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The Iberian Horseshoe — A Journey

Part III. South East

A Guided Tour

Steve Porter
Smaller text sizeDefault text sizeBigger text size Add to my bookshelf epub mobi Permalink Ebook MapOporto, Ponte Dom Luis

I was about to get into the driver’s seat of Pedro’s car.

“Ha ha. Do you want to drive? You are not in Scotland.”

I got into the passengers’ seat instead and put on my seat belt. Pedro looked a little offended.

“Do you think I’m going to kill you?”

“What do you mean?”

“Nobody likes to wear a seat belt here. Maybe if you see a police car coming you put it on for a minute.”

“I don’t even think about it,” I said. “I’ve been wearing one since ’83. It’s an automatic reaction.”

“We have the law for a few years. But we don’t like it yet.”

“You mean you still don’t like it?”

“Yes. Do you know Italy is worse? When the seat belt law arrived there, people were wearing T-shirts with a black diagonal line printed on the front.”

Pedro pulled down the designer shades from the top of his head and drove into the sun.

“Don’t you have sunglasses? You need to look like a Spanish.”

“But why would I want to look Spanish when I’m not?”

We were on the highway now heading into Elche. He hit top gear.

“Have you heard that Mazinho is leaving?” he asked.

“Well, I’m not surprised. He looked well past his best the other night.”

Mazinho and I had both signed one-year contracts. Now after only two months in Elche the Brazilian footballer was giving up. The end of my own contract in June suddenly seemed further away.

We were driving through a long avenue of palm trees.

“On your left here is the worst barrio in Elche,” Pedro said.

“It doesn’t seem too bad to me. Okay, the flats look like sandcastles but you will find a lot worse in Edinburgh, I can tell you.”

“But they are full of gitanos,” said Pedro.

“Oh, I see. You don’t like gypsies?”

“Of course not. They are thieves and drug addicts. They are lazy and have no place in a hard-working town like this. They bring horses and chickens into their houses and create a smell. Gypsies don’t like to live in one place and so don’t know how to treat a home or respect a community.”

I felt I had to interject at this point.

“Well. I live in one place for a while and then move on too. But that doesn’t mean I’m anti-social. I am lucky because Spaniards treat me well but I still feel like an outsider.”

Un extranjero?”

“Yes. In English that word can be translated as ‘foreigner’ or ‘outsider’.”

“But un extranjero is not a gypsy,” said Pedro. And with that he changed the subject.

“The putas wait for business on the right there. You call them harlots, no? They will do anything you want. Masturbate you. Suck your cock.”

While questioning some of his views on society I had to admit he had a reasonable grasp of colloquial English.

“It will cost you more if you want to fuck them in the ass,” he added, as we drove into town.

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Copyright ©Steve Porter, 2004
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Date of publicationJanuary 2007
Collection RSSGlobal Fiction
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