Thursday, 27 December 2012

Corny

I had a very strange bus journey last weekend. I started travelling at 8.30am Saturday morning, and finished at 5pm Sunday. As usual I didnt speak to anyone, but I think i did have a bit of a romance.

Before catching the second leg of the bus I settled down to a two course two dollar extravaganza in the bus journey. Now that I´ve discerned that the foggy feeling is salt not rohypnoll I dont mind eating it. The first course was a sort of plant broth with the usual floating potato and chunk of meat, and the second was fried chicken, chips and rice.

Very full I got on the new bus to find I was sitting next to a healthy looking Peruvian late teen. Healthy means robust like a piglet, strong and ready, before 20 years of fried chicken chips and rice twice a day cause back fat.

 As night fell and the lights were turned off we realised that the bus swinging from steep curve to curve on the mountain roads meant that we were going to get no comfort. We could only manage to stay still by unconsciously jamming out knees together. His was just like memory foam. Perfect. He also sweetly and wordlessly laid his blanket over me as well. I was a bit worried we were going to go a bit far at that point but I was cold so I took it.

I fell asleep and awoke to find my head was on something really soft. Oh gosh. Only a thicket of young black Peruvian hair could be that soft. I´d been sleeping cuddled onto his head. I´m worse than Joe Court!

But it was really comfy and he didn´t seem to mind so I kept with it and went back to sleep.

Then about six o´clock the light came in and as i saw his poor unlined oily face lying on my shoulder. I didnt want my fleece soaking THAT up! I managed to extract myself and concentrate on watching the six back to back films the bus showed that day. It is SO much better to watch romances than experience them.

Let me tell you I was glad when I saw how he ate his giant finger sucking sweetcorn snack later like a wolf. These youngsters have too much energy. 

Tuesday, 25 December 2012

Happy Christmas my sweets. I´m canoeing in Costa Rica, I hope. I set this post weeks ahead. xxxxxxxxxxxxxx

Sunday, 23 December 2012

A cleansing experience

Somehow, under the influence of Paula´s proper traveller curiosity, we ended up in Bolivia for two days. We stayed one night in Copacabana, which was pouring with rain not rum or whatever it is meant to be in the song, and then got the boat to The Island of the Sun.

Once there we settled in a cafe shack to have a hot chocolate as it was still raining. Wrapped up in all our clothes, even our pajamas, we attracted quite a lot of attention, and soon we were chatting to the table next to us.

I asked them why they had come to South America and they said it was to take part in the medicine ceremony. By that i think they mean, ´to get hallucinogenic cactus drugs´, but tomato tomatooooo. They talked in rapturous tones for a long time about how it had changed their lives. They said it made them see how their life should be, recognise their true characters, and be at one with nature. Of course as well it makes you get a lot of diarrhea. Paula and I liked their stories but decided we could do all this for ourselves. Isn´t finding your true self what your gap yah is?

We got some egg sandwiches off the streetstall and decided to go for a hike of the coastline once the rain had cleared. We were high on the cliffs above the blue sea, and animals were popping out everywhere. Crossly, I kept pointing out at each fresh stray donkey or pig or chicken, that we WERE being at one with nature. There´s nature, there´s nature, and there it is again, as a sheep baaaed across out path. 

And then I had to run back from the hike as the egg sandwich off the street hit my delicate stomach. So I even got the cleansing finale.

Friday, 21 December 2012

You´ve got fish bone in your hair

Paula, one of the girls from my new gang, and I, have come to Arequipa, the famous white city of Peru. I can´t see any of the famous colonial architecture as we´re in Starbucks listening to Christmas songs whilst we drink eggnog lattes.

We had a bit too much local for lunch as nothing was open but a shack in which we managed to locate one sticky table amongst all the other bodies. Creepily there was also a baby crying from behind the wall with no door. Oh mystery solved, you crawl under like that.

We had the fried fish which turned out to be a lovely flat pink fish coated in thin batter. And yes I got it in my hair. Paula´s also had a fly in it, but she figured it was okay as it was also fried.

I thought the venue was definitely okay as Sabrina the Teenage Witch was playing on the tiny tv in the corner.

 

Wednesday, 19 December 2012

Orange you´re glad I´m safe

I´m now staying at a pretty hammock and palm strewn hostel on the beach, in the North of Peru. It´s called Trujillo, if you want to follow me on the map like my Grampa does.
I´m enjoying writing on the balcony watching hummingbirds in the orange blooms which creep over the side. Same colour as my hot orange Chanel lipstick. As descriptive as my writing gets i´m afraid.

Talking of orange, I just spied an older couple with matching badly dyed orange hair, and completely Cadbury´s purple clothes. I hope I never get that relaxed.

I can also see a girl eating something called Megatrig cereal out of a cup that i just saw her wash in outside dirty tap water. Maybe later she´ll be sicking up the chalk orange yoghurt I saw her drown it in.

I´m having a really nice week actually despite these eyesores. After my Lima trauma I met this very sweet girl in my hostel who had come to Peru for a week holiday. I decided to take her in hand so we came together here. I told her she might get yellow fever in other places. She´s quite naive so I like to pretend we´re Cher and Thai from Clueless. She looks quite like her so I can pretend to myself that Brittany Murphy is not really dead.

We´ve also met four other lone girls in our hostel so now we have a gang!

The future is bright, if not that orange, please.

Monday, 17 December 2012

Fried

After a lovely relax in Easter Island I meant to continue with three weeks at an eco lodge. After stocking up on toilet paper and ebooks (I didnt actually want to talk to anyone else who would go to an eco lodge), I set off from Lima.

I made it first to the scary out of town bus terminal and my taxi driver helped me get on with all the locals and their chickens. Twenty minutes of dusty scenery later we seemed to be off and away, out of Lima city into the reams of rickety suburbs.

SUDDENLY, the bus ground to a halt and the driver came to motion me to get off. I followed him outside, completely bemused, whilst he unloaded my bag onto the street. There was a little bus office right there so I hoped I was just changing busses, although not sure quite why. Maybe the chickens wanted another seat.

You´ll be very proud of me as once inside the bus office, I managed not to cry for at least thirty minutes. I sat down and a bus staff man called Hector sat beside me and proceeded to question me in Spanish for that same amount of time. Sometimes I understood the question, sometimes not. I definitely did not understand what I was doing there.

Then a police lady turned up and wanted to know what Hector was doing with me. I was glad I know the Spanish for "its too dangerouus, be careful, be careful, and alone is bad, and where is your mother, your father, your sister, your friends?" as that´s what she repeated over and over. She then got her English speaking daughter to ring the bus office to tell me the same in English.

But when is my bus coming? Never apparently. Through my sobs I managed to convey after nearly two hours of waiting very confused, that I would go back to Lima. Danger lady was very pleased about this and like a mother hen sternly took me by the elbow and said she´d take me somewhere safe.

