Archive for December, 2009

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Winter blues.

December 31, 2009

The lull between Christmas and new year is always quiet.  This has been one of the quietest I can remember.  Generally days have run from mid-day through to about 1 am for me and have involved a lot of hanging round the house in my pyjamas waiting for mum to decide if she is going to come out and do anything or not.  She has only left the house once since Christmas as far as I can remember (and that was to go out for a Thai meal).  I tend to get bored by about 2 and go out for a walk, mess about on Facebook (I have spoken to quite a few people thanks to Facebook chat!) and get a late lunch.  Anna has come with me a couple of times too and shown me some of the nice eating places to be found in the area.  She also booked an appointment with her hairdresser for me, so I am now the owner of shorter, neater hair.

The weather has been variable.  Yesterday’s glorious sunshine has been replaced by grey clouds and a very blustery wind.  I am very glad of the 10 Euro jumper I bought from the cheap British clothes shop yesterday.  If it wasn’t for the scenery and the weather I might not know I’m in Spain.  I certainly haven’t needed to use any Spanish since I got here – the language I hear most often seems to be Dutch, followed by Russian, English and Norweigian.

The plan for new year is simple.  Go to Jan’s restraunt (Anna’s boyfriend is the chef/owner) then a pub crawl of the local bars.  Classy…  Hopefully mum will be able to walk herself home, but I’m not holding my breath!  I imagine there will be more Karaoke too.  My plan for after new year is to go to Portugal to see Jason and Maxine.  I doubt I’ll get to the UK, it just seems too complicated!  As it is I’ll probably have to spend a couple of days in Salamanca on the way (as noone in Spain seems to know what happens to public transport once you cross the Portuguese border) but It’ll be nice to get some peace and quiet!  Mum has decided she’s not going to come with me, she’ll probably stay in the house playing her DS game in her pyjamas…

I hope everyone has a happy New Year 😀 and hopefully I’ll see some more of you in 2010!

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Christmas / Navidad / Nadal

December 26, 2009

Christmas has been a bit weird since we grew up, not as much fun as when you’re little, but this year has to rank up their with the oddest…  I thought that last year in Peru, with everything on Christmas eve was weird enough, but at least it didn’t involve me singing the ‘Fairytale of New York’ with my mum in a tiny, brightly lit bar full of pensioners…

Christmas eve started at about 3 pm when I finally got out of bed… mum had made some snacks because there was apparently going to be food in the bar we were going to (Hepburns) I then sat with mum on the couch and watched about 10 episodes of something called ‘Psychic’ which is some kind of police drama.  We finally got ourselves ready and headed out at about 8 pm.  Hepburns was half full and me and Anna going in probably brought the average age down to about 60…  Mum insisted on buying all our drinks and ordered us a rum and coke each.  There was more rum than coke – Spanish measures are large to start with, and the barman was being generous with the  Christmas spirit.

About half an hour later the place was crowded (and the average age had increased with every new person to come in) and the barman and his wife had passed out hymn sheets and we had all joined in with a few well known British carols.  Then the Christmas karaoke started.  After the second rum and coke I was feeling quite jolly and ended up singing with mum,  then,flushed with success due to the rapturous applause I’d had, I decided to help Anna out singing ‘All I want for Christmas is you’ by Miriah Carey… not necessarily a wise choice… there was a lot of karaoke, some dancing to silly songs (see the video of Anna on Facebook) and the discovery of some kind of vodka that, when mixed with chocolate milkshake, tasted just like a crunchy bar (Thank crunchy it was Friday…).  Thankfully they stopped the Karaoke then… and then it was midnight and I had to go round and kiss everyone a happy Christmas.   The promised food had never materialised… half an hour later we had to help mum walk to the taxi and then had to walk her downstairs to prevent accidents…

Christmas day itself was a lazy affair (Mum and Anna both had hangovers), I stayed in my pyjamas until it was time to get ready to go out for dinner and played on Mario Kart (on the Wii) and the Big Brain academy (on my DS) both of which were presents from Anna.

