Saturday, 12 November 2011

I've moved....

Hi Guys,

Had a little rethink about why I'm writing a blog and I feel I can offer my readers more at my new site:

This site is mainly about teaching English abroad. There will be posts on there about teaching English in Seville.

Tuesday, 1 November 2011

Been a long time...

Just over a year since I wrote on my blog. After a hectic year getting married and trying to finish my book 'Teaching English in a Foreign Land' I am now back on the scene with sevillexpat.

Married life in Seville is great. Our wedding went well and the honeymoon in New York was top class. Seville is struggling still with the recession, but the tourists are still piling over here, which is why we've stayed in on this random holiday.

I've finally finished my book and am in the process of sending it out to agencies and publishers. At the moment I have some interest but it's early days. I'm also doing a creative writing course so I will be adding links to my new articles when they get published. My novel is coming along too. Writing fiction is fun and hard but I'm enjoying it.

Anyways, keep watching for news and silly stuff about Seville, any questions then drop me a line.

Sunday, 10 October 2010

U2 at Seville

U2 were amazing live.

The concert was worth waiting for. Almost a year after I bought the tickets, we saw Bono and his crew perform in front of 80,000 fans last week (30th September).

The Estadio Olympico had never seen so many people in a concert before. We had seats right at the top, a bit far from the stage, but we could see everything. It didn’t matter where we were though because the show was brilliant.

Before U2 came on the crowd were in a lively mood, despite the rubbish Interpol support band, and a Mexican wave whizzed round several times.

They came out to David Bowie's Major Tom and then kicked off with Return of the Stingray Guitar.


They played a mixture of classics and new stuff. My best ones were One, Vertigo, Sunday Bloody Sunday, and Magnificent.

Here’s the full playlist.

01. Return Of The Stingray Guitar
02. Beautiful Day
03. New Years Day
04. Get On Your Boots
05. Magnificent
06. Mysterious Ways / My Sweet Lord (snippet)
07. Elevation
08. Until The End Of The World/ Anthem (snippet)
09. I Still Haven’t Found What I’m Looking For / Many Rivers To Cross (snippet)
10. North Star
11. Mercy
12. Happy Birthday / In A Little While
13. Miss Sarajevo
14. City of Blinding Lights
15. Vertigo
16. Relax (snippet) / Crazy Tonight (Remix) / Relax (snippet) / Two Tribes (snippet)
17. Sunday Bloody Sunday
18. MLK
19. Walk On / You’ll Never Walk Alone (snippet)
20. One
21. Amazing Grace / Where The Streets Have No Name / All You Need Is Love (snippet)
22. Ultra Violet (Light My Way)
23. With Or Without You
24. Moment Of Surrender

Seeing U2 live was the best concert I’ve been to so far. The main stage was set out in 360 degrees and had moving walkways connecting to a circular platform.

Bono rarely stayed in the same place, moving from one side of the stage to the other and getting close to the fans, some of whom had queued up three days to get to the front.

Bono picked one lucky Sevilliana from the crowd to dance with him, even I was jealous.

The event was a success, apart from Interpoo, who were poo. There were no problems with the crowd and everyone was in a jolly mood. Friends of mine said they heard the music from the centre of town.

Hopefully, after U2, other large bands will choose Seville. Last year Madonna came. I’m hoping to see the likes of Robby Williams, Coldplay, and perhaps Elton John.

1 + 1 = 4

Yet again, a waiter tried to con us.

We went out for some Saturday night tapas to Casa La Vuida in Calle Albareda. We’d been there a few times before and like the cosy traditional bar which has reasonable prices considering its right in the centre.

The heavy rain kept most people in doors, but we still had to stand at the bar next to a stinking bucket of boquerones – small slender silver fish. I’m unsure why they were on the bar, with their gormless eyes staring at the customers, but they were.

The five waiters dressed in white and red stripy shirts were rushing about taking orders, shouting at the chef (there was only one), and arguing with each other.

‘What’s your problem?’ said our bossy waiter to a new one.


