Swearing in the lift and other welcome tidbits

We arrived in Bilbao yesterday, after too many hours of flight. Each time I do intercontinental travel I realise (again and again) that economy class is an insult to human rights. Oh well.

The first word that a Basque person said to us after we arrived was “ostia”, which roughly translates as “fuck”. Imagine Isabel and me loaded with two huge suitcases, a trolley and three handbags trying to find our way out of the airport terminal. We catch the lift to the street level and a guy walks into the lift with us. We push our buttons and, in the few seconds that the trip lasts, the guy makes eye contact and says “ostia” with a smirk, surely discharging his frustration at Iberia after a London-Bilbao flight with no free food. Picturesque welcome.

It is 1 degree Celsius and it’s been pouring since we arrived, more than 24 hours ago now. Most people in the world would probably find this weather appalling, but I think it’s delicious. And they have announced cold and rain for the weekend, so we’d better be prepared. I wanted to buy a new pair of winter shoes today but they didn’t have my size.

What we have bought is a new car, a red Renault Megane. We have had two Renault Clios and we have been extremely happy with them, so repeating with Renault and upgrading model sounded reasonable. It is amazing how car technology improves constantly, very much like computer technology, but since I am not a car enthusiast and do not keep up to date, I only catch glimpses of the latest car tech trends whenever I buy a car, that is, every so many years. For example, all Renault Meganes come now with ABS, multiple airbags and keyless doors and ignition; when I bought my last car, some 6 years ago, some of these features were optional, and some others were not available whatsoever on this type of car.

We have also been learning about the Basque language over dinner with some new friends, which sounds more and more interesting. Both Isabel and I will be learning it soon. And talking about dinner, today we had some jamón ibérico and some Spanish donuts, two of our totem foods, after over a year of abstinence.


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