Dinner was superb.  Mum had booked us into a restaurant in Albir with a 68 Euro menu.  There was no choice, they brought the food out and we ate it – and what food!  We started with a glass of that pink champagne stuff , then had a Prawn in some kind of Pesto, followed by 3 types of duck pate with a truffle mayonaise, then a seafood thing, with puff pastry and one of the nicest scallops I have ever tasted, then sweetbread (pancreas…) which was nicer than I thought it would be, then a sorbet to clear the palate, then venison with some kind of cabbagey-mash, then a delicious pudding with hazlenut icecream, mousse and pastry.  There was nice wine throughout the meal (I drank most of a bottle of white by myself as everyone else was drinking red) and then coffee to finish.   We were all so full that after we’d finished we just wanted to go home and sleep, which is exactly what we did!

Today has been another lazy day – I didn’t get dressed until I wanted to come out and use the internet!  Hopefully tomorrow I’ll actually get out of the house in the daylight and get some fresh air…

Anna is currently making a traditional English Christmas dinner, so I ought to get back.  I am soooooo looking forward to the parsnips.  You just can’t get them in Lima!

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The rain in Spain…

December 23, 2009

So, we finally left Amsterdam 4 and a half hours late because of snow on the runway and touched down in Madrid at about midnight.  By the time I’d got my bag, got a taxi (I wasn’t prepared to attempt the metro at that time of night) and got to the hotel I was seriously tired and just got into bed.  5 hours later my alarm went off and I had to get up, shower and get breakfast before catching the train to Madrid.  It turns out that the thing I had forgotton was my toothbrush… what would Chris Evans say?

I love the train – there’s more space than I had on the plane, and they put James Bond on (admittedly in Spanish with no subtitles, but that’s OK – you don’t really need to listen to the dialogue to follow it, you can tell who the baddies are just by looking and a gunfight and car chase are the same in any language!  I actually understood more than I thought I would).  I even got an hours sleep.  It did rain for the entire journey though, and flat, grey, wet fields are not all that inspiring a view.

On arrival in Alicante I walked up to the tram station in the rain, stopping in a cafe for lunch – where else but Spain would you be offered a Tortilla buttie?  Just what I needed!  The tram jouney was enlivened when 3 boys who were obviously stoned out of their trees got on and tried to buy tickets from the on-board machine.  I have never seen people giggle at a ticket machine so much!  Neither had a ever seen such a brilliantly disapproving face as the one on the VERY prim woman sat opposite.  Hillarious!  The view out of the tram was gorgeous though – the coast round here is cliffs and turquoise-blue sea, just beautiful.

I eventually got to Anna’s at 4 pm on Tuesday (having left my house at 4 pm on Sunday and getting about 8 hours sleep in total in between!) sat and listened to Mum talk at me for a bit and then went out for a chinese.  I fell into bed at about midnight and slept for 12 hours – bliss.

Today I have bought a few new clothes (I’m sure I’d packed more t-shirts than were actually in my bag when I unpacked…) and to celebrate mum’s birthday we are having pizza (classy) as none of us can face going out in the cold again!  Who knows what delights tomorrow holds…?  Hopefully it will involve finding somewhere closer to my sister’s house that has free WiFi…

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Dreaming of a white Christmas?

December 21, 2009

My next visit to Europe is under way.  I am currently sat in the airport at Amsterdam waiting for them to call my delayed connection to Madrid.  So far it’s 2 hours late.  This is probably a good thing as the flight from Lima was late too.  It’s all a knock on effect from the snow in Northern Europe (which Anna assures me is not going to fall where she is.  As I only have one jumper and one waterproof jacket with me it’s probably a good thing…)

The flight from Lima was fun as always.  Made all the more delightful as there was a Peruvian family with 2 small children (and the nanny in uniform) behind me, and a large man, who snored loudly and passed wind constantly, sat next to me. I didn’t really sleep.  I did watch Aladdin though – and finally worked out who Sebastian Ferreyros reminds me of…  I am now completely jet lagged – my body clock is telling me it’s about 11.30 am, but I’m sat looking out into a dark winter’s night!  I really want to sleep and still have to fly to Madrid, navigate the underground and find the hotel.  I am also considering buying Mario Kart and Wii Sing from the airport shop, but don’t think I can get them in my bag just now! Maybe on the way back…