23 April 2013

Brits Abroad

I had some of the family over to visit a couple of weeks ago (more like three weeks, I've been home to England and back in the time that it's taken me to write this - I'm so lazy). It was strange in the sense that I felt like I was crossing two worlds over (it felt like this the first time Paul visited me in France, too), like I'd been in a dream or a video game or something for the past eight months and I only woke up or came down for tea when I was on Skype or when I went home for Christmas. It was good though, being able to share a life you've built for yourself with some of the people that helped build and shape your life when you were younger.

My Mam, step dad and brother stayed in Salou, which is about thirty minutes away from Tarragona on the bus, but they had managed to book themselves into a holiday apartment during the same week that all of the TOP LADS from all over Britain were celebrating the fact that they will always and forever be deified within their college/university (*see starred point at the end of this post) because they developed their leg muscles enough to be able to kick a ball to each other on a field (it was Sports Tour Week, ladies and gentlemen).

Aside from all the LADS running about the place and getting off their little faces in Pacha, the week I spent with my family was quite pleasant. I showed them around Tarragona (we saw it all in the space of about, oh, two hours... because there is literally nothing here. It's steeped in history but not much else) and then spent a few days with them in their rented apartment in Salou. We each booked a two-day ticket for Port Aventura, which was brilliant and had some excellent new attractions. I used to think that the roller coaster which is visible from my building's roof terrace was the Dragon Khan painted in new colours, but I found out that it is in fact Shambhala, which opened in May 2012:

The hypercoaster (check me out using my Roller Coaster Tycoon lingo - and Wikipedia skills) is the tallest roller coaster in Europe; towering over the tiny 148ft-tall Dragon Khan track at a whopping 249ft (256ft being its highest drop) and leading you on an "expedition through the Himalayas" up and down and up and down, snaking across the entirety of Port Aventura park for a total distance of 5,410ft and ride time of 3 minutes. This is not what I needed after a late night of sangria, rosé wine and dancing to Proud Mary by Tina Turner with my Mam in the middle of an Irish pub the night before.

since the last time I went to Port Aventura when I was 13 (and still in full-swing of my goth phase), they've also added, besides the nausea-inducing humps and bumps of Shambhala, a high-speed roller coaster called Furious Baco, which when we were queuing for it I had no idea what I had let myself in for until I was shot out of the holding area at 83mph in under 3.5 seconds and felt like my eyeballs had been permanently glued open. It was good. 

There's also a brand new attraction called El Secreto de los Mayas where, in the queuing area, you get given your own set of disposable plastic gloves (ooh, aah) and see a lot of people leaving through the exit, all displaying various levels of shock, disbelief and fatigue. What the hell goes on in this place? SPOILER ALERT: Basically, it entails wandering around rooms and hallways full of mirrors (apparently the Mayans' greatest secret was reflective surfaces?) and it almost induced a full-scale vomiting panic-attack on my part because we were so unable to find our way out and I was still feeling ropey from all the sangria I ingested the previous night, although I have to say it was absolutely hilarious to see my Mam try and walk through her own reflection.

We also visited Barcelona and did a few tourist-y things there such as visit Camp Nou, the football stadium, the Sagrada Familia and the Rambla. Here are some snapshots of our time there and a few gratuitous photos of myself because I never post photographs of my own face on here! (I prefer to be on the other side of the camera)

Pure. Misery. And, as promised, some GPOYs! (Gratuitous Picture(s) of Yourself for those of you who aren't well-versed in the language of the blogosphere)
* - I am so inclined, in the wake of the Steubenville rape trial, to describe sports students as being deified because a friend of mine told me that, whilst on a night out in Salou during Sports Tours Week, a girl she knew was injured by a male sports student in a night club. She tried to complain to authorities but the college/university responsible didn't allow her to press charges because they didn't want their name/the name of the team/the name of  the student/whatever it may be to be tarnished with such an occurrence. I thought it was worth mentioning because the Steubenville trial was and still is something I feel very strongly about and I have always, always hated the deification of sports students within their educational facilities and their sheer arrogance coupled with their animalistic TOP LAD culture. So, in conclusion, I feel it is my duty to paste this forever on the internet because that girl was injured and was unable to do anything about it because people these days place too much value on brawn as opposed to some good ol' brain. Peace out.

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