After twenty minutes of Spanish scolding whilst walking we arrived at a shopping mall she deemed safe enough for me to get a taxi from. She popped me in one and rapped my knuckles for having the window open. Bye bye Mother hen.

Talking of chickens, that´s all i´ve eaten here in Peru. Fried chicken, chips and rice seems to be their national dish. Now i´m safe back at the hostel I´m hoping the fat will clog up my tear ducts and i can stop crying.

Scone, sc scone scone scone

I went to the inca ruins today with the nice girls I met, and one very strange boy.

The ruins were really interesting. A large ruined city built only out of mud, but with really intricate patterned walls of fish, pelicans, and the moon, which they worshipped. There was also the tomb of the King to see. When he died they sacrificed his 90 wives so he could take them with him to the afterlife. Well, only his principal wife was ritually sacrificed. The other 89 were only poisoned.
I do hope Hugh Hefner doesnt hear about this. Those bunnies haven't got long now!

I thought the ruins were quite tranquil, until this boy started telling me about seeing some other ruins on the Orkney Islands. I shall recount it to you.

"I bought some scones and then set out to see these ruins, which are the oldest houses in Europe. But after a long walk my friend and I couldnt see them so we decided to sit down on a hill to eat our scones. So we sat down and we were eating our scones when we noticed everyone else we see is pointing at us. We thought maybe they wanted some scones.. But then we realised we were eating our scones whilst sitting on top of the ruins! It had looked such a nice place to eat the scones, that we hadn't noticed the ruins.'

And then all I could think about was how much I wanted a scone. I even made up a song.

'I like it when they're out the oven hot hot hot,
I like it when the dough rises, da na da na
That scone sco scone scone scone!'

But obs to the tune of Sisqo in my head. 

Friday, 7 December 2012

Don´t be cuy



When I was in Lima I went out for a lovely dinner with my Uncle after some sunny sightseeing. The restaurant had put us in the back with the other non Spanish speaking people, and families with children. This was probably warranted as I nearly cried when my dinner arrived. This was worse animal cruelty than the time my Dad left my two oldest guinea pigs out in the sun in the garden and they died. 
I tried to eat it with a knife and fork but it was a bit impossible as the skin was so crispy. The waitor saw me struggling and advised me to eat each quarter by picking up a leg. Like a guinea pig lollypop. Mmmmm. It was like ham.

Wednesday, 5 December 2012

Beef with the Spanish

When I arrived in Easter Island I felt a little confused. It was so different to what had come before.
Firstly, I was sad without Robin, and the Ukranian guy next to me on the plane didn´t manage to cheer me up with his contraband bottle of brandy. I´m sure that´s more than 100ml. And it´s 2am.

Then the island itself was very tropical. White sands, palm trees, cockroaches scuttling beneath my feet. Chile sure does have everything. Oh, whoops, don´t mention Chile. My tour guide showed me his scars from being stabbed in four vital organs by a Chilean in a racist attack. Ooh show me again. Don´t put your top back on. Really? Did you nearly die? Show me again. I´m ever so empathetic.

Anyway, the most confusing thing here is that hardly anyone speaks English. This is completely new to me, but don´t worry, I found some Americans on a tour today to have a good whinge about it with. Whoever heard of a hostel owner who didn´t know what "half day horse riding tour of the island with lunch" was in English?

But most strange was when Laetitia and I (French girl from my hostel who says she doesn´t speak English but DOES), were tucking into our hostel pasta last night. The Italian guy next to us was about to aim his knife and fork into a full enormous beef tomato in its own dish. It was shining proudly and whole. Out of its own dish. I couldn´t take my eyes off it. Who eats like that? I eventually had to apologise for staring too long.


What a relief then to have a wonderful sightseeing day, followed by dinner with tour acquaintances, and the welcome refrain of, "Isn´t anyone else going to have another beer??" Now where have I heard that before?


Sunday, 2 December 2012

Incan Sacrifice

We were up the mountain overlooking Machu Piccu today, positioning each other for the perfect scenic shot, when we heard a scream below.
I grudgingly put down the camera and followed Robin down the narrow steps.
A woman had fallen through the handrails down the side of the mountain! Oh dear. That looks nasty.
Luckily at the moment two strapping young men walked past us, so we volunteered them to form a human chain down the mountain to the victim. Robin helped by connecting them to the handrail, and I did my bit by exchanging worried eyes with the distressed husband. Girls´eye expressions are just as good as SOS.

"We" managed to drag the woman back up the mountain, and after everyone had had a good sit down, apart from the strapping young men obs who never sit down, we moved on our way.

Robin and I were hardly two Inca ruins away from the scene of the accident when we heard an almighty clap of thunder. Oh my gosh. That is totally the God of the Mountain expressing anger with us denying it the sacrifice. We should have just left her to dangle there like an early Incan virgin.

I cant be certain but I think the displeasure followed us, resulting in me getting three mosquito bites at the hot springs, and the waitress at breakfast giving us scrambled eggs not fried. Even after we repeatedly requested fried. A sign that the mountain God also didnt get what he had ordered, I presume..

Friday, 30 November 2012

Salad Roulette

When I first met Robin he was horrified to hear that I had been eating raw fruit and vegetables, doubtful they had been washed with pure aqua minerale rather than bacteria based local tap water.

But starting with some sliced avocado he joined me in adventuring through the salad menu. We exchanged worried looks each time we tucked in:

Will it be our breakfast fruit?


Will it be the mango we bought from the market and ate with unwashed hands after a day hiking using toilets with no liquid soap?

Will it be the lettuce, the hotel for some reason added to my cheese sandwich?



I promise to keep you updated as to when the gun goes off, but for now our biggest worry is finding crabs in our salad!



Wednesday, 28 November 2012

The Pumpkin Cafe

After four hours of waiting for the bus I decided I was hungrier than nervous, so braved the bus terminal restaurant. Everything was untranslatable apart from the title of the Menu Economica, so I dived into that.
First course was a vat of soup so hot that it steamed my tongue off and it is only now that I can taste the primary flavour of salt. My first thought was Rohypnoll. And, if genuinely only a broth of rice, carrots, celery, half a sweetcorn cob, a whole large boiled potato, and a clump of meat, then surely the blackcurrant juice which was followed was really rohypnoll. I slurped it all up hoping that I was immune to it as Bob is to coke*.
Completely full after this I was not eager for my second course. It came. A large plate of rice, more salad than I´ve ever eaten, and a chicken perched on top. Luckily, i spilled a lot of it on my lap, thus saving myself from overdosing.

The room then started to spin but I hoped it was more to do with the fact that I´m still wearing all my fleeces than of it being a rohypnoll cafe. I managed just about to drag myself about to the bus terminal waiting area for some light relief of watching some cute Peruvian children play with dirty pieces of cardboard on the floor.


