise indeed. 

I spent the 3rd day wandering around the market, the main square Jemaa el-Fnaa, the mosques, parks and gardens of the city, like the famous Jardin Morelle, which by the way is infested of Mexican vegetation. And of course, discovering the local moroccan cuisine like the tagine, some brouchette and an orgasmical avocado + banana milkshake. I must add that there are zillions of tiny motorcycles used to move around the market and the center. I honestly felt the muppets so close that I thought once or twice my Sir William Wonka was gone for good. All good fortunately. 

Mosque

Snailsss
Jemaa el-Fnaa
Market
Jardin Morelle
Palace side

Tagine

I must add that as I was walking back to the hostel, I was on a big avenue, then thousands of police men blocked the street and were standing as if the president would cross by. Black BMWs and Mercedes-Benz and police cars driving on the street and people gathering on the sides. -what the hell is going on?- I thought. The king of Morocco, smiling and waving to the people as the people clap and smile. No pictures though cuz a police guy looked at me strangely when I wanted to take out my phone, better not to take the risk. 

At the hostal I met very cool people from all over the world that actually advised me a thing or two of how to spend my renaming days in Morocco. 

Romania, Germany, Italy and Australia

An excursion to the Sahara passing through the Atlas mountains and other spots of the desert was facilitated by the hostel and as an Australian lad showed me his photos of the stars while at the desert, I didn’t even hesitate. Three days of adventures through authentic Berber villages, Ait Ben Hadou, Ait Audinar, Tudra Gorges and Merzouga at the Sahara, including exotic mint tea, food, camels and a night at a beduine camp. And off I went, with a big smile and hoping I wouldn’t freeze my ass off at the desert. 

Imagine the Atlas mountains pass as all the curves your intestine has. Now picture a moroccan old guy with a kind of Gandalf the white cloth and a grumpy face driving a 16 people van with the same skills of bloody Fitipaldi. Fun indeed, provided you don’t get sick with such curvy adrenaline. Many houses of the villages in this area are built with a special clay mixture so they have the same colour of the desert, which is kind of red or terracotta. Even the ones made of concrete are painted with the same tone. Kasbahs and ancient villages, traditional turbans and people yelling “yala!” Which means “let’s go”. Even snow at the mountains and then red rocks that eventually turned into sand. Do you reckon desert movies and TV scenes of game of thrones, gladiator or Lawrence of Arabia? All in this area too. Plus, the good company of people in the van coming from Spain, Germany, la France, USA and the always present China. I will let the pictures do the job.

Atlas mountains

Berbere tea
Aladdin’s carpet
Tudra gorges

And then the magical Sahara. I honestly felt as if I just landed in bloody mars. Absolute magic. The colour of the sand, the dusk, the sunrise, the camels, the dunes, the wind, the silence, the fire, eight shooting stars. The bloody stars. Damn, it is the most beautiful sky I’ve ever seen in my entire life. All the constellations, the milky way and even other galaxies were possible to see. In such moment I was laying down at the top of a dune, totally thrilled by the effect of our amazing universe and a “special” beduine cigarette. Revelations and statements start running in my head. -I will bloody finish the aeromechanics master, I will live intensely every moment as if it was the last, I will smile and be kind everyday, I will learn, give and I will not let anyone stop me, woooh shooting star! oh shit that’s a big ass star- are just some of the thoughts wandering in my head and my heart. A moment that will remain forever. Thanks for that life. 

After exhausting 12 hrs way back to Marrakesh, I spent my last day walking around the city, drinking mint tea and enjoying the African sounds the main square offers. Exotic monkeys like Abu, dancing cobras, crazy dancers, spices for cooking, for health, for aphrodisiac purposes, and a trillion items to buy at the market. I must add that oh these bloody Moroccans know how to sell you things… and to bargain…and to take all your money…graciously. But even so, this city and the surroundings became an staggering and highly recommended experience. 

Despite my solitude moment at the desert I will finish this post saying yes, the colours, the sounds, the smells and the food granted an unforgettable amount of emotions. But it is the people of the city who made me actually embrace the identity of Morocco and understand a bit of what it means to be moroccan. I met incredible people in this trip, locals and internationals; and it is the people again the one responsible of me wanting to come back and of taking Morocco in my heart, and as I take off the Menara airport, I say to myself:-until the next time Morocco.

In the mean time…Tanzania, here I come.

Yala!

Traveling around and not knowing other people is not traveling; it’s just moving.