First impressions led me to believe he was an eccentric Buddhist. He had a small chunk of hair growing out the back of his head and he wore few clothes. A cultish Warrior-esque leather vest with a Portuguese saying on the back and grass stained earth coloured harem trousers. He placed a thick brass ring in front of me and said, ‘You need to….live!’
Myself and Lucy were enjoying a menu del dia in a back street bar where the streets of stunning city of Cordoba were bare. Locals wisely stayed inside to escape the sweltering 45 degree heat. He strode over to our table with an unsettling amount of confidence, gesticulating and giving advice and how we should carry out the rest of our time on earth.
Whilst we stumbled through the twisting streets, pathetically leaning on walls and sitting on steps to re-capture our breaths we discovered a house which was covered in torn pieces of paper with various undecipherable scribble written on them. There were pictures of Catholic priests and saints and a six inch stiletto heel lodged into the front door and resting on the top of the frame was a small plastic camera with a dolls head bursting out the lens. We mentioned the strange looking abode to him and questioned who would live in such a place, ‘Yes that’s mine.’
He claimed to be the king of Cordoba, there by divine right. That he was a man to follow and he cited one major incident that opened his eyes to the way of the world and put him on the road to righteousness. ‘My life changed forever when something happened to me, I don’t have a scar on me, no physical signs to show you’ he then left it open to suggestion what it was and I asked whether it had been a car crash or a some other kind of near death experience that was the catalyst for him having his third eye opened, ‘No, I got fucked by a man in the ass. After that day I understood how the moon affected the tides and how the earth spun on its axis.’ I did point out that these were well established scientific processes before he had a cock up his arse but he refused to back down.
After our encounter with Dalai Winton we continued to explore the winding streets of an incredibly historic city. Every turn of a corner would reveal a new treasure, be it a beautiful fountain or a painstakingly hand crafted statue or that bloke again who this time just pointed but maintained eye contact until we were out of sight.
The main tourist attraction is accomplished monument the Mezquita, originally a mosque which got hijacked by the Catholic Church and was turned into Catedral. Gaudy pictures of saints cover up the far more impressive Arabic patterns and intricate stone masonry. When King Carlos II found out the church had altered aspects of the mosque he said, ‘You’ve ruined something that was truly unique.’
If you get there before half 10 and you have your shoulders covered it’s free to get in, after it’s a rather hefty eight Euros but you can go with a vest on. You may only show shoulder if you pay. I overhead one disgruntled American tourist as he handed over his money, ‘here’s to funding another 100 years of kiddy fvcking.’
Situated next to the Meszquita are dozens of what can only be described as ‘shit’ shops. Boutiques filled with tat for tourists to take back as souvenirs. There’s nothing that says Cordoba more than an ash tray with a Rasta with a spliff sheaf over his nob, which is retractable. The level of crudeness is down to the owner, the explicitness is your choice. Despite the piles of steaming nostalgic turd the shops still manage to entice you, your forever searching for that one piece of glorious ‘shit’ which tops the rest.
Walking down the narrow and beautiful Calleja de las Flores where roses and honeysuckle adorn the white wash walls I was approached by a man dressed in traditional flamenco attire, he looked me dead in the eye, started to stamp his feet, clap his hands furiously and went ‘oooooooooooouuuuuuuuww’ his intense and intimidating promotion material worked and I signed up to see his show later that night.
The show was like a stripped down and far shorter version of a Mars Volta gig. Lots of high pitch wailing, shaking Latin hips and Spanish guitar licks.
The quaint hostel stood next to the Plaza de la Corredera, one of the most emblematic places of the city. In the 1500’s it was seen as the epicenter of the community where different groups of people could come together to enjoy something we all do, a barn storming beheading. I bought a two euro bottle of rioja, a set of plastic cups and sat myself up on the balcony for a spot of people watching. Across the way was a thoroughly respectable looking elderly gentleman who was watering his hanging baskets, he quickly became bored with this and started to spit on anyone he took a dislike to. A ginger, a black family and a wheel chair bound lesbian. If a member of that family was his final target she would have ticked all the boxes. Like most fascists after releasing his gob from on high he would cower backwards into the safety of his flat, peering over the ledge to check the reaction of the mucus covered victim. Once his saliva reserves had run out he reverted to another form of body function weaponry. As a Japanese tourist walked by he flicked a bogey at her. Cor-gobba.