smooth criminal

I sweat.

And smile. Because I’ve just had a shower. And now I need another one. It’s that hot. I am in Spain, sat on a baking plastic chair outside our no-cold-water-in-the-shower-sometimes-but-croissants-available-for-breakfast-sometimes budget hotel as I feel the cool fingers of my newlywife Beauty on my back.

“We did it, Dan. We’re in Spain.”

I smile and join her on my feet. By which I mean, each on our own feet. My feet are not big enough to hold us both,. Though they are pretty big. And pretty pretty, according to my Jamaican mom, who cooks meals as big as my feet. And as pretty. We are heading into the city and have just crossed over to beachside when I have a thought.

“Huh. We just jaywalked.”


I smile.

“This is the first time I’ve been abroad and to Not-Canada for 10 years, so this feels really, really strange. I keep comparing everything here to Canada in my head.”

I smile again, and look at Beauty.

She’s giving me a look that says I may have already compared Spain to Canada lots of times already. And we arrived yesterday. I move on.

“In Canada it’s illegal to cross the road, but here it’s not. It’s nice to know we’re not criminals.”

“Unlike this guy.”


“Beauty points to a chilled out bloke sat on the kerb getting an unnecessary tan. I am confused but distracted as I see a grey polystyrene board with a zillion shades sticking out of a zillion holes on it. It’s homeless! Unguarded! Free! Free shades! I am looking for a cool one to take when No Need To Tan suddenly stands and runs over.

Beauty pipes up.

“Dan, in Not-Canada countries you often get Africans illegally selling sunglasses, and wearing a lot of hats.”


We carry on walking, and are helpfully shepherded by a street waiter to a posh restauant where I eat my first paella and Beauty tries to make me call it ‘pie-eh-ya’. I refuse, before suggesting a city amble. Beauty agrees, and is teaching me Spanish words for ‘ice cream’, ‘dangerous’ and ‘nutella’. as we angrily refuse to be helpfully shepherded into restaurants every ten feet when we hear shouting. a policiaman has shoved a man wearing a lot of hats against the wall. Spaniards flee the scene, as we stare with tourist-y glee. It’s like watching an Italian gesture and say ‘pastrami’ or watching a Brit not complain to a waiter. More policia arrive, and one viciously destroys his grey polystyrene board. Crime. It c

an not be tolerated.

And sunglasses crime is the worst.

We go home and are grateful to not be criminals.

It is tomorrow, and we are finishing bocadillos in a café. Beauty hasn’t paid yet, so heads to the counter, and grabs another bottle of water for the 30 degree heat. We pay, and head off to the beach when I realise something.

“Hang on, why did we just buy lunch? I’ve got these croissants.”

“Croissants? From breakfast?”

I smile. And am an amazing provider.

“Dan, you stole croissants?”

“Yeah. I have done every day.”


“Ah, no it’s fine. It’s a buffet breakfast. Not proper stealing.”

Beauty stops walking.

“Hang on, did that guy charge us for the bottle of water we had with our meal and the one I grabbed on the way out?”

Beauty unravels the receipt.

“Oh no!”

“Ha! Now that’s proper stealing!”

We sigh, and head to the beach, where I refuse to buy one of an African’s many hats. I am approached by another foreigner, and am preparing an uninterested face when I spot what she’s selling.

A picture of some feet.

Beauty translates.

It’s a massage. Oh. I smile. Of course not. But then, Phil Robertson liked his massage in Duck Dynasty…

“I’ll do it!” As does Beauty. Who relaxes with me as our bodies are beautifully battered into bliss.

The masseuse picks up my foot and places it on her lap. And says something Spanish.

“Penelope Cruz. Eva Longoria.”

I look at Beauty, who smiles.


“She was just saying what pretty feet you’ve got.”

I laugh, as the masseuse takes my feet to pleasure town, before rubbing sand into my legs and suddenly saying something.

“de Larrocha. Alicia.”

She frantically finishes Beauty’s feet before putting her hand out for 20 euros (cash. Not 20 random European fellas). I am confused, so put the money in her hand, as she points, and says it again. And suddenly I understand. Hang on… she said…


She grabs the note and scuttles off into the sea.

Oh no!


Paying money for services rendered! What were we thinking???

Now we’re definitely criminals! I warn Beauty, who smiles, and tells me to hide my sunglasses at customs.

I keep my head down.

And hope I make it through customs without them examining my feet.

Although it might make their day.


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