Week 56 of Gibraltar Diary

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Sunday 5th April 2009

Rather than walk up the Rock today we decide to walk to Aqua - a nice restaurant over the border. The round trip is about 5 miles so that makes us feel slightly less guilty. On the way we pass the land that is being reclaimed from the sea. Quite what the huge concrete blocks are for I have no idea.

Monday 6th April 2009

This is the first cruise ship I have seen since Christmas - I'm told that they don't come here until Spring has sprung.

Tuesday 7th April 2009

We set off for the El Barrilito in Tarifa where we have two half baguettes filled with four different interesting fillings together with two packets of crisps and a can of 7-Up. All for 9.90 euros. Even more astonishing is that included in this figure is a conversation with a breathtakingly beautiful girl - actually, in our case this consists of us pointing and her smiling. OK, so more looking bored than smiling but you get the idea.

There seem to be several different girls all equally gorgeous. As you would expect, these little houris are all guarded by a terrifying dragon - so beware or your baguette could end up being lightly flambéd with a hint of burnt trouser.

Wednesday 8th April 2009

We go off to see some people in Marbella but they seem to have disappeared - where can they be?

Oh good! They have not been eaten and so we have a few drinks and go to an Indian restaurant where I have a beginner's curry and the rest of the party have grown up food.

We drive back in the dark (very slowly) using our specially masked headlights.

Thursday 9th April 2009

Gibraltar has many virtues (such as the general lack of grafiti and vandalism) but one of its faults is that it is still living in a protectionists past - in order to open a business you have to advertise the fact and competitors can object! This means that many businesses are complacent to the point of arrogance - including taxis. We get in one and he refuses point blank to turn off the radio so we get out and walk.

In fairness, the taxi business should be regulated and the taxis all respond to one central number which is very handy. The fares are very reasonable and generally it is cheaper to get a taxi than walk as it stops you buying odds and ends.

When we get back we have spent over £40 on miscellaneous stuff - including a book for £25 called Extraordinary Uses for Ordinary Things: 2, 209 Ways to Save Money and Time. Actually, the best way to "Save Money and Time" is very simple: avoid going to bookshops.

Friday 10th April 2009

The book gives 65 uses for bleach (Sodium Hypochlorite) but for some reason does not mention how it can be used to manufacture chloroform. It's quite easy and you could then impress all your friends by doing a bit of amateur surgery around the place.

Watch out for phosgene because that could easily kill you but most fun activities have risks. Also during the distillation process be careful that you don't pass out through fumes and then be killed in the subsequent explosion. Who said chemistry is boring?

If you are still there, we eat at La Higuera which is just outside Ronda on the Marbella Road. The meal is very good but there are no newspapers today because it is a public holiday (Easter Friday) so we inevitably look around the restaurant for subjects of interest to discuss. And we come back to the mystery of why traditional Spanish buildings are built like fortresses - every window heavily barred and four massive hinges on the door. Maybe historically they were plagued by brigands? A bit like the UK today.

Saturday 11th April 2009

We drive to PC City in Los Barrios only to find that a single cartridge for our HP1600 printer costs 114.95 euros. Since it needs four in total this is even more ludicrous than the £75 charged by the Beacon Press in Gibraltar.

From there we drive to Primark in Jerez but this is an even bigger waste of time. Firstly, we cannot find it (it is about half a mile from the Zoo) and then we cannot park. The store maps are useless because they do not tell you where you are. The ladies toilets are closed for cleaning, to buy a pair of sunglasses means queuing for an hour and there is nowhere to sit as the coffee shops are all full of exhausted refugees with their legs crossed.

We drive home and that is fun as the road is empty, dry and interesting. Why didn't we stay in our flat with its gorgeous view over the bay? Because, to quote Blaise Pascal "All of man's troubles stem from his inability to sit alone, quietly, in a room for any length of time." You got it right there, Blaise.

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      End of Week 56 of Gibraltar Diary

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