FUDASA AND THE PACMAN SHOP

After walking for about 20 minutes, and turning left where the map showed us we walked up a smallish hill and then I said

“Yes, we found it” pointing to a blue sign arching over a sloping driveway ” The corner shop is right down there”. It was so not on a corner but inbetween 2 houses, however, to us, it was the “corner shop” as it was the nearest shop to our apartment.

We walked down the tiled driveway to the entrance of the shop admiring all the fresh fruit and vegetables under the over lean.

Inside, behind the small counter, was a young Indian lad looking very bored. Bindya started speaking in a mixture of Hindu and Punjabi and the lad soon brightened up. Another Indian man came along and joined in the conversation.

When they stopped conversing I asked

” What did you say?”

” I asked him if he could organise a cab for us if we bought half the contents in the shop and he said not a problem, and if anything, he would drive us home”

” Excellent,” I said walking to the small aisles, “Let`s start shopping.”

Name: PACMAN

Age: 25

Description: Despite his age, balding and a rather round face with a huge silly grin (thus his nickname PACMAN)

Likes: Impressing English girls that he can drive!

Dislikes: Giving away plastic bags for free

Family Status: Soooo single

Job: Pushing buttons into his till and not having much customer service!

After walking around the shop a few times, or baskets were laden with everything we would need to fill our stomachs before a night out on the town.

I chose 2 bottles of white wine (which I didn`t have a clue what type it was as it was all in Spanish) and some Rose for Shona, as well as some cold Fanta and full fat Coke (no diet coke here). Bindya grabbed bread, cheese, butter and long life milk. Shona tried to sort out some coffee and tea (no tea here) and a couple of cartons of juice and Rupy found a lovely looking chocolate cake and 2 no.4 candles to celebrate Shonas 44th birthday.

She also found a pack of 6 eggs for only 2 euros!

” We need some water” Bindya said and went back outside to the array of water bottles piled up on the side. She came back with an 8 litre bottle and declared that this size of bottle should be plenty for us all over the weekend.

” Do you sell cigarettes?” I gestured with my fingers to my mouth. The shop keeper shook his head ” No ” I gasped ” Girls, how many cigarettes do you all have?” Between us, it worked out we had enough to last us until the next day, so that was a relief.

” What type of supermarket / corner shop is this?” I asked Bindya as she piled her goods onto the small counter ” No cigarettes and no teabags, he would go bust in England”.

Rupy had 2 “bags in a bag” which obviously came in handy as a “bag in a bag” usually does, and we asked for one more carrier bag (which he gave to us begrudingly…mind you it was free of charge, I hasten to add) and we filled the bags up.

“Ok, can you get us home now” Shona asked in Punjabi. The lad responded and Shona’s faced looked very confused.

” What did he say?” I asked again.

” He said he can`t drive us back as he doesn`t have a licence”

” What the hell!? He said he could drop us back home” I replied, “Well, can he order us a cab then?”

After some more chatting amongst themselves, Shona told us that he had ordered a cab, so we all sat down in the driveway of the shop and started to swig from the bottle of Fanta.

The house next door had a very load parrot inside which was doing a very impressive wolf whistle. At first it was rather cute, but after the uptenth time, it became rather annoying, so to shut it up I did a rather loud “MEOW”.

There was a pleasant moment where all was quiet, then the parrot started to retort with Meowing!

“Enough of that damn parrot” Rupy said getting up of the small brick wall she was perched on, ” I`m going to see if there is a cab on the road waiting for us” and she disappeared up the driveway. Due to boredom, and to get away from that damn parrot, I followed her and stood at the top of the drive.

” There`s a cab number here” Rupy yelled over to me standing at a nearby bus stop.

I yelled to the other girls ” Rupy has found a cab number”, but I received no response. I walked back down to them,

” So what about our cab?” I asked

Shona went back inside and soon came out looking slightly annoyed.

” He said that there is no cab, and the reason we haven`t seen one bus during the whole day is because it`s the bloody National Catalone holiday and everything stops for the day!”

“Great” we all groaned. Rupy joined us suggesting to Shona to Whatsapp Roberta to see if Madre was free to pick us up.

“No answer” said Shona, ” I`ll text her” .

Two cigarettes & half a bottle of Fanta later, we were still sitting there chatting about the fact that if we had actually walked back to the villa, we would have been there by now and as it was now pushing onto 4 o`clock and we had a busy night ahead of us….we all made the somewhat crazy decision that that is what we all should do….walk back home.

We left the Pac Man`s shop grunting our goodbyes and walked towards the ruined castle.

“If we go this way, behind the ruin, then it will be a bit of a short cut” suggested Shona looking at our faithful map. “It`s slightly more uphill to begin with but then it looks like we will come down on a more gentler slope” We all agreed and carrying all the bags between us and Shona holding the 8 litres of water, we set off.

We walked slowly up the hill that ran behind the old ruins which were once again splattered with graffiti and in the grounds, one of the lions statues was actually beheaded with the head laying abandoned a few metres away from its body. Nice!