*Mono and Geoff, I mean "..a cola".

p.s this is a picture of where i actually sat for six hours. It´s practically me behind that post

Monday, 26 November 2012

Frandwich

This morning I sat squashed tightly between more people than is legal in a taxi crossing the border into Peru. They seemed to be laughing. Probably at me. To cheer myself up before I left my cosy hostel I reread articles about how it is most likely that your bag will be stolen on this journey. Thus I´m wearing my hiking boots and entire red jacket collection as they´re most expensive to replace. I´d much rather buy a replacement llama bikini later, than use my North Face fleece today. I´d be wearing my sleeping bag if I could.


Whilst I was revising the scams online this morning something compelled me to read up on how exactly the French travelling girls were brutally raped and murdered by their tour guide here. This has not helped my willingness to go anywhere with anyone. The old lady trying to help me with my border crossing queue and papers had to prod me to follow her.

Well, I arrived safely in Peru with four hours to spare. Just like catching a train from Sheffield to Leeds in the old days, when Bob would join me as the train doors opened, my nerves worn to the bone, and she rosy cheeked and not having to buy her ticket.

Oh good, and Peru is two hours behind, so an extra two hours of waiting. At least the confusing earthquake alarm and evacuation test killed some time.

Saturday, 24 November 2012

Team travel

I´m actually having my first truly pleasurable non-uncomfortable, non-awkward moment right now. I´m writing this on the beach. Ashley and I are sunbathing. She´s joined me for another day. Me, under the umbrella shade with teeshirt over my head, and a gluey layer of factor fifty just incase. She, the exact opposite.

It´s so nice to have a companion. I´ve got so used to it again that when I crossed the road on a red light today and she waited for the green, I actually missed talking in that 40 second interval. I felt sad as we gazed across the road at each other unable to finish discussing the nuances of why you would never wear a hairbobble you found on the street.*




*Dad, if you´re reading this, stop offering them to me. I really appreciate the thought but it´s like wearing aomeone else´s underwear.

Friday, 23 November 2012

A cut of chocolate

It´s been nearly a month without, but I´m afraid I just succumbed to chocolate self harm.
I had a snickers bar (twice the price of my dinner) because I was feeling miserable. And now I feel even worse like I´m about to have a sugar seizure.


I also ate so much tomato and avocado sandwich that I´m almost hopeful I´ll be sick, thus completing my imaginary mental health disorder inventory for this evening.

I was feeling sad because I´ve been alone all day in this stupid dusty beach town and I couldn´t even find the beach! And I´m really anxious about my impending border crossing into Peru. And today I got ripped off by twenty pounds at the money exchange, and the banana split ice cream I bought to cheer myself up was already melting and probably full of e coli from being kept at that temperature.
And, these two cute American girls are lying in the dorm beds opposite mine being all cute and best friendy and watching films on their ipads and LAUGHING.
And even though one seems to be called Alaska I´m really jealous of them!

Wednesday, 21 November 2012

Peli-can(´t talk now)

One strange thing I´ve noticed on this trip is how boys like to recount all their accolades and attributes to me.
"Oh I won the English prize at my Welsh school. Even though I was the only native English speaker I was so surprised."
"I´ve backpacked round the whole world and I find most people give me free helicopter rides or free accomodation on their ranch. You´d probably get killed."
"I´m training to be a dentist, but National Geographic has printed my photographs , and I do scientific research as a weekend job. And I´´m only 21."
"I only write in green ink. I find it inspires me." Inspired you to use up five pages of my notebook and not even use the back of each inky page..
"I´ve seen seven continents this year."
Tap`on my shoulder during a bus ride. What? I´m asleep! "And I only got one question wrong in my whole final year exams." A levels, let´s just clarify.

All I´m going to brag about is that today I saw two Pelicans in the sea whilst I was sitting on the sea front by myself.

Not sure if I prefer sitting by myself, or being auditarily raped by smug traveller boys. I clearly must prefer the former as I´ve taken to carrying an apple with me. If someone approaches I take a big mouthful until they retreat, social advances foiled.








Monday, 19 November 2012

Care bears

In Santiago I made travelling companions with a nice younger Canadian girl who i´ve come to the desert with. She reminds me of Ashley (Hi) so let´s call her that. I like hanging out with someone despite being quite different. She tolerates the fact that I go to bed at appropriate times in return for me waking her up in time for our day trips after 4hrs sleep due to late night kissing with our 38year old tour guide.
I quite like caring for someone, for example, bringing extra water and apples, reminding her for the fifth time that it´s Friday not Saturday so please don´t book that bus ticket, and pulling her out of her anorak which she´s had to wear for two days straight because a boy broke the zip off.

But I still don´t do any of the cooking. Apart from that time she realised her sandboarding trip was actually NOW not at 4pm, and left me stunned holding the ingredients for avocado and tomato sandwiches.
We´ve had a really lovely few days doing day trips to star gazing, the lagoon with flamingoes in it, salty swimming lakes, and trying on all the llama fridge magnets in the market.


I´m back on my own now in my next destination. I no longer have the confidence to wear sunglasses, for fear of being thought of a tourist, and an alone one at that. My worst fear. And secretly, I don´t mind if my eyes get burnt out by the sun as I´ve got no one to share the views with anyway.. wah wah.

Oh Ashley, come back. I promise never to mentally correct you again. Of course the hostel is that way. Of course Cusco is pronounced Cous Cous...

Saturday, 17 November 2012

Having a lard time

I´ve become emotionally constipated again, after I had been having quite a nice time. The day before I went to the Chilean Patagonian national park.

Whilst wandering in the wrong direction looking completely terrified I got adopted by a Chilean family here on their vaccionaes. I really liked sharing the beautiful views with companions, plus they shared their Pringles. And the Mum gave me her scarf as a gift! But as the saying goes, presents come before 23 hours barely speaking to another soul, which to me is the emotional equivalent of eating lard for a week. I now can´t express myself, not even to the air stewardess asking what I want to drink. I had to turn `naranja' into a cough and stay dry mouthed without my orange juice. The bus driver earlier also thought I was French, when I not only forgot the Spanish for 3pm, but the English too. Trois! 
It then turned out just now that I was on the wrong plane, I have no idea which one my luggage is on, and i can´t even cry about it. My sadness is stuck hard inside me and my tear ducts are as unrelenting as the barren pampla plains of Argentina. 
Maybe the woman sitting next to me, whom I just called Signor after taking an hour to pluck up the courage to ask if she could move so I could go to the loo, will stab me and I can let some emotion out. She seems to be busy reading her book but I´ll do some elbow jostling and see.. 

