Today is Sunday. I am in a good mood. However yesterday, for some reason, I was feeling low. I did only 30% of what was planned. There are days when nothing is right. I even got a little scared: will it always be like this? But no, today things look different: either the chemistry in the brain or the body has changed, or a pleasant meeting last night with someone (he is not a gay, by the way, I must say, foreseeing a possible question) helped.
I have not recovered completely from my overseas trip – my sleep got back to normal just a few days ago, and same goes for my ability to work. My thoughts are often elsewhere – in the countries I recently visited. They have changed my life and approach to life, and that despite my age and previous vast life experience. And that’s great! That means I have not lost the ability to feel like a young person, I can still change and am still full of admiration for beautiful things!
Now even places in Cairns, my Australian home town, seem to me brighter and more exciting.
Yesterday, I set the goal to start preparing my tax return. I planned to complete it in two days: yesterday and today. I do it once a year and just hate it. Figures, receipts, explanations … Calculations … I do it of course, forcing myself. However, I always have a nasty feeling that I could spend my time much better, watching films, reading books, speaking to my friends… Nevertheless, I reason myself: it is my civil duty and is required by the law, and moreover, people, including me, need discipline. So, in the end I do send the materials to my accountant, who finalises them and lodges an electronic tax return with the tax office. A few weeks later I am told if I need to pay more tax or will get a refund because I overpaid. The latter is more pleasant than the former, naturally. By the way, those who have an accountant can lodge a tax return later than those who prepare it by themselves. They were required to lodge it by the end of October for the 2015/16 financial year. In Australia, the financial year begins on July 1 and ends on June 30.
Yesterday I did not have the energy to prepare the tax return, but today I do, so I’ll start soon.
At the same time, I need to prepare for interpreting at a 2-day conference next week in another city (Gold Coast). A new topic and new terms to be learnt…
I’d like to boast a little: despite my mood swings, I try to update every day, even a little bit, my main websites-blogs and social media, such as Twitter, Facebook and Instagram. I hardly ever watch TV, and I rarely read newspapers. I get information mostly online, and social media are an important resource: good choice, and more objective information after all. And you can find so many things there! I’m sure you know it from your own experience.
And now I want to share some IMPORTANT NEWS.
Queensland’s Parliament last week apologised to the hundreds of men who were convicted in the past of gay sex offences in the state.
The Government also introduced a bill on Thursday to allow people to apply to have their historical convictions expunged.
Gay relations were decriminalised in Queensland in 1991, with 464 people charged with offences up to that date.
Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk told Parliament too many innocent people had suffered because of the discriminatory laws.
Justice is being restored, the inadequacy of the legislation that was in force with regard to gays is recognized. This is a big victory for the LGBT community of our state. And not only our state, but all of Australia, and all over the world. This is a great victory for all progressive people on the planet.
Now I will briefly comment on the recent presidential elections in France. Primarily in relation to LGBT people.
I’m glad that it was Emmanuel Macron who won the election in France, and not Marine Le Pen. Whatever they might say about him, he is a progressive person and will never fight against gay rights, in particular, the same-sex marriage legislation. This law, just to remind you, was adopted when François Hollande was in power. No matter what somebody might say about him, I consider Hollande a competent politician and a man deserving respect. If Marine Le Pen had won, she would be fighting against gays and for repealing the same-sex marriage legislation. This would be a monstrosity.
And now I want to finish my story – I need to do other things as well. Other topics I would like to comment on are the plight of gays in Chechnya, the latest gay events in Cairns, the ongoing work to get the same-sex marriage law adopted in Australia, etc. Please allow me to do it next time.
Am having a lazy Monday, which is a public holiday in my State of Queensland – Labour Day. And I wish to share with you something funny relating to my recent trip.
One of the hosts, from whom I rented a room in a Spanish city through a gay accommodation system, left the following review of me in English (he gave me three stars out of five, by the way):
“Vadim seems to be a very nice person once you know him, however during the period of time he was hosted in my house we have not talked a lot. He was all time out of the house and he just came in to sleep.
He is a quiet and respectful person”
The host is 27, and I found him handsome and attractive when I arrived at his place. Before that, he was full of excitement when we corresponded and even wrote at the end of one of the messages: “Abrazos fuertes” (Big hugs). He was friendly, very interested in me, and gave me explanations about the city and local attractions. We also shared some other info: work, nutrition, interests, etc. It was a long and interesting conversation. I also asked him about the local gay life. He said it was pretty boring because the city was very conservative, but there was one gay bar where he invited me to go with him that night. I said yes to that.
Then he said he had to go out to do some shopping and other things. I went out as well to explore the city.
When I came back in the evening (at about 9pm), I saw a guest: a mostly bold, grey-haired, bearded and rather short guy, about 40yo. He was to have dinner (with gambas (prawns)) at my host’s place. Soon he left to buy some wine. My host explained to me that he was his ‘sexual friend’ (f*ck-buddy, as we might call it here). When he came back, those two started an animated conversation basically ignoring me. Judging from the initial few phrases, it became obvious to me that it was their first encounter and they were very horny. OK, not a problem, I went to my room to sleep.
I must say though that after that I no longer found my host handsome and attractive, and sincere, however I was always polite to him.
