In Madrid

I somehow managed to get a room at a hotel that’s located right in front of Madrid’s largest bookstore. This wasn’t intended but since the city is suffering from a major heatwave, it’s just as well. I spent two delightful hours browsing through the store’s four floors and have now camped out in my room with food, two liters of celery-cucumber juice, and [I’ll never reveal to anybody how many] new books.

Traveling is definitely better as one gets older. The first time I was in Madrid I was 25 and I was tortured by the feelings of self-consciousness and the fear of looking stupid. It’s really great to lose all that sorry baggage. Of course, there must be people who always felt comfortable and secure. Freaks.


By the way, in Montreal I discovered nail dipping, and I’m absolutely loving it.

The nails stay looking like this for a whole month, no matter how much you cook or swim in salty water. My nails actually started growing because of this technique, and it never happened before.

They have sparkly colors, too, and they keep sparkling for weeks.

Favorite Places

I have great instincts, folks. If I hadn’t decided, completely on a whim, to get into Basque literature, I would have never discovered San Sebasti├ín, which I now love more than any place in the world, including Naples, Florida.

So now my favorite places in the world rank as follows:

1. Donostia, Euskadi

2. Naples, FL

3. Montreal, Quebec

4. Regensburg, Bayern

5. The town where I currently live, and it would rank higher if it weren’t for the atrocious climate. If it had the climate of Donostia, I’d put it at 3 (sorry, Montreal, but that’s how it is until you do something about the traffic and the atrocious public transportation prices. Shame on you for having worse public transportation and worse public services than my little town in the Metro St Louis area).