My name is Gaz and I am a teacher.
It’s rather a weird thing since I was such a massive soft serve turd of a student. For some reason though, I’m pretty damn good at my job… nah… fuck it… I’m fucking AMAZING at it!!!
Anyway, I teach children and teenagers, which at first is somewhat intimidating. I’ve done some shit in my life, but standing in front of a full class of Spanish 12-year-olds can make any persons palms sweat (well, especially if you’re a catholic priest, but that’s an entirely different story, for an entirely different day). Something you may not know about the Spanish, is that they are, hmmm, how shall I put this, uh, somewhat FUCKING RACIST!!!! Not in the offensive North Pretoria ‘Apartheid never ended donker sleutel, get back to work’ sorta way, but more, ‘I’m Just an ignorant prick’ sorta way.
Angry ’cause it’s over.
I mean, really, get with the goddamn program, we have seen enough to get over the whole race bullshit already!!! No? It’s just me??? Well fine then…
So… there I am, taking this class, introducing myself to these kids, and I have this routine, see. I play a game of hang man, with my name as a subject of the game. Once they’ve guessed my name, I ask where it’s from, eventually they guess that it’s from Ireland. Great! Well done you stupid little cocksuckers… whoops, I really don’t know where that came from!! Next, I get the little snot smugglers to guess where I’m from… America… Nope… Spain… ??? Really!!!! SPAIN!!! DO I LOOK SPANISH???? Nope… Australia …. Yes … Really? NOPE!….
You get the idea….
Eventually I get them to guess South Africa. They never believe me. And often for the same reason….
‘You’re not black… How can you be from South Africa?’
So, this is supposed to be about smoking, and it is. It is about smoking in Spain, which is pretty damn awesome. And this is exactly the reason I started with the background that I chose. You see, having moved to Spain to escape the bitter in the mouth and the sharp stab in the chest that Jozies is to me, I was initially gobsmacked by Spain. Reeling from the crisis, it had the sense of hard times, but not as grand hard times as you’d expect, more like the hard times of waking up from a siesta and not feeling like going to work.
Seriously!!! Talk about walking down the road to work at 10:00 (yeah, I start classes earliest at ten o’clock… I’ll let you process that for a bit…) and seeing people drinking beer at the street cafes… Yup, fuck that crisis shit, I’m a drink a motherfucking beer BITCH!!!
I was pretty charmed; it really seemed I had found some like-minded individuals… And this was all before I had investigated their cannabis legislation. That was when I really fell in love. You see, Spain has decided that all this nonsense of a war on drugs helps no-one, and much like her neighbour Portugal did a few years back, Spain has decriminalised cannabis, allowing for any treatment to be healthcare based and not criminally based. Is that so fucking hard? Why, when the drug debate rages, do people have to lump in all the other drugs in with cannabis? If we simply look at the various effects, they are in no way comparable, but this is not the place for this discussion.
The bottom line is that it is legal to grow and legal to smoke. It is not legal to buy or sell. This is fantastic, especially if you’ve been here for long enough to be able to grow. It is not so good if you haven’t been able to grow, because it is near to impossible to find some beautiful clean green supreme for sale.
Hash is everywhere, but not so much the green.
And now we get to the crux of this here novel.
The older I get, the more nerve-wracking it becomes to hook up a new supplier. I think it’s because I look like a narc.
Undercover Narc much?
Shaved head facial hair and a fondness for chinos, button ups and sunnies don’t really help the image. So what, I’m in my thirties, I like chinos. Living in a country that doesn’t speak English doesn’t help. Doing this sort of transaction in my broken Spanish would probably make for a good candid camera.
Fortunately, I managed to make a connection. A somewhat intimidating looking Moroccan with what we will term as fair to moderate amount of tattoos. By which I mean a fuck load… an absolute fuck load. This guy is pretty fucking scary looking, just in case I under sold that.
The first time I went to hook up I was dressed in my narcish best. I got to his building and texted him.
‘Sube’ ( pronounced Sue-beh)
Huh? I texted my wife, who speaks Spanish, and she translates it as increase. Huh?
‘Hola amigo… yo no hablo mucho Espagnol… Que es sube?’
So I do. Up I go. The lights don’t work, the building’s dark, getting slightly nervous now. I climb the stairs, one flight, two… There’s a door that’s partially open and light is spilling out into the musty and dark stairwell. I walk towards it like a man in a desert drawn to an oasis.
I reach the door and behind it is the aforementioned Moroccan. We greet each other and he asks me a question, which I don’t understand due to my aforementioned lack of Spanish. He pushes past me and closes the door. Not sure if that was a glare or if he just always looks pissed off. He asks me how much I want. I understood something!!! I tell him how much.
And then he pulls out a knife. As in a knife the size of which would probably be appropriate to pull out after saying ‘you call that a knife?’ He turns on the gas stove and starts heating it up. Did I mention that I was nervous? Well at this point I was slightly more so.
It was at that point that I noticed that the thing on the kitchen counter wasn’t a chopping board but rather it was big block of hash. And that was when the scary Moroccan took the now well heated scary knife and chopped off a chunk for me. Didn’t even weigh it. I wasn’t going to ask him to either… He did have a knife after all.
And so I went home, no longer nervous, but excited. Something of a spring in my step you might say.
And that’s where I’m going to end, with the thought that no matter where you are, when you hook up for the first time after any significant absence, it immediately puts a spring in your step, a bit of zest to your life, and that alone will always take me back. It will always take me back to rain drenched, hot sunny, evaporating steamy streets of Jozies. Spring stepping from the hook up to the smoke up in one of the many different places that I loved to smoke at around that bitter-sweet city