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Saturday, July 8, 2017

385: The magic talking fish

Two people very close to me have asked for another blog, so here goes.
Salou port
sorry about the focus - I wanted to emphasize the mountains in the background as well as the hotels at the water's edge.
I arrived in Salou, my new 'base of operations' just over a week ago. The journey here, from Warsaw, was not without incident. We touched down in Barcelona's Terminal 1 about 30 minutes late. Not a problem. No time at all to clear the airport as both Poland and Spain are in the Schengen agreement . I took the free bus shuttle to Terminal 2 and walked along the aerial walkway to the train station. Unfortunately, the little window, where they usually sell train tickets, had the blinds down. I think they were having what I will call a maƱana break. That's a shame, I thought to myself, as there is a train waiting to leave. I approached a ticket machine with some trepidation. There was an option to get instructions in English, which I pounced on with relish. What there wasn't was a destination called Salou. I think the machine was just for destinations local to Barcelona. I bought a ticket to Barcelona Sants and turned to watch the train pulling out of the station. 30 minutes to wait for the next one. Never mind, time for una cerveza while I waited. As I was boarding the train I noticed that the little window had its blinds up and was again open for business.
Unfortunately again, when I got Barcelona Sants there were approximately 3 minutes to change to the Salou train and I had no ticket. Of course, by the time I bought the ticket that train too had left. Only 90 minutes to wait for the next one. Hey ho.
By the time I got to my little flat in Salou I was more than ready for an early night. 
Since then I've been soaking up the sun most days. My kit arrived from Warsaw at midnight on Monday evening. Yes, midnight. Most of it is unpacked now and has been chucked haphazardly into any old drawer or cupboard for later sorting out. The 17 boxes of various sizes, 2 holdalls and 1 sun lounger all arrived safely. A bargain at 1,000 Euros. Have a look at the Dutch auction on clicktrans.pl if you ever want to have stuff moved across Europe.
On Tuesday I ordered a unit from Carrefour online to hold the PC and printer. None of your Amazon next day delivery option here. It was shown as 3-5 working days and the tracking status still shows "order being processed". I do hope they can finally get a wiggle on as I'm flying back to UK on Thursday.   
The weather changed today and we've had rain and some thunder. Apparently the rest of Spain, where the rain falls mainly on the plain, has already had it for the last day or so. Here in Salou I have been enduring 30 degrees most days. 

I'm reading an interesting book by Bill Browder, who was the driving force behind Hermitage Capital Management. It is called Red Notice (How I became Putin's No. 1 enemy). He has lots of stories and anecdotes and I was particularly amused by the Russian proverb about a Magic Fish. "One day a poor villager happens upon a magic talking fish that is ready to grant him a single wish. Overjoyed, the villager weighs his options - maybe a castle, or a thousand bars of gold..... As the villager is about to make his decision, the fish interrupts him to say there is one important caveat: whatever the villager gets, his neighbour will receive two of the same. Without skipping a beat the villager says 'in that case, please poke one of my eyes out'."