Ah! Just when you thought it was safe to go back to your PC, I'm back with yet more illiterate drivel! But first a correction; Part two should have read Friday, not Saturday, just in case you thought you'd lost count! Anyhow, two for the price of one today so it's Sundays carryings on first:
Rejected the considerable lure of a full on Irish breakfast this morning for a bit of continental at the kitchen bar then it was up to the roof terrace to do what we came here for, namely sunbathing! Ok, there's other stuff we came to do as well but that sure as hell ain't going in no diary! Anyhow, the temperature is absolutely divine - around 24 in the mornings rising to nearly 30 late afternoon. Just perfect when you are adjusting from a cold miserable winter in the UK.
Lunchtime was upon us and a stroll around the shops as a new pair of Speedos was called for. Things were getting a bit saggy - the Speedos that is not the body, however it does seem strange as I get older that size medium seems to be getting smaller - pass the tape measure!
More rays in the afternoon then a nice evening meal at an English owned restaurant - pate, Cajun chicken and apple crumble for me, Trev done the lamb roast and treacle sponge. All finished off with coffee and brandy - very enjoyable.
More entertainment on offer this evening, this time in the little bandstand in the square on which our apartment overlooks. A German duo were doing the honours, one on the keyboards and sax, the other on flute and vocals performed a varied selection of songs making for a very pleasant atmosphere. The crowd in the restaurants below certainly enjoyed it.
On to Monday, decided to take a break from the relentless toil of sunbathing and instead head up to the capital Las Palmas for a wander around and a bit of retail therapy. We picked Lawrence up from Ingles about 10am and an hour or so later where weaving our way through the side streets trying to find that all elusive parking space. Eventually we found one and having checked that it wasn't going to break the bank we parked up and headed off to what is nearly always our first port of call; the department store that is El Cortes Ingles. Caffeine levels were restored at the café on the top then we headed down the escalators to see what was on offer. Almost immediately Trevor found what I had been looking for - a smart leather blazer - and at a reasonable price. A note to Roy here - no sign of that beautiful longer leather coat that we saw here four years ago, however I'm sure you will like this one, and will make sure you see it when we catch up on our return. Five minutes later and several Euros lighter we headed back outside where it had started raining.
Las Palmas can be like this. It can be brilliant sunshine down south yet near arctic conditions in the capital, ok maybe not quite arctic but a lot cooler and sometimes wetter! We got talking to a Canarian on the flight over - he hails from Las Palmas but now lives and works in London and said it had always been the same.
So decide to cut short our visit and headed back south, the rain vanishing at almost the same time as we crossed the city boundary!
Dinner this evening was at the bizarrely named Zoo Bar - which promised the best burger in Mogan - I can't confirm this as I've not tried 'em all (yet!) but it was very tasty - proper ground beef and all the trimmings. No room for desert tonight!
Tuesday was in diary terms pretty boring - but for us it was great. Late start, leisurely breakfast, sunbathing, snack lunch, more sunbathing, shower, shave, restaurant, food, nightcaps (several) then bed. See, told you it was boring!
Hardly watched any TV here, not that we are that bothered. There is a satellite dish on the roof but the cable has been chopped off half way down the wall. A tiny Spanish equivalent of a Freeview box is perched on top of the TV. Selecting this produces thirty plus channels of crystal clear programming - unfortunately all in Spanish (funny that) so not a lot of good to us. Selecting 'normal' TV produces just one English channel - and that’s the American version of CNN. There is some international news on though.
The entertainment vehicle of choice though without doubt has been the laptop - its has copies of all my cd's (and some LP's, yes I am that old!) and I always load on some films and TV programmes in case we get bored. Wi-Fi is a bit patchy, you can get it for free at the aforementioned Irish bar, but even more usefully, if you position the laptop at a certain angle in the window overlooking the square you can still pick up their signal. Some days it's really good and I'm getting download speeds similar to at home. Other times it's barely faster than dial-up. Mostly though its adequate for surfing the net, catching up on the news and watching the pound continue to nose dive against the Euro! More usefully it allows me to bombard you all with this rubbish!
Today was more interesting - well, we thought it was but judge for yourself. We caught the first boat of the day from Mogan harbour for a short trip along the coast to some of the other southern resorts. The sun was shining (yes, again - sorry to rub it in!) so it promised to be a good day out.