A short way up the steep hill, we all stopped to take a breather and Bindya swapped her bags with Shona for the bottle of water Shona had been carrying

“We will take turns carrying the water ” Bindya said.

The four of us continued at a snail’s pace walking passed the occasional house (without any barking dogs) and admiring the architecture, or the beautiful flowers in the gardens but after a while there were no more houses, just bushes either side of us. Finally, we were confronted by a T junction.

“Which way now?” I asked.

Shona looked at her map but at this point it proved quite useless as the map did not show a T junction, but just the road turning to the left.

“I`ll try the map on my phone” said Rupy and typed in the address of the villa. “It`s says we need to go right”

“That`s confusing,” I said, ” That can`t be right going right. The ruins were on our right walking down, so we are on the other side of it so surely we should go left then the ruins will be on our right again, Right? ” All the girls looked at me rather bewildered and laughing Bindya said ” You are confusing, right girls?”.

“Which way then” I asked again “left or right?”

” The map on my phone isn`t always that reliable off road” replied Rupy “Let`s go left like our faithful paper map says”

“Left it is then” said Shona and so we set off down the road with Rupy telling us stories off all the different times her phone map had let her down. After a while, Rupy turned around and saw that Bindya was trailing behind her lugging the 8 litre bottle of water.

“I`ll go back and help her” Rupy said and turned back up the dusty track to help her sister.

Shona and I carried on, now with a quicker pace as the road, or shall I say pathway (as that was what it had now turned in to) was sloping quite quickly. After passing a few abandoned cars, an empty “sports centre” and not much else, we finally arrived at another junction that brought us onto a main road.

” So, which way now?” Shona asked me.

I shrugged my shoulders “I still have a feeling we need to go up towards that way” pointing to a road ahead of us.

“But that is not a main road and this is a main road. Let me try the map on my phone.”

A moment later, the map was saying that once again we needed to go right. “Right it is then” we both agreed, and as there was no path on the corner that we had stopped at, we climbed over the silver metal barrier and started to walk along the roadside that was bending sharply to the right. Rupy and Bindya were catching up with us laughing their heads off. We both stopped and turned around.

” What`s so funny?” Shona asked

“Meet Fudasa” Rupy replied pointing to Bindya who was sweating, huffing and puffing, still carrying the 8 litres of water.

” Fudasa carries clean water for miles every day. She brings clean water to her family as she loves her family and she will do anything for her family as she is a good girl” Bindya was standing there nodding her head in agreement with a ridiculous grin on her face

“You two are crazy” I said “Now let’s cross the road, away from this corner before we all get killed which means no water for Fudasa`s family.”

We crossed the road, which made more sense, because being good British girls who have trekked numerous country lanes, we know that if you have to walk on the road , you should do it facing the oncoming traffic. However, this was no country lane, this was turning out to being a very busy main road with traffic coming from both ways.

“Keep to the left Bindya” Rupy yelled at her “you`re going to get run over”

“Fudasa cant die.” replied Bindya “Must get water home!!”

We tried to flag a few cars down when the road became a little quieter, but no cars stopped. If anything, they gave us a wide berth, looking at us like we were crazy foreign lunatics. A cyclist approached up ahead and was pedalling extremely hard as it was uphill for him.

“Fudasa needs directions, Stop! Stop!” Bindya shouted as the man got nearer. She stepped out further into the road, into his cycleway, and received a flurry of hot and angry Spanish words.

“Fudasa doesn`t speak Spanish” she yelled back.

“What are you doing you nutter?” Rupy said, “Couldn`t you tell he was on a mission cycling uphill. He had probably got a rhythm going and there you are trying to knock him off his bike!”

“Fudasa needs to get this water back to her family” Bindya pouted,

I turned around to them both ” We are going to have the police after us soon. I can see the headlines FOUR BARMY BRITS CAUSE MAYHEM ON SPANISH HIGHWAY.”

“At least we will get a lift home” Rupy yelled back

“Yeah, after a night in the police cells” I responded. ” Let`s get off this road quickly”

“Good idea. Shona, is there a road we can turn off on to?”

“Yeah the next one on the right” she yelled back at us as she was at the front of the line.

“Let`s take that one and get off the road and into hiding before the police arrive.”

When we had all crossed to the other side I once again started laughing because behind the metal railing that run the length of the long road we had just walked down, and behind the bushes that were behind the metal railing, there was a rather large pathway.

“Bloody hell,” Rupy said ” We almost killed ourselves on that stupid road and there was a path there all the time”.

“I`m really thirsty, I need a drink soon” Shona said,

” Not until we get home, Shona, Fudasa must carry this water all the way for her family.”

” I could do with a drink of wine” I replied and as we turned the bend on the road we were escaping down, there was a derelict bus stop with a wooden bench against a yellow cast stone wall.

” I agree” said Rupy plonking herself on the bench, ” Get the wine out”

” It would be rude not too” I replied and without hesitation I pulled the bottle out of one of the bags and then groaned very loudly.

” What`s the matter” Shona asked as she joined us on the bench.