The following morning, I got up at about 6am, had a shower, breakfast, did some blogging and emailing, and left at about 9am, when my host was still asleep in his room. The day was full of tourist activities for me, and I came back at the same time, i.e. 9pm. And I saw another guy, another ‘sexual friend’ of my host. OK, not a problem, I went to my room to sleep.
The following morning, I got up at about 6am, had a shower, breakfast, did some blogging and emailing, and left at about 9am, when my host was still asleep in his room. The day offered more tourist activities for me, and I came back at about 10.30pm. The host was alone, very busy with some urgent work. OK, not a problem, I went to my room to sleep.
The following morning, I got up at about 6am, had a shower, breakfast, did some blogging and emailing, and left at about 8am, when my host was still asleep in his room. The day offered more tourist activities for me, and I came back at about 8pm. The host was tutoring a boy in literature or something like that. No time for me of course. OK, not a problem, after some blogging and emailing, and packing my bag in my room I went to sleep.
That evening I only managed to say to my host that I would be leaving early the next day, and thanked him for the room. When on the following morning I left at about 8am he was still asleep.
Now you probably understand why I was amused by the review.
In March this year (10/3) I visited a tourist village called Ville d’AX les Thermes, which is located in France, on the border with Spain, and where we stopped on the way to Andorra. It is a mountain ski resort with lifts. At the same time, it is a mineral water resort. They have a large pavilion there, where the entrance is for a fee and where you can have some procedures in style and under supervision. In several places of the village, there are also small pools with lukewarm and really warm water, where anyone can immerse their feet (recommended for up to 15 minutes) and which are completely free. Together with some tourists from our group, as well as with some residents and guests of the village, I did this, and received a boost of energy and health. I saw a few good-looking guys there (particularly skiers) and even took pictures, but unfortunately they were taken against the sun, and the quality is poor, so I am not going to publish them. As for food, it is there everywhere (cafes, restaurants, shops). Healthy, and not so.
And here are some photos to give you an idea of how this place looks like:
I am gradually recovering after a long trip. Am browsing my photo archives. I have decided to periodically publish some stories and photos relating to some of the places I visited recently.
Here’s my account of the Montserrat tour.
The official name of the tour (9 March 2017) was Early Access to Montserrat. We were supposed to meet at 6.50am at Plaça Catalunya, Barcelona. There was a small delay with the bus, so we bought some coffee, chatted with our lovely bilingual (Spanish and English) guide Sacha and amongst ourselves, the tourists. Finally, we got on the road, and headed towards the Montserrat mountains, to the monastery called Santa Maria de Montserrat Abbey. It is about 50km away from Barcelona. Thanks to an early start, we avoided crowds and were able to enjoy the early morning which was magic at the mountains. The monastery is an impressive site, has a few large buildings, and you could visit the basilica with the famous black Madonna, a museum with paintings by El Greco, Dalí, and Picasso, and other wonderful works of art, and even taste good wines produced at the monastery. The Boys’ Choir is one of the oldest and famous in Europe, and we saw their videos and listened to their recordings. I managed to have a ride at Funicular de Sant Joan (a very steep train), and enjoy the views at the top. There are lots of other things you could do there, including hikes, but we were pressed for time – the tour was to finish at about 2pm at the same Plaça Catalunya. It was an unforgettable day, and I would like to come back to explore it even better sometime in the future.
I was in high spirits after visiting such a remarkable place, and full of energy (also, the fact that the tour finished early helped), and I went to a gay venue where I met some nice guys. I had a good time with them.
And here are some pictures of the tour:
Today is my last day in Spain. Tonight, late in the evening, will fly back to Australia. Moscow saw me off with snow, suddenly it became very cold there. In Barcelona, it was warmer – 16 degrees. My Russian trip was successful – I managed to see my relatives, and of course, talk a lot to my mother. I managed to see some other things, although I didn’t have much time for that. It was great nevertheless. In Moscow, I caught a cold, and am still feeling the consequences. However, I perservered with my tour program in Spain. Visited the charming Cuenca, with views of the gorge and the ancient city itself, with hanging houses, narrow streets and an impressive cathedral. Yesterday I was in Valencia, one of the largest cities in the country. Also liked it. The combination of old and new, interesting architecture, parks … Today I will explore something not far from the charming Barcelona. Spain is beautiful and not expensive, and the Spaniards themselves are nice and friendly people. The food here is excellent. The variety of everything is incredible.
But soon I’ll be heading for Australia. The fifth continent is waiting for me.
I hope to visit Spain and Portugal again, not in the very distant future.
I apologize for the interruprion in communication. On the last day in Portugal, and then during my transit in Spain, I did not have access to the Internet: neither in trains, nor at train stations … It was like a conspiracy. I arrived in Moscow on Monday and was a bit unwell initially. But now I have access to the Internet- I bought a local SIM card.
I liked Portugal: Lisbon is a beautiful city, with signs of the former colonial grandeur. I also visited the charming Sintra, a city of palaces, and, by the way, Byron’s favorite place. I was in transit in Madrid and visited, for a couple of hours, the Prado Museum: as usual, I was deeply moved by the Spanish art: Goya, Velasquez, El Greco… In Moscow I communicate spend most of my time with my mother: we were very happy to see each other after one year.