Thursday, 15 November 2012

Beached


All these boy sized portions are not aiding me in my current "fat pocohontas" state. It´s lucky i´ve got a layer of red wine swilling round me as I can´t even fit into my thermals right now. And it´s so cold here. If I was a leaving the hostel type I´d be camping on a glacier or canoeing the fiords right now. But it is helping me stave off my loneliness as i´ve now got the perfect over ripe body to pretend to myself that i´m in the early stages of pregnancy.. I know that sounds really strange, and let me tell you impossible (no one could penetrate this fleece). But it´s really comforting when I get really lonely to pretend i´ve got a little friend. I´ve named him Jonah as it was the most transnational name I could think up to cover all fake Fatherlands.

I´d better go to actually talk to some people now...

Tuesday, 13 November 2012

Hot dish


I´m worried my blog is fast becoming a glorified monologue of people who give me food, but I just can´t help it. I must walk round with my mouth open.

On Wednesday night I was sated from an Ecuadorian chicken dish cooked by a new lady friend. I´d been sous chef, but really that meant just chatting up other people in the hostel kitchen whilst she slaved. After dinner I pleaded tiredness and retired to my room. I was in bed five minutes when a French man came in and we had the most wonderful bonding conversation. "Would you like to share my steak and red wine?" Of course! He hadn´t seen I was in my pajamas (the perks of a top bunk bed) so I quickly put my pink jeans on top (everyone knows they´re stretch right?) so he wouldn´t think i was the type of person to go to bed at 10pm, and scurried after the scent of cooking meat. So far so bien.

Thursday night RRRRrrroman had hitchhiked out of my life and I was wandering listlessly around the hostel after a tiring day in the national park. Oh hi Pedro! I´m glad you like my most flattering travelling tee shirt. He made me burger, rice, and very thin circle potatoes. Not sure if it´s a common Brazillian dish because our shared language was as thin as the chips... but it was very nice, and easily accompanied the wine.

Friday, I endured a 16 hour bus journey sitting next to a very chirpy Irish boy so i was feeling a bit ragged by the time I touched down. Until Italian Andreas asked me if I knew where the supermarket was? One thing led to another and he was soon standing over the stove warming our soup and egg, whilst I carried on being a terrible sous chef. I nearly gave him a heart attack recounting how I cook pasta. "But to me it is as easy as brrrreathing!" "Oh so you don´t throw spaghetti up on the ceiling to check if it is cooked?" Luckily he recovered enough to uncork some wine.

I´ve never met so many people who think a rubbish sous chef is so cute!

Mum magnet


Phew, don´t fret, I was only away from parent pals for that one bus journey. In my hostel I was about to miserably fall into my dorm after 36 hours eating crackers when I spotted a Mum and daughter from Taiwan who I´d briefly met the week before. On the strength of that they invited me to join them for dinner. "Oh no I couldn´t.." "Really?" "Are you sure?" They´d already got me a full plate of beef stew and Yung Yung was busy forking more meat on to my plate from hers.

I was ever so happy to hang out with them for three days. We went on a boat trip of the Beagle Channel, saw some more sealions (snore), and did some brisk country walks with German hiker Mum who made a very good pack lunch. "I´d like to invite you to share my biscuits." Ooh yes please!




Mums on tour


What I really like about Mum and Dad travellers is their elegant bottle of vino tinto with each meal. By the time i´ve finished scrabbling around in my room for the least dirty clothes, and the cleanest scraps of toilet paper, I come down and dinner is served. Having befriended a succession of grown up gap yahhers last week you can be sure that i´ve been well stocked with wine, wet wipes, and reminders to take my anorak out.
Oh yes, and I would like a cereal bar please. And that needle and thread would be so helpful to sew up the tearful hole in my pink jeans. Of course I´d love to hear all about your grown up children on the way to see the penguins in your hired car. Oh sorry, I feel asleep for that entire three hour drive. The rocking of the car on 200 km of dirt track was just too soothing!

Genuinely, I´ve had such a pleasant time with my parent pals. And even as I laugh along to the 4th Ben Stiller comedy shown in a row on my 36 hour bus ride, i´m crying inside to be leaving people I know. I don´t love being on my own. Although the success of lone journeys obviously makes me feel like Xena Warrior Princess, I´d really like a little Gabrielle to tag along with me.*

*Does only Jessica Howsden get this reference?*

*Does anyone get a Jessica Howsden reference. She was the girl from high school who was so obsessed with Xena that aged 12 she got her parents to take her to the airport just to watch the cast of the show walk through arrivals on their way to a channel five convention.. She told me this story in form time right before she disappeared from school forever. True.



Wednesday, 24 October 2012

Argent-meaner

Now I´m uncorked I suppose I could write about my BA experience. Soon after arriving, a firm friendly Brazillian girl made me her pet. Her "come, come here" itinerary silently changed mine, and included all her errands, but no one spends two months mutely watching Gran Turismo if they aren´t a pushover. So off we went.

Buenos Aires really is beautiful. I wish I had taken photos but I was too scared to take my camera out my bag, so I couldn´t.

Our day was going well until we stopped to rest on the steps of the University. A leathery professor came over to talk to us. She spoke to Ana Paula and quickly ascertained that I could not speak Spanish. She derided this, calling me lazy, but then told me gushingly what English singer she liked. 
"Lazy!" I´ll give you lazy, Signora. You´re hardly branching out liking Adele*! At least I´m not too lazy to switch over from Radio One.
The conversation got worse as she repeatedly warned me how dangerous Argentina was, and how "evil and terrible" people are. And then when she could see my lip really wobbling, she hammered in that "two French girls just got killed by their tour guide here", and "don´t bother asking the police for help as they´re really corrupt and evil too."

I wiped away a few tears with my map, and we went on our way. I only cheered up a bit later when I saw a tramp asleep with crotchless pants.

I am blaming this woman for my new habit of tipping taxi drivers when they don´t murder me.



*Obviously I do like Adele, I´m only human.

Kiss it better

In the 3 days I´ve been in Argentina I have fretted more about writer´s block than about finding the way back to my hostel. I couldn´t think what to tell you about it!

That is until a middle aged couple infront of me on the bus started kissing. I think you all know that annoyance, discomfort, and spite are the binding agents in this blog´s batter. I can suddenly think of lots to say.

Whilst I busy myself ignoring their inappropriate display, I´ll tell you about my journey. I´m on a 20 hour trip from Buenos Aires to Puerto Madryn, which is a small seaside town. I liked BA, it was very Parisian, but who else could possibly bear more than two nights in a dorm with a professional traveller couple? And they were Australian.And they kept watching 21 Jump Street on their tablet on the top bunk.

So, I bought a bus ticket for $667 pesos, and then a whole new one, as the first company went on strike. In the lonely hour it took me to work out why the bus booth was dusty and abandoned I was genuinely close to giving up and coming home. Travelling sin company is not that fun. But finally, I deduced that "wait" meant "for ten hours, or buy a new ticket with another company" so I coughed up and off I went.