The first and only port of call, apart from the destination, was Puerto Rico. A nice enough beach where you can smell the flesh cooking, it has giant hotels and absolutely no character whatsoever. However there are boats that will take you whale and dolphin watching, which gives me the perfect opportunity to relay a tale of our visit here four years ago:
We had booked a cruise, departing from the capital Las Palmas just after new year. Roy was joining us for this one, the plan being to have a couple of days in the capital, do the cruise then head down to Playa Del Ingles for a bit of r & r before returning home. Flights and accommodation either end of the cruise was duly booked.
The cruise was then cancelled - it was a charter thing and presumably they hadn't sold enough tickets so they knocked it on the head. The airline, showing their usual contempt for the very people that keep them in business wouldn't help so were left with ten days to kill in Las Palmas. One of those was taking the fast ferry to Tenerife which was fun, another was a day trip down to Puerto Rico....
I'd given upon shorts a couple of days previously as the weather in the capital was being its usual wet and chilly miserable self. However when we were deposited at the Puerto Rico bus station I felt a bit silly. What was this strange phenomenon? Sun? Warmth? Can't be right.
Anyhow, cheered by this we decided to stroll around to the quayside and see what boat trips were on offer. Whale watching trips were in abundance and since the only whales any of us had seen where on the beach we handed over our Euros and jumped on. Now I'm not kidding you, almost immediately the boat left the confines of the harbour the sun went in, and within minutes all of us were bloody freezing.
The boat seemed to go out for miles - 'sophisticated whale spotting gear' was the tagline on the a-board at the quayside as we got on. What this meant in reality was the skipper performing a balancing act at the front of the boat peering through a pair of rusty binoculars with a fat cigar clamped between his chops. All we ever saw was a couple of dead fish and a bit of driftwood - and got bloody frozen as well!
Right, back to the present. The end of the line, so to speak was the fishing town of Arguineguin. Hardly any tourist development here but a pleasant enough place in which to stop for lunch - which we did. Pictures to follow tomorrow.
Back at Mogan, more afternoon sun was on offer which was gratefully accepted. At the time of typing it's nearing beer o'clock and the first of the day - honest. Dinner tonight is at the Irish (ish) bar from whom we rented the apartment. They are showing some football that we want to see so we could be there a while......
Yes, there's more!
Well in the end we watched three football matches simultaneously - for the record, Everton beat Chelsea, Aston Villa & Man Utd drew and Arsenal beat Liverpool. No Sky Sports here, tonight's action was courtesy of a combination of Spanish and Arabic TV channels - aint technology wonderful? Anyhow the beer was good but the food better; sausage & mash for Trev and fillet of beef stroganoff for me - delicious.
Thursday morning and for the first time since we've been here we woke to cloud. So with bellies filled we headed for the little Clio and into the valley to do some sightseeing. Mogan village was en route as was a number of idyllic settlements a world away from the tourist traps on the south coast. Our drive took us through some spectacular scenery as the road wound it's way through the mountains before delivering us to the tiny coastal town of Punta de la Aldea. Money has clearly been spent here on the promenade and surrounding areas in the hope of attracting some tourist pounds and Euros. However I'm not sure that the two dozen or so of us that were here today will make much difference - even though we probably doubled the population! Credit where it's due though, I had the best coffee of the whole trip on a little cafe overlooking the bay. The owner clearly knows his customers too - Trev went in to pay and he was shown a photo album full of said owner posing in some Mr Universe type of competition. Lots of extremely large bronzed rippling muscle, and a trophy behind the bar to show for his efforts.
We headed further up the west coast again along more mountain hugging roads affording terrific views of the sea. One minor irritation however; the dreaded white van man is at large here too. Now these roads can be tricky - they are narrow and you only protected from certain death by a skinny crash barrier and careful driving. The WVM's clearly don't like meandering tourists getting in their way and will honk, flash and tailgate you until they see the tiniest opportunity to squeeze past. Idiots, though I suppose to be fair they know the road better than we do.
Passing the town of Agaete from which the giant jet cat leaves for Tenerife several times a day then right around the top, we brushed the outskirts of Las Palmas before heading back south, stopping only in San Agustin for what turned out to be an extremely overpriced snack on the way back.
It was mid-afternoon by the time we returned. It was still cloudy so short of something to do I decided to paint my toenails! Black, obviously and with a cheap bottle of nail varnish procured I set to work. Now I quite like it although it's probably the nearest I ever get to my feminine side. Must be something to do with wanting to be a Goth when I was younger. The black leather and PVC was clearly the attraction, but I never had the hair for it and anyhow I couldn't be doing with the miserable music. My tastes were and are much different - how many Goths listen to James Brown or the Bee Gees?
This little anecdote however does give me the chance to relay another story from the past and the things we get up to when away from home.......
