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 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.