40 Days

40 Days

What, you may ask, is it like returning for a summer visit (Canada) from my country of residence (Spain)?

It’s that time of year, where work comes to a close, where chaotic life pushes me to the limit just to see how far I can go without having a nervous breakdown. I experienced some episodes of crisis and victory prior to going on vacation for the summer. When I found out that my colleagues and I had to work a full day instead of a half day for the first two weeks in July, which was promised to us from… the beginning of time (!), I got so upset that I didn’t know how to handle it. That was the crisis. Life went on and I still haven’t dealt with it. The victory was that I saved some doh on not going to community swimming pools everyday for two weeks, as very eagerly planned. The second crisis was when we had to work like dogs due to low personnel those two weeks, but once those two weeks finished I was on vacation and headed to Canada. It feels good to look forward to returning “home” for 40 days. Especially when you know you deserve it after a hard year of working non stop.

So what’s it really like going back home for a visit? I go every summer, so it doesn’t seem like it should be anything new, but it’s refreshing every time. I need a change in scenery every so often, and this year I was overdue for one because I usually go on a side trip in the winter somewhere in Europe.

The moment I step of the plane, everything, from scenery to how people look and talk to public service is different. It all makes a significant impact in my sensitive mind. Is this what Culture Shock is? But wait a minute, “culture shock” in my own home country? Yep. Some of the most extreme culture shocks I’ve ever experienced has been right here in my own Canadian town and NOT in another completely different country.

But since I’ve got 40 days in this country as a visitor, I’ve got time to write more posts about this topic đŸ™‚ Besides, it’s not something that can be covered in one sitting.

Stay tuned!

Signing off-

Shamim Sobhani



3 Canadians in Valencia

3 Canadians in Valencia

Where would 2 Haligonians and a Quebecois go for a 3 day vacation? My cousins and I decided to meet up in Valencia to have a good time at the beach and see the city. Two of us live in Spain- Barcelona and Madrid. The other came down from Halifax, NS, to cover some soccer games in Madrid (he’s a sports journalist). Read my post for a larger than life experience.

A tip: DO rent bicycles if you like cycling. We got to see the entire boardwalk from coast to coast, the marina full of boats and even some country/farm life outside the touristy parts of the city. There are bike trails and the scenery is amazing, plus it felt exhilarating to let go of my hair and cycle away without a worry in the world. We rented our bicycles from a kiosk at the beach, which is the only bike agency there. 9 Euros/ day or 7 Euros/ 4 hours. We chose the day. We hauled our bikes up the tiny elevator in our Airbnb to leave overnight. Soooo worth the bike rental.


Our Airbnb was cheap and point on value because of its central location. We would have paid at least 20 Euros more had we gone to a cheap hotel in a similar type of location.

For food we ate at Casa Montaña. Typical Spanish food – good – and the service our waiter gave us was much better than any other Spanish restaurant we’ve been to and he spoke good English. It’s the type of place where you pay a little bit more than average in exchange for slightly small portions of food, but it was good quality food and since it was rated high with many reviewers on Yelp we let it go. The potatoes were quite fresh and from a “good” farm. The bar is located in a nook a few minutes walk from the beach.

The other place we liked is called Restaurante Alma. It’s located on calle Franca 58. We Yelped “paella” and we found that restaurant. It’s known as L’azud on Yelp. We telephoned them and ordered 3 paellas for takeout. When we arrived we had to wait 15 minutes longer than expected, but when they brought us our food, to our surprise they added real knives and forks because they didn’t have plastic ones. Our host also gave us free cans of Coke. The hospitality was out of this world. I’ve never experienced such detailed attention to costumers in Spain, ever. We took our paellas to the train, and after our knives were confiscated from us at the police control, we scarfed down the grub. It was delicious.

There’s an ice cream shop called Grasol on Calle de MediterrĂ¡neo next to the beach. I haven’t had ice cream this good as far as I can remember! The two flavors I asked for were Banana split and chocolate.

We didn’t forget to go to the City of Arts and Sciences on the last day. It’s worth going there if only to see the exterior part of the buildings.

On the way back there was a train strike which meant the cafeteria was closed and the tv nor music was working. So, I happened to have extra water and an extra can of coke with me. When one of my seat mates found out about the strike she almost dropped her jaw to the floor and didn’t know what she’d do with her life without water. I offered her my extra water bottle and she took it gratefully. I also gave my extra coke to what looked to be a university student and he opened it and took a sip in an instant. Glad I could be of some service during this untimely train strike!

All in all, us 3 Canadians enjoyed our stay in Valencia. Everyone needs a little vacation at some point!

Signing off –

Shamim Sobhani