It was 1995 and our first trip to Australia - and my longest time away from home at the time too. We were there principally for the cricket but to do some travelling as well and in-between matches we found ourselves in Alice Springs, right in the 'Red Centre'. We had three days there and when we arrived it was raining. Even the Todd River, which runs through the centre, was flowing and this is very rare. They say that if you see it flowing twice you must be a local. The next day it rained too but our last full day presented brilliant sunshine, so with the mercury climbing to over 40 degrees we headed to the motel swimming pool. Swimming pool is perhaps not an accurate description. Bird bath would be closer to the mark, however it provided a welcome relief from the searing heat. All this jumping in and out of the pool had worked up a thirst so we ambled over to the bottle shop to buy a six pack (if only 'twere that easy to get a real six pack!). A short while latter we went for another. And Another. And Another. Then we decided I needed a haircut. My hair at the time wasn't long but a bit wavy and no amount of gel, wax or hairspray could reign it in. So Trev set to work, first with the clipper attachment on his ageing Phillishave then with a Bic and eventually I had my new look - and it weren’t bad either although it did look a little odd. We'd been in Oz for about three weeks by now and had gotten quite substantial tans - so my head looked something like a reverse fried egg! As most will know, I don't keep it quite that short now, but apart from one time a few years back when I decided to let it grow again, I've had essentially the same haircut ever since - there was no grey in them days though! Attached is the picture taken 'the morning after'!
So, back to the present. Showered, shaved and with toenails gleaming we headed out for our evening meal. Pizza was a distinct possibility this evening and we found a busy little Italian restaurant just off the square below our apartment. There were tables free on the terrace outside so we sat down. And Waited. By the door there was one of those vertical strips which displays the symbols of the types of credit card the establishment accepts. At the bottom was also the rainbow flag, the international gay symbol. So presumably you can pay with your Visa, MasterCard and homo. Interesting!
The reason for the rainbow became obvious however after, when what seemed like the next millennium had past, the owner flounces up and dramatically drops two menus on to our table. Another millennia passed and he returned to take our order and eventually we got our pizzas. They were delicious, no question but I'm not sure weather they were worth the wait. I'm not sure too whether I'd want to patronise a place where the owner seems to treat his customers with such disdain. Perhaps he should work for an airline, an easyjet uniform would have suited him!
"They think it's all over....", and it nearly is, as I'm typing this on the plane following our take off from Gran Canaria about fifteen minutes ago.
We arrived at the airport in good time, and having dumped the rental car in the designated bay we headed to the departure terminal. There was no need to look at the departure board to see we needed to check in, we just looked for the longest queue! Sure enough, right at the end of the departure hall, was a queue snaking around the corner. A glance at the screen confirmed this was for our flight, it also confirmed an as yet unspecified delay. Great!
Soon though, check-in was open and we look on longingly as those needing assistance were ushered to the front of the queue. If only HRH had come with us we wouldn't have had to wait as long. Mind you she would have needed two seats.....
Anyway, half an hour or so later we were heading to security having been advised at the desk that the delay was likely to be an hour or so due to bad weather at Gatwick.
Once past security however the screens suggested only a twenty minute delay, this was later extended to thirty five minutes - we actually took off almost exactly one hour late in the end. The captain came into the cabin to apologise for the delay advising us that it was due to shortage of pilots, not bad weather as previously advised. What honesty - and from easyjet too! He also hoped that we had coats and jumpers to hand as it would be very cold on our arrival back in the UK. Those travelling on to Kent and East Sussex (us!) would also have snow to deal with. Cheerful Git! Cue another backlog of parcels to deal with tomorrow. Just hope that the car starts.
Anyhow, winding back a bit. Not much to report on or last couple of days here. In truth it was probably time to leave anyway, the weather turned on our last full day here and the long range forecast suggests more wind and rain to come. It also appears that half term school holidays are starting as the number of kids has swelled significantly in the last few days. Still we had a great time, and got exactly what we came for; rest, relaxation and a bit of sightseeing all under a clear blue sky - most of the time anyway.
We love it here. It's the second time we have stayed and will no doubt be back, although we may try one of the other islands next year. Those looking for a holiday home here better have deep pockets - a one bedroom apartment in 'Little Venice' will cost something in the region of £200,000 - over twice the price of most places on the island. A two bedroom one, well appointed will set you back nearly half a million. All donations gratefully received!
Well that’s about it, the food trolley is making its way ever so slowly down the aisle - hopefully there will be something left by the time it gets to us! Cheers until the next time.