“It`s a bloody CORK bottle, not a screw top!” I cried. “We are screwed” We all groaned in unison even more.

“That`s it then, time for the water ” Rupy said leaning over to Bindya who was still holding the water bottle for dear life.

” Get your hands off my water” Bindya yelled “Fudasa will not let you drink from this bottle as you will spill it everywhere and I`m not having my water wasted, plus I`ve seen your attempts trying to drink that Wine at the winery! Just look at the stains on your top! How would you manage to drink from this 8 litre bottle.”

Whilst the 2 sister carried on winding each other up, I lit a cigarette and wandered a few yards away. Walking back to the group, I said ” Oh my god girls, you will never guess what that building is next to us?”

The all got off the bench and walked a few yards.

“Oh my god” gasped Rupy, “It`s a police station!”

” Can you believe that we have actually brought ourselves to the police, guess it will save them time trying to find the four crazy girls jay walking on a dual carriageway.”

“I`m going to knock and try to get directions” said Shona striding off towards the station. Whilst she was away, the 3 of us resorted to drinking the rest of the very flat and very warm bottle of Fanta.

” At least we are one bottle down” grinned Rupy dumping it in the near bybin.” Who know`s how much further we have to walk”.

On Shona’s return she announce that there was no answer at the cop shop.

“They are probably having a siesta” Rupy pointed out.

“Let’s get going then before they wake up” I laughed

” Good idea” Rupy agreed “but which way now?”

“How about we look at this big map that has been here all this time” laughed Shona walking to a massive map in a glass frame on the lampost not far ahead of us.

I joined Shona and after a few moments of heated discussion of where we actually were (as our faith in maps was quickly dwindling) we both agreed whole heartedly that if we just followed the road we were on, it would lead us to another main road which would surely lead us home.

We gathered up all our shopping bags and the bottle of water and started to walk up the road.

I was walking slightly further ahead with Shona.

” Do you know what Diana, I don`t really fancy going out tonight”

“But it`s your birthday – remember”

” Yeah but after all this walking I`m knackered and if there are no buses on today then it`s going to be hard to get into Barcelona and I don`t fancy paying for a cab”

” With you on that one ” I replied. ” So what do you want to do?”

“Well, we could stay in, pump some tunes, make our own club, we have some food and drink, it should see us through”

” Well If your sure, it`s your day. Let`s ask the girls what they think”

Then all off a sudden I spotted what was at the end of the road. My hand flew up to my mouth in disbelief ” NO!” I cried, ” I don`t believe it”

” What`s the matter” Shona asked looking at me concerned.

“LOOK” I yelled pointing up to the end of the road. Brass as punch, staring at us was the big blue sign above the Pac Mans shop driveway.

” Oh my god” cried Shona.

By now I was in complete fits of very loud laughter.

” Be quiet, shush” she said dragging me back down the road towards Rupy and Bindya. ” They will see us”

That set me off even more.

” What`s wrong with her?” they both asked in unison.

“We`ve only done a full circle” cried Shona over my laughter.

” What?” asked Rupy looking at me

” Pac Mans shop is at the end of the road” I spluttered.

“Your joking” said Bindya. “Fudusa has carried this all the way back to where she got it from! I don`t believe it”

By now both myself and Rupy were in hysterics of laughter both collapsing to the floor with tears and mascara streaming down our faces. Bindya was doubled over laughing hard leaning on her bottle of water and all Shona kept doing was telling us to be quiet which didn`t help the situation.

Just as we started to get our breath back and calm down a little, a police car drove passed slowly looking at us, which off course set us all off again until our sides were completely aching.

Our laughter was contagious and now Shona had joined in and through her tears she said

” Well at least we can get that taxi number”

” And more food and drink for tonight”

By now we were delirious with laughter and I begged them to stop as I couldn`t take much more painful laughter.

Finally we all sobered up from our laughing and slowly composed ourselves walking towards a bench opposite the shop. The girls sat down and I stood next to them and lit a cigarette which was accompanied with a very loud “MEOW”.

“And you can shut the hell up as well” I yelled to the damn Parrot,

“So what now?” Shona asked

” I`ll go and get the taxi number Rupy saw earlier” I said marching off towards the bus stop trying to stifle the giggles I was starting to get again.

” Good idea” yelled Rupy after me, ” take a picture of it.”

When I returned they were all sat on another bench once again laughing hysterically

” You will never guess what?” said Shona

“Please don`t tell me the shop is closed!” I asked.

” Nope, Roberta has just rung and asked if we were still here and whether we needed Madre to give us a lift home, so I said yes and he will be here ASAP”

“You are joking! Hope you told her we have been sat here all this time waiting and NOT walking for miles in one big circle. Well, I`m gonna do more shopping before she gets here” and I set off across the road, back to the Pac man shop.

” What are you doing?” Shona cried in disbelieve ” You can`t go back in there!”

” Of course I can” I said. ” I don`t care what they think of us, plus, I need a corkscrew to open this bloody bottle of wine, I think we definitely deserve it now.”