on the road

Written by: jan oskar hansen

On the Road.

The coach from Lisbon to Madrid took about eight hours 
it left at eleven at night; it was full and I had the misfortune 
sitting beside a huge, black Arab who sat talking to himself
when not talking into his mobile phone. 
The bus arrived at six in the morning – one hour difference
between Portugal and Spain, but it felt much longer. 
Madrid is famed as a city of art but the bus terminal is not
one of them… middle aged and old man were milling about 
and looked like losers, like me, who had never been able to 
make enough money to travel in style. Women all wore jeans, 
high heels and expression less faces like robots that hadn´t 
learned to smile. I had just time enough for a coffee before I
 joined the next bus going to Alicante, south of Spain, through 
 a plain, an endless landscape, and lifeless I didn´t see a single 
bull or a grazing cow, nor a sheep. Between Alicante and 
the blue Mediterranean I was met with the unseemly sight of 
thousand upon thousand of houses purpose built for tourism alone. 
The town named La Playa had no centre, like peeling an onion, and 
the official language seemed to be English. Of course there were 
pubs  where elderly singers sang tunes popular in the 1970th
In all fairness it must be said that the sun was shining and people
son the beach taking in the sun, as we live in a society where 
a suntan is a sign of prosperity.  Five days later I took the same 
torturous journey back to Portugal; to a town that as a centre 
and a history that is modest and lacks high drama.