‘Did you ask that man if he wanted ham or fish croquettes?’

‘What are you talking about?’

‘I heard you; you just presumed he wanted ham, didn’t you?’

‘So what?’

‘So what? You know you must give them the option, now go back and ask.’

So there was some tension flying about.

We ate, drank a couple of beers, and asked for the bill.

‘They’ve done it again,’ I said to Chia.


‘How many beers did I have?’


‘What does that say?’ I said, showing her the bill.


I was proud of myself for not getting in a mood with the waiter. I told him I only had two beers and he changed the bill. But there was no apology, no smile, and no tip.

It doesn’t take a maths graduate to know that 1 + 1 = 2. I’d like to believe that the waiter made an honest mistake, but I don’t.

So my advice is check your bills. Spain is in a time of crisis like the rest of the world, but it seems all right that they can try to get one over the rich guiris, if only.

Monday, 27 September 2010

Strike one, Strike two, Strike three, we’re outta there

Grab your loudspeakers, whistles, and pink silly string because it’s time to join the masses and strike. This Wednesday, 29th of September 2010, Spain’s angry, frustrated, and tired workers will take to the streets and cause some grief.

Why is there a strike?

The Huelga General is a strike by the workforce in Spain. The idea is to express the anger and disappointment at the government for social cut backs, lack of support, and failure to initiate a solution to the massive economic crisis in Spain.

Spaniards, and guiris, have had enough of the government taking advantage of the recession and ‘policies’ to rectify one of the worst Spanish unemployment rates in history, almost 7 million.

What have, or haven’t, the government done?

• Failed to create jobs.

• Made it easier for employers to sack staff.

• Reinforced employer’s power to change working conditions, including pay and hours.

• Privatised the management of unemployment.

• Not given guiris free Spanish lessons.

• Taken away terrestrial TV’s rights to show Premiership matches (Officially they lost the rights to Canal plus, but that’s my main sore point)

What can you shout?

NO al despido más fácil y barato! No dismissal easier and cheaper!

NO a la temporalidad abusiva! No to the temporary abuse!

NO a dar más poder a los empresarios! No to giving more power to employers!

NO a la congelación de las pensiones! No to freezing pensions!

NO a los recortes salariales y sociales! No to salary and social cutbacks!

No al Premiership partidos con canal plus! No to Canal plus showing Premiership matches!

How can it affect you?

Officially, about 9% of the population are thought to participate, but there could be more on the day. Buses, metros, and trams may close as well as some shops, gyms, and kiosks. There might be aggressive demonstrators out there looking for trouble, so whatever you do, don’t dress up as President Zapatero and go round trying to shake everyone’s hand. Things could get messy.

Who’s going to strike?

I would, but if I do, then I don’t get paid. This might be why only 9% are going to strike; the situation is tight at the moment. What are your thoughts though? Are you going to join the masses and parade the streets showing your disappointment? Are you going to continue as normal?

This is a photo taken when Zapatero found out he hadn't made the Spanish international team last summer, let's hope he's this gutted tomorrow.

Sunday, 19 September 2010

How long does it take to fry an egg?

It depends how crazy the chef is.

The annual Feria de las Naciones is back in Seville again and running until the 1st of November. We checked it out last night after some tapas at Azabache (where, yet again, I had a row with a waiter), which is just round the corner from the Cathedral.

The Feria had a lively crowd of bohemian spectators, which suited us as there weren’t so many pompous Sevillianos (I was still angry from the tapas bar), and we had a great night, especially after trying Japanese Sake, Greek Ouzo, Australian and Argentinean wine, Asturian Cider, and finally Brazilian Rum.

Every night there are various dance shows, including Salsa, Samba, Tango, and Flamenco, as well as impersonators of ABBA, Elvis Presley, Dirty Dancing, and Michael Jackson.

Last night was the famous ‘Egg Frying Band’ from Africa.

The Five Fryers, as I preferred to call them, were happy go lucky Africans who knew how to play the bongos, dance and entertain the crowd, and, mostly importantly, fry an egg.

