Week 31 of Gibraltar Diary

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Sunday 12th October 2008

In the early afternoon we decide to walk down to the other end of the peninsula to see the ship which has run aground. On the way we come across another ship in dry dock which is a start but unfortunately the police have cordoned off the entire southern area and we cannot even get within half a mile. We attempt to climb up higher in case the view improves but we get caught up in a rabbit warren of flats and we eventually admit defeat and head for the Rock Hotel which has been flooded but is still open.

Monday 13th October 2008

Last week the world's stockmarkets dropped by about 20%. This week, by way of a change, they have decided to go up again. Most of this is relief that the four horsemen of the Apocalypse had a problem with their Tom Tom and have decided to cut their losses and go home to catch up on some sleep. They will be back, however. My guess is that in two years time the FTSE100 will hit 3000 (at 4,500 as I write) and at that point the four horsemen will call it a day for the next 14 years and pseudo prosperity will return.

Meanwhile, wherever we go in Gibraltar we see evidence of the great storm of October 2008. The wall in the picture has NOT been damaged - it is a very old blast wall designed to deflect explosions upwards.

Tuesday 14th October 2008

Click on the part that interests you for bigger images

During the morning the crane transporter which we last saw a few months ago emerges from the mist and then disappears.

In the evening we walk over the border and wander up and down looking at ships wrecked in the recent storm.

Wednesday 15th October 2008

Having been here for a while I have become a little blasé (note the accent - I had to work hard to find that) about cruise ships - most days there is one parked up just the other side of Morrisons' (the apostrophe is there because it is short for Morrisons' supermarket - "the supermarket of Morrisons" - I think). My emotions have changed from "wow!" to "damn - the town will be full of tourists".

Anyway, this morning I look out and Costa Mediterranean sails into view and I grab my camera - I have to admit it looks good on the move (meaning that when parked up it looks like a block of flats). Actually, of course, I mean "moored up" but "parked up" has a certain je ne sais quoi. I had to look that up too.

In the late afternoon, we walk across to La Linea to collect a rental car but with terrible timing an Easy Jet flight and a coach have just arrived and we queue for border control and we queue for customs and we queue for the car. Finally we drive back to find somebody has parked in our space. Still, if that is the worst that happens then we will be all right (two words, not one). The car is bright red and very agile - it is a SEAT Leon or, more precisely, a SEAT León. Enough, already (one word, not two)

Thursday 16th October 2008

We still haven't driven the car anywhere but are told that our space is now empty so that is a start. Research shows that people who live in towns are much healthier than people who live in the country because us townies walk everywhere. This is not because of inate virtue but because if you live a few hundred yards from the centre it is the easiest option. If you want to make a fortune assume that people are lazy - how health club operators make a profit I have no idea (from the bar, I suspect - or by selling it to somebody else before the music stops).

The weather is perfect and walk into the centre to have a meal. We sit inside as the tables outside are covered in flies - a small price to pay for sunshine. Afterwards we walk down Main Street window shopping. Gibraltar is an ideal location for alcoholic drivers who smoke as all three vices are cheap to indulge - diesel is now 77p per litre. As for cigarettes assume "cheap" - and a litre of Baccardi costs less than £6.90 in Morrisons'.

Friday 17th October 2008

For some reason Gibraltar Harbour is exceptionally full of ships. Probably something to do with the weather or maybe they are all wondering where to go next?

Saturday 18th October 2008

Today we are up at the crack of dawn because a friend of ours is "making Batuka" at 11.00am in Casemates Square which is at least 7 minutes walk away. We have no idea what Batuka is but hope it will be delicious - possibly some kind of Japanese fish served on vine leaves by beautiful Geishas. Half way there it occurs to me that Batuka could be some kind of therapeutic raffia work and we are in danger of returning home carrying bundles of unusable table mats which will in due course block the refuse chute. We hurry on with a sense of forboding.

Imagine our surprise, therefore when we discover that Batuka seems to involve dancing girls and music of the sort used to empty nightclubs in the early hours. Fun though.

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