From my reclining arm chair seat I have so far watched five hours of green fields rattle past with occasional spots of horses, cows, and a lone pig just now. I´m glad I´m on the bus not in the fields, however much the remind me of the midlands.

Ooh we´re going through such a large stretch of water logged fields now that it looks like Norfolk. Oh how I wish Wory and Gibbo were here to complete my experience.

Friday, 19 October 2012

Sticky fingers

I arranged to meet Dashy and Sashy at their hostel when they were checking out at 11am. Once I got there I stumbled a bit at the desk, "What are your friends called?" "Erm, I'm not sure what they're under. Try Sashwood?" No ok, what about, Dashywoodhead?" "And who wants to see them? "Franny Donner and Blitzen?" "Sure, go right up" She probably thought we were celebrities.

We just carried on getting more glamorous once we were reunited. After making sure we'd taken it in turn to use the room for a poo (no bathroom door, just curtain you see), we toddled off down to James Blunt's favourite restaurant, 'Atomic Kitten Chicken'. He actually endorses it. Where we had a large plate each of sticky wings, waffle fries, and drips. And a side order of a full meal of quesedillas. MMmm I can still smell it on my fingers as I write. 

Sunday, 14 October 2012

Blighty bleurgh

I was scanning through the photos on my phone just now and I stopped short at one. An da! Cuande hell esta? Did I take a photo of my vomit one day in Spain after one of my daily 'I've gone for two hours without food, I'm so ill' spaits?

Oh no. I've remembered that this is when Roast and I made Potatas Bravas to have with Spanish omelette and chorizo and red wine. Mmm. Delish. We prepared it so authentically that we made Sashy miss breakfast and lunch and then wait till 8pm to eat it. Just so she could get the true Spanish flavour!


Thursday, 4 October 2012

Be lentil with me

To mark my entrance back to England I thought I'd make a proper Spanish dinner for friends.

We scanned through my recipe book

'What vegetables go in this? I don't know. Ana has to pulverise it so the children can't tell there are any.

'Which chorizo goes in this? Er the best.

'How long do you cook this for? Well, Ana always cooks. Actually can you just do it for me? I've forgotten how to turn on an oven.

I'm going to sit down now and mime not talking for hours whilst the children play Gran Turismo.

Well, somehow we managed to make an excellent approximation of chorizo lentil stew, followed by quesilla (sort of creme caramel cheese cake). We also finished off lots of hard cheese, grapes, and tomato salada.



Tuesday, 2 October 2012

(Ho)Say what?

Before, I was so English that I once refused a date with a dashing Spanish man just because I couldn't pronounce his name. HoSAY? That's not a real name. I couldn't possibly. 

Now that I'm home I'm realising I'm going to have to start diluting back to English. Like preparing against jet lag by going to bed a bit later, I am going to start adapting back my culinary habits. 

In my last week I purposely resisted sugar on my toast, sugar in my coffee, even sugar in my snack time yoghurt. I thought, I have to get back to bitter old England soon. Can't be taking a sweet tooth with me. 

Once back on the Gatwick Express I re-acclimatised with a Cornish pasty and a Mars bar. That helped but I still think it's going to be a shock when I  taste my first irony sips of tea. 

Bleurgh




Sunday, 30 September 2012

Something fishy

I'm a little confused. Lots of strange things tonight

1) I used the bidet. Well fun
2) It was 4am when this happened. Everyone else is still busy partying
4) I don't know where I fit in society now. Am I one of the children or a Mum? The person at the party who was my age suggested I come to the beach with them next year. He said: "I brought my guitar and started playing on the beach, everyone gathered round, before you know it is 7am on the beach and everyone is naked."

What? I'm not listening to a guitar. I sidled back to my favourite Dad and asked him to make me a fresh Cuba Libre."Ok, but don't drink it too fast."

5)*
6) I spent twenty minutes learning about Engineering. And hotels in Ghana. Anything as long as it is told to me by an attentive semi English speaking Dad. They are also quite good at fetching me drinks.


Even more confusing is that I was spooning up cold tomato soup today and I found a whole fish lurking at the bottom of it. Why would you leave a fish there? I wasn't expecting it at all. I know this type of gazpacho often has tuna as a topping, or even crumbled egg or ham, but FISH! That is really too much. 

* I had to delete 5) as it involved a tongue stud and it was a step TOO FAR

Thursday, 27 September 2012

'When I was inside Aiysha...'

I thought to save you all a version of Bob's daily line I thought I might write a list of annoying annecdotes I might try to shoehorn into conversation. You can read them, and then that's finished.

So, Alex will be telling me about how hard it is to drag home a rusty three legged bed he found on the street and I'll say, 'Hard! You want to try living for two weeks in Alicante in August...Sometimes I fantasised about throwing myself off the balcony and not even hitting the swimming pool below'

Bob will be raving about nice and long her commute is and I'll say, "Please. I didn't walk anywhere for two months. The one day we had to, Ana got well mad with Cristobal and made his friend Oscar pick us up in his sports car." I've also forgotten how to cook, clean, wash and dry my clothes, hold proper conversations as everything is done for me. It took me at least 30 seconds too long to reply to a question today as I couldn't remember how to form words.

Sashy, Roast and Dashy will be rhapsodising about how cute Frieda is and I'll say, "Cute! Well, just let me tell you about Javier". He has learnt to speak English in an overly dramatic girl way. As well as saying 'oh my gosh' with alarming frequency, he showed me a new playmobile quad bike the other day, saying, 'oh, it's very sweet.' He's going to use 'ooh dreamy' any moment. When he next asks for a kidnap instead of a napkin I might just do it.

Chaz will be talking about how much she craves a big meaty man to replace her remote and I'll gloat, 'Well, on holiday, I ate enough fatty meat to make Laura Corby swoon. Ham on its own, ham in pasta, ham dipped in melon juice. Ham even replaces bread as the bookends of a sandwich here. Sure I want cheese on ham".

Mark and I probably won't talk that often.

Dave and Chris will be steaming me up some succulent bite and I'll say... well actually I'll have my mouth full.

Mum will be telling me about how the TV was broken so she had to watch Parades End on one laptop on the sofa, whilst Ro and her oddly patient boyfriend watched it on a second laptop at the desk in the same room. Slightly out of sync. I'll say, "Tgssh, that's nothing. How about you watch two months of TV in Spanish?" Although on the plus side an episode of Charmed was on one day and I was pleased to understand that Piper seemed to be dying and reuniting with Leo in magic heaven.

Y'esta. (it means done fyi)


Tuesday, 25 September 2012

28 days later

I'm so traumatised after the fire festival that I can hardly type. I'd better let the pictures speak for me. 
At first my trepidation was calmed by the sight of a nice brass band. Very civilised. 