After various dances and fire swallowing, the cheekiest of the group set up a mini stove on the craziest of the group’s stomach. He balanced several wooden strips and set it alight. Then they bought out their lovely assistant, or rather grabbed someone from the crowd, and make her fry the egg.

But did she fry it?

Of course she did.

The crowd went wild when the egg was done, but they refused to try it; if it’s not mixed with potatoes in Sevilla, they don’t want to know.
As mentioned before, we had tapas in Azabache. The food was excellent quality, but the staffs were a bunch of losers. When I entered, a chef said to a waiter ‘Look, here comes an American,’ as if I’m American, and as if I can’t understand what you’re saying you muppets. I ignored them, ordered, and enjoyed the meal.

‘I bet they try and rip us off in here,’ I said to Chia before asking for the bill. They did. They’d charged me for a more expensive wine.

‘Sorry, but I asked for this wine, not that wine,’ I said to the waiter, pointing out the cheaper one.

‘Oh yeah, well we didn’t have any of that, so we gave you the other one.’

‘Yeah, but I didn’t ask for that, and the waiter didn’t tell me there wasn’t any.’

‘Yeah, but you drank it, didn’t you?’ Chia took over to stop me exploding.

‘Okay, I’ll charge you for the other wine,’ he said, huffing. When I handed over the money he gave me a dirty look.

‘Have you got a problem?’ I asked.

‘No, and you?’

‘Well, yeah I do actually,’ I said, explaining that I wasn’t a wine connoisseur and someone should have told me about the different wine.

We left without a giving tip, and a sarcastic buenas noches, muchisimas gracias.

How much was the difference I hear you ask?

50 centimos.

It’s the principal.

Tuesday, 14 September 2010


I've never seen so many naked people in all my days.

Back from an excellent all inclusive holiday in Fuerteventura, the Canary Island's second largest and possibly windiest island. We stayed on the South Coast in Jandia, not the liveliest place in the world; this bloke was the only street entertainment we could find.

Why would you do that?

There is over 20km of beach on the Jandia coast, and I've just found out, after returning, that all the beaches are considered unofficial naturist beaches. In other words, if you fancy getting that all over tan then Fuertebumtura is perfect.

I wish I'd known before though. I'd still have gone, but at least I'd have been prepared for glimpses of 60 year old women's frontbums and the odd hanging meat and two veg, not nice after a fried sausage sandwich.

To start with I thought it was funny; I'd only been on a nudist beach once before, in Mazunte on the South Coast of Mexico, but there had only been a few French bare bodies. But as the week past, certain events changed my views. One day we saw a fifty year old man prancing about naked in the sea, but with his seven-year old daughter, or possibly granddaughter, it didn't seem right. On several occasions, mature, and I'm talking very mature, women strolled past with their red raw sagging breasts collecting sand and their frontbums, hairless, reflecting the golden sun.

One thing I didn't understand was why most of the naked people were over 50. It was as if they'd reached and age and thought "Well, I'm old and wrinkly, everyone knows, so why not show all my lines of experience to the world." And I mean all lines. The younger beach goers were happy keeping their clothes on, so why did the pensioners have to show everything? I'm all for feeling free and liberal, but it was strange seeing a beach rammed with fully swimming costumed bathers while the odd naked couple would waltz through, leaving nothing to the imagination.

On the way to the supermarket one morning, which was a short trek along the side of the motorway, I spotted another nudist joint, but this one was behind closed doors.
"I wonder what's over there," I said to Chia as we past a white wall. "Shit, have a look at that." Over the wall was a swimming pool with several blue sun beds dotted about. On each sun bed, catching some early morning rays, was a bum.

That didn't bother me so much, why should it? If the nudists are in an area and want to be naked together, then that's fine. I thought it was odd, but it was my fault for being a nosey parker.

I don't want to sound as though I didn't have a good time, it was the best holiday I've had with Chia and Fuertebumtura has some amazing beaches. I won't go back, not because of the swinging beach balls and glistening frontbums, but there are too many other places to see in this world.

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