Then I saw this weird Virgin statue marching by, growing eeriely green up close. I never knew Mary liked neon so much. 

Then as we walked further I saw that the entire field was on fire. Not just in one place, but huge separate fires with rivers of it running between. I'm not surprised that five years ago it bled to the village and burned down a few houses.
It looked like the world was ending. Groups of people with scarves covering their mouths were running about between the fires. They looked like they were just making trouble, but my hosts assured me that they were looking to see if they could see the image of the Virgin in the fire (as legend goes).

We followed the brass band and the procession back to the village. Oh what's this? Now fire just in the street. Why not?


 Even more disturbing they had a stage afterwards in the town square and these beauties got crowned as Miss Fuente el Saz. Eurgh.

I think it was no wonder I was craving crumpets the next day. This would never happen in Lutterworth. Shame I had to make do with three kit kats I found in a drawer. 

Sunday, 23 September 2012

Flushed with success

We've had some absolutely amazing cakes here. For lunch today Ana made this delicious caramel flan thing which I shall give you the recipe when I feel like writing that much.

Also her cousin Marie-Carmen gave me a baked cheese cake which she said was made out of three eggs, three pieces of white bread, condensed milk, and some other stuff I guess. It was the best.

ALSO Lolly, the Granny makes this really moist sponge cake that we dip in our chocolate milk. I asked Ana the recipe and she said it was the same as hers. "Really?" "Yes, we just use different amounts of olive oil." It really is in everything.

One thing that isn't so sweet is the sight of people going to the toilet. For some reason in Spain people seem to leave the door open. Not the majority of my family, they're too sophisticated. Mainly in Alicante people did it. I would push open the ajar door of the restaurant serviosa and "EHHHHH", whoops old lady. The next night, another restaurant. "EH!" Young man this time. Or they didn't bother closing it at all. "Oh Hi little girl." Worst was when Uncle HerrZeus used my ensuite at night because the sofa bed in the lounge didn't have one. I'm not really asleep, I can hear with the door open.

Friday, 21 September 2012

Oiln't you glad you're on holiday?

I'm getting a bit fed up here. We have just had the worst game of prisoners. After they had tied me to a chair with sellotape and a skipping rope they penned me against the wall with the football net. I nearly managed to get out but my top knot kept getting caught in the net. It's quite big now. 

Then once they let me out Javier kept getting really mad at me for 'not playing properly' (how?) then was hitting me loads with a child's baseball bat. It hurt and I kept telling him to stop. "Para ya!" I accidentally hit him with a foam stick and he cried and puts forward an argument about how he is a child and I shouldn't hit him. True, but adults have feelings too, is my reply. He does not accept this, or responsibility for my numerous bruises, grazes and emotional pain. We argue some more with limited English. "You don't understand!" "NO you don't understand!" Miguel walks off saying 'I don't understand both.' Then Javier says, 'English people are mean' and walks off too. I was very sad after this.

I had just about forgiven them when at about 4am I could hear someone being sick. It was Miguel who was then rushed to hospital by Granny, who was supervising us whilst A and C are away for the night. I sleepily got up and went to see how Javier was. He was very sad saying he couldn't sleep, he was too worried. Oh dear. I obviously couldn't console him with words, and am too English to do more than pat his arm, so I suggested we watch tv. 

Only one shopping channel was working. "You want to watch on the Ipad?" "Ooh yes please". I nestled in hoping he had a good dubbed cartoon film or something. Oh no, it's Grand Theft Auto. Yes of course I'd love to watch you play that at 4.30am in the morning!

One thing that isn't inconsiderate is the amount of oil used in food. We have oil swirled in the soup, oil on toast, oil as a spaghetti sauce, oil in the cake recipes, tremendously oily tomato salad. It's very nice. I'm sure my skin is looking much juicier from it. Squeeze it and see when I get back. 




Thursday, 20 September 2012

Wash away Spain

Just so you know, I want a bath so badly. They don't have them in Spain. And when I get one I'll document the whole thing.

What food floats?


Tuesday, 18 September 2012

Ciabatta matter

We have been back in the house for a few weeks post beach, which is so much more relaxing. My sun punished skin has lots its tan. My hair braid is out. I don't have to meet ten new Spanish people a day. We have been quite normal and eaten lots of fish fingers and played lots of Playmobil. I can even now sing the entire theme tune to most American teen comedies (dubbed in Spanish). Most conversations go like this: Javier: 'I want to watch Phineas y Ferb!' Me: 'No, I like Austin y Ally, cartoons make feel ill when they move too fast!'

It's even got so normal that I've been enjoying occasionally leaving the sofa to go bike riding. It's a little bit annoying as Miguel makes us follow him and tests out all the routes first. "Stay there, watch me if it safe."
I've only had 18 yrs more experience than you- I think I can tell if the tiny hill is safe to ride down. And as Alex riding two miles ahead of me on our last bike ride will testify to you- I am more than safe with my breaks.
But for some reason they think they are in charge. "Frances come, Frances stay, Frances look, careful Frances!"

The only thing they've genuinely trail blazed me with is tomato on bread. You toast one slice of crusty ciabatta type bread. You swim it with extra virgin olive oil. If you're Ana you then add a layer of sugar. But if you're Javier you then ask for half a tomato and squeeze it all over like a lemon. Then you add a layer of ham off Harriet the kitchen pet pig. So delicious.

We had such a good day yesterday that they even said 'Stay with us?' as I made to slink upstairs at night. Err no. I'm got some deep thinking and deep vaselining to do in my room. It takes a while. 

Sunday, 16 September 2012

You'd forget your peg if it wasn't screwed on.

We just spent a very happy family evening making the invitations for Cristobal's upcoming grand soiree. We all had a little job like a factory line, but with glossy conditions and payment in fatty meat not 1 pence per hour.
 Cris wrote the words, Miguel printed them on white sticky paper, I cut them out in little strips, Ana stuck them on, and Javier scooped up the paper trimmings.
We stuck the words on clothes pegs along with the message "Que no se te vaya la pinza". It translates as don't forget your peg. Apparently, it is a Spanish expression about not forgetting the important thing. As without your peg you would fall off the clothes line, if you indeed were a piece of clothing.

Javier cutely said that this was the first time he had been allowed to help with invitations. As previously he wasn't any good at them. I feel for him. I can remember when Alex and I were making our 18th birthday invitations which were scanned into dollar bills. I wasn't allowed to do any cutting back then.

It's been a lovely evening after an awful day (Miguel and their cousin left Javier out of playmobil so he pushed Miguel in the cold swimming pool fully clothed. Everyone got so told off we were sad all day, and I was especially sad as Miguel made fun of me for not understanding something and then refused to tell me anyway).

As well as enjoying our cottage industry we enjoyed freshly made red grape juice along with our nightly cheese and ham AND Jennifer Paige Crush played on the radio. Best night of my life.


Friday, 14 September 2012

Braidzen girl

The inevitable has happened. I got a braid. I was concentrating so hard at dinner last night on deflecting  the onslaught of cheese and jam coming my way, whilst trying to remember the Spanish for 'thanks for a nice hol'. Concentrating so hard that I walked head first into the trap of admiring a 13 year old girl's leather hair braid with bells and shells on the end. "You want one?" "Erm, no, it's so beautiful, but I haven't got any money."
"You could ask Ana?" "Erm, no, I can't really, she's already too generous. I'm very sad but it's not to be."

I turned my head to deflect another plate of salt coming my way, and turned back just in time to see the girl whispering with her Mum, who was looking at me and smiling. Minutes later I was in a gaggle of pre teens hurtling towards the little fair nearby. "Are you sure it isn't closed? It is 1.30am." They eat really late, I haven't been exaggerating. "Nope, it's open, fantastic."
"Ten euros!!!!" I'm glad it's not me paying.

I kept it on for at least a day, and hacked it off the next with nail clippers with no small amount of my own hair.

It goes in my hair as well as ham goes dipped in freshly squeezed melon juice. Something else the children like here. I showed Bob the braid on skype and she was nearly sick so I'll leave a photo out. 

Wednesday, 12 September 2012

Seize the pudding!

Last day of the beach today, and like my sweet Sashy and Roast advise, I shall make the most of it.
I haven't had the chance so far as we have been sitting in our own sweat all morning waiting for Cristobal to come back from scuba diving. But I have been very good in that time trying to talk to the boys about their toy cars (ooh that one looks fast!) and not crying when the cleaners threw away my stash of melted Lindt.

Today we are going for lunch with our three best friend families who also holiday here every year. They have all been very sweet to me, practising their English more than can be fun on a two week break. The children, especially the girls, love testing me on my Spanish alphabet and 1-10, and are much less frightening than Javier and Miguel when I make mistakes. I have learnt the Spanish for "I like you pretty dress/hair braid/mood ring/ which goes down a treat.

I'm hoping lunch will be good. Last time we went to this place I misunderstood the pudding question and had to watch unhappily whilst everyone else but me ate chocolate bombe with raspberry icecream.
This time it shall be mine. Mwahahahah.



Sunday, 9 September 2012

Aphrobite

The mosquitoes don't strike often, but when they do it's hard. As I inspected how my beach bod was developing this morning, I realised I looked like I'd been punched.

Well, at least the mosquitoes touch me. On hols with friends Alex would plot strategic hugs for me so I felt loved enough to limit my unfortunate visits to Czech doctors.

Here, surrounded by loving families I am feeling a little lonely. I kept hearing this word "quieron", and wondered what it meant. It is never used on me and I was curious why. Oh, it means "my love". Well, not for me.
Cristobal has started giving me a playful slap on the neck as the children get, when we leave wet towels on the floor or don't finish our dinners. Ouch. But I don't get any of the loud smacking skin kisses that any child in range of an adult acquaintance gets.

Oh well, I shall carry on attempting to nestle into the crooks of waitor's arms as they pass me my fatty meat, and cuddling a 2L waterbottle at night (it's very hot here did I mention) pretending I'm camping next to Bob or Chaz's icy cheeks. So refreshing.

Friday, 7 September 2012

Dad diaries 2: Honey I drowned the kids

You will never guess what the Dadz did today! I was busy applying my suncream in great globs in anticipation of our beach trip, when I heard the door slam. Cristobal had responded too willingly to an impromptu suggestion by Dad No.2 and they were taking all the children on the boat. In less than tranquil weather. Oooff. Raised eyebrow, pursed lips ahoy!

Settled under a beach parasol with the other Mums we realised we could see the boat in our stretch of sea. A few pages of my book later I realised all the Mums had stood up and were speaking in tense tones. I couldn't tell you what they were saying but I used my emotional intelligence to sense they were worried about the boat, which was being thrown about somewhat. I could see some 7 year old heads bobbing about in the waves. Eventually a little dingy collected the vulnerable crew and deposited them back in the speedboat.

Ana said, 'Well, Cristobal thinks his friend's wife is irresponsible because she forgets to switch the oven on for dinner......" Huff puff.

And we found the Dadz and kids having a chocolate milk in a cafe raving about their adventure whilst the Mum's choked back their tears. It is lost to me in translation whether it was dangerous or an adventure.

Something else which I don't quite know what to think about is cheese with jam. It is appearing regularly as our starter at dinner.

I don't have a photo of it, any will do, but it is weird. It comes in four slices of spongy cheese ("What cheese is this? "Fresh cheese" "Oh"..) with little pots of blueberry, strawberry, blackberry jam and marmalade. 

Wednesday, 5 September 2012

The Dad Diaries

Spending so much time raising my eyebrows with my Mum colleagues I start to blame Dads for everything. Lets go to the cinema without checking the times. Or even if it still exists. Closed for 2012. Oh it must be the crisis. Pretty sure it was something to do with a Dad actually. Bike ride forgot to tell Mum about? Ok, lets go. Oh, now we've got four minutes to change before smart meal out.
Dinner finishes 3am, probably Dad's fault. The walk to it certainly was. Haven't you heard of taxis?

However, once we got to the restaurant it was absolutely amazing. I was trapped sitting at the end of the table with all four middle aged men but it was quite fun, and as the Mum belonging to the most English speaking one was at home caring for their sick child, I had some near comprehensive conversations. Usually I only hear their endless jokes as,

 "Que corriente mucho bien Yo Paco. Yhgu hfh yo tambien no yo Paco! Thghgh tampoco...
Thehgngngj espere mallo verdad estoy Claudia Schiffer!'

But Santi kindly translated them all for me this. Then we had the most enormous platter of steaks swimming in their own blood. I wish I could stop humanising meat.

This doesn't fit into the blog anywhere as it's not funny, mean, or vaguely about food, but on the way home we went past a circus was resting for the night. There were some elephants elegantly curling up some straw. I was sorry their dinner had come so late. As one of the Mum's would say sarcastically, 'the Dad's are always heroes, just because we stay out all night we see an elephant.."









Monday, 3 September 2012

The squids

No complaining today. More than four hours sleep does wonders for ones mood.
However, if anyone is missing my ungrateful poison, I will comment that the cleaners have stolen my old Weekend magazines. And one was mid crossword! How will I get through the next week of beach without old Lucy Mangan columns to keep my misery company?

I'm feeling quite chirpy today. I sprung out of bed, greeted the daily anxious 'Que tal?' with 'Estoy contenta' and was only slightly smug to hear that no one else had slept well. Oh well, I announced, I shall be the entertainment today! They smiled weakly as I skipped back to my bedroom to write some more things about them all.

As I was writing I found that Bob had written already 'time to take your braids out!' Well, Flobablob, you thought you were joking, but I have been wearing woven threads in British flag colours for a week now. Albeit in bracelet form, not hair. It was a new craze the children had, up until yesterday when they discovered pogs. I'm not joking.

Something else you may have thought I was making 'una broma' (possibly the Spanish for a joke) about was the muffins in milk filling every possible space between meals.

Exhibit A: Javier's breakfast. I smuggled my phone sweatily into breakfast in the band of my pants just so I could document this unseen.


After breakfast we played on the beach for a few hours until lunch. I tolerated Javier's sandcastle dictatorship, and still had the strength to pull him around on his surfboard for twenty minutes. "When is it my turn?" "My board! Go more fast. More fast. Bad girl. More fast."

Then we met their friends for a seafood feast. I had an excessive amount of seafood. Both the langoustines and squid have me lolling on my bed right now like Kirstie Alley playing a mermaid.

Although actually I don't think a sack of prawns agrees with me. Madre mia! I'm sure Kirstie Alley never moved this fast... 

Saturday, 1 September 2012

Worth my salt

I'm not coping very well on this holiday and I'm starting to think I'm luxury illiterate. I have painful earache from diving into the med too many times off their speedboat. My skin has come out in a very uncomfortable rash from the heady cocktail of 12 hours of daily sunshine and factor 50. Even on days I don't see the beach, about a spadeful of sand falls out of my bra when I get undressed.
Today I didn't realise that you're meant to suck the brains out of those big prawn things and they laughed at me. Really? But it tastes so strong. Yes, so does caviar, I imagine someone might have commented, if they could speak my language. I don't think I should be allowed to leave the apartment.

In return for all the glam I am trying to be the perfect guest. I am enthusiastic (often genuinely) about playing with the children. I didn't even complain when Javier hit me today. I overcame my small town sensibilities to teach them the lyrics to 'Blow my whistle, baby', on request. It felt wrong but it was better than hearing them mumble.
I don't wear any breasty clothes infront of the Dads, and I complain with the Mums about the Dads as best I can. Raised eyebrows and pursed lips are international.
I don't swim against the tide of breakfast times anymore- today I ate my breakfast churros and chocolate milk at 12.30pm. And because that wasn't filling enough, I added some whole wedges of cake to soak up the last of the milk.
I even let the top middle of my back burn so no one is burdened with having to apply my suncream.

I think you would agree that I am a pretty good guest. Possibly the hardest thing is pretending not to choke on their salads. I asked what the Spanish word for salty is today and a stray Dad told me it was salada. "You can remember it as it sounds like salad, and we put a lot of salt in our salads". Don't I know it! I shall pretend that's what got in my eye today not the salty sting of homesickness.


Friday, 31 August 2012

Globe trotter

At lunch the other day Uncle HerrZeus (how they pronounce Jesus, which is really his name), asked in Spanish what I thought of the whole pig's leg we keep on the sideboard. It was translated back to me and I made some sounds and smiles. He then added, apparently, that he thought English people look at it and see a pig, whereas Spanish just see ham.

He was completely right. I didn't tell him I had named it Harriet but I made some nodding motions to him.

I mostly ignored it when we were in the Madrid house, but right from the moment we arrived at the beach and I realised what was dragging from Javier's arms into the flat, it seemed more life life. I just felt so sorry for it. Bang, bang, bang. Trotter crashes into the lift door, trotter gets stuck on the door frame, the whole thing gets dropped on the floor.

It was worse when we got into the flat and I looked in the kitchen. There on the sideboard was last year's pet, thin and very distressed. Someone call the RSPCA! It looked like we left it with a gang of cats to maul it.

Here is a photo of when we went to the petshop to choose our new pig

I'll spare you a photo of the real thing as we've had it for a month now and it doesn't look well looked after. It puts its trotter in my face every morning as I reach into the muffin cupboard, saying 'Help me help', but alas, I think it's too late.


Wednesday, 29 August 2012

I don't give a fig about recycling

At the top of the third page of my paper diary, Bob has written, 'Don't write anymore on Spain or the kids, no one cares."
Oh. Well, attempting to adhere to this I have made three weeks of entries fit into this:
It fulfills three purposes:
1) My sweet kind Spanish family will never be able to understand the reams of bile about Spain due to me writing extra small, upside down above each line, and inserting many superflous "oh"s.
2) Maybe I'll go blind from trying to read back my notes for this blog, and then I can go home as I don't have hospital insurance here.
3) Oh, I am doing my bit for recycling.

The latter is UNLIKE the Spanish. Recycling isn't the latest trend here. Maybe they don't read The Guardian. I also think it is because they prize super-hygiene much higher than the environment and our great great grandchildren's life quality. They use plastic gloves more than I ever remembered to at work, apart from that time with all the bloody sanitary towels. They use them at petrol pumps to handle the nozzle, they use them at the supermarket to pick up their apples. The amount of plastic wrapping they use on vegetables I could use to suffocate myself if the heat doesn't get me first*. They clean the house, even the holiday house, every day with hoover and bleach. Well, obv my Spanish Mum doesn't do it herself, she has a cleaner, but still. They've washed my bedsheets more frequently so far this holiday than I do in a month. I look on askance, unsure whether to help or stare. They look on equally shocked as I eat a peach with the skin left on. "But someone might have touched it".

Well, the only fruit I don't mind laboriously peeling here is a fig. One of the Grannys gave us a large bucketfull at the start of the hol from the tree in their garden. I'm not very good at describing something that I actually like, but you could pick from anyone of these superlatives- they were dreamy/sweet as nectar/the most delicious thing I've ever stuck my face into.


*Please just stuff it into my mouth to stop me moaning about such a nice holiday.

Tuesday, 28 August 2012

Face like vinegar

Today I survived on 2 hours of sleep thanks to the oppressive heat. It was awful. Worse, was that the sweet family didn't believe it was just lack of sleep that was the problem. They thought they couldn't understand me. At one point I ended up being sat down to have my blood pressure taken at the local pharmacy. I had thought we were going to the beach.
"Esta fantastico". Yes I know, I'm just TIRED.

It was a very upsetting day. When i'm feeling bad I start to interpret things negatively. So, Cristobal forgets to ask me if I want a drink whilst we're go-karting, and i think, "well Ana did buy me some new shoes earlier, and that's quite a lot, so maybe that's the only thing I'm allowed today." Or they don't think that I might want a yoghurt for pudding at lunch, so I think "maybe they hate me." It's ever so confusing.

It's times like this that I really need to stop and cool down with some fresh Gazpacho. C's friend Oscar made it for us. It's got watermelon, cucumber, tomatoes, vinegar, red pepper, salt&pepper, and oil. It really soothed my fretful head.


And the best thing? The name doesn't need interpreting!