Thursday, January 21, 2016

A swim, a haircut and a moonlight movie

One of the things that we don't like about the Port is our lack of access to movie theatres. So on Friday night we were quite thrilled to go to the Moonlight outdoor theatre to see Quentin Tarrantino's The Hateful Eight. Here you are assigned a couch in the theatre with blankets, which were needed since the show started at 9:30 and went on for three hours. Our enthusiasm was well dampened by the film, a sort of Agatha Christie meets Sergio Leone with more violence and disgustingness than you could imagine. What on earth was going on in Tarrantino's head?

On Saturday the rollers were 1.6 meters which made for a short but exciting swim. Fortunately, we have a 50-meter pool in our complex. This was a bit of a wake up call since all of our swimming is done in the sea. We both felt like sludge in the water but with each day we feel better.

We are exploring Gran Canaria with an eye to moving here. The warm 30-degree days are very enticing. Yesterday we visited San Augustine on the other side of the sand dunes. The beach was more volcanic but the water was calmer. This seems to be a Swedish enclave. Wherever we move we want a 50-meter pool. This may be a challenge. Although there are over thirty microclimates on the island the southern end is really a rocky desert and not terribly attractive.

Yesterday the next door neighbour came and cut my hair. With his Vidal Sassoon training he made a lovely job of it. He is a wonderful resource about the area. Since he and his wife are Italian and food is always important to Italians he gave us some tips on where to shop and where to eat.

Today was spent waiting for the DHL man to deliver our amazon books. It may have been a fruitless wait since it is nearly seven o'clock now. There is no easy access to this complex so this could be complicated. We need the books soon so we don't have to take them home with us. Who would have thought that holiday living could be so complicated?

Saturday, January 16, 2016

We begin our winter getaway in Gran Canaria

We have escaped our village and gone to Meloneras, Gran Canaria. What a difference, with balmy temperatures reaching 34 degrees during the day and not falling much below 20 overnight. This is much better than listening to the howling tramontana during the winter months. And we have left behind the crazy house we live in. Just before we left we once again went to the agency to complain about yet another leak in the guest bedroom after rain. Yesterday we received a message all about the ventilation causing condensation because of the way the house was built. The architect, builder and owner of the two houses have reached some agreement that work will be done to stop the condensation. We are only left shaking our heads. It rains, it leaks. Soon it won't be our problem as we will be gone from there.

After a couple of stressful days shopping, which in Spain means going to several supermarkets to buy what you want we are all set up. We did visit a large market but it didn't have a lot of fruit and veg, instead lots of touristy things to buy. Then the trunk of our car wouldn't lock so it was back to the airport to swop cars.

We are living in a very nice townhouse complex just behind one of the big hotels. This particular part of Meloneras is not as busy as the main part. We've had a couple of swims in the sea but yesterday there were some quite big rollers. We had to swim out beyond them to find calmer water. There was a siting of a hammerhead shark off some nameless beach here in the south. The article went on to say how shy the hammerhead was and was only in close because people weren't swimming that day......cut to Jaws music. Today the rollers were too strong to go swimming. We did see a man in a wetsuit with a float attached to him floating out in the middle of the rollers and getting hit by some. I thought it was a bit strange but maybe it would be fun.

Last night we celebrated Seamus' birthday by going to an Indian restaurant. That may be a bit odd but we don't often get the chance of eating Indian. Walking along the promenade and in the restaurant there was quite a mix of people. There are a lot of Germans and Norwegians here as well as some Brits. The Italians are always evident when we are out walking as they are out on their evening passeggiata and usually zoom by us.

Each morning we sit out on our front terrace and eat breakfast. Every day a local goes by with a trolley selling fresh bread and free-range eggs. Both are very good. I asked the lady next door where she got her hair styled as a I really liked the cut. A few minutes later she returned with her husband who turns out to Vidal Sassoon-trained. Even better, he will cut my hair. My last cut in Figueres is not working. I felt like a bit of a celebrity as I told him of meeting and chatting with Vidal when he opened his Toronto shop many years ago. "Wash and wear," my new Spanish friend said. This used to be a Vidal mantra. He will cut my hair in the next few days. I hope this works out or it could be an uncomfortable living next door to him.

A couple of times we have walked along the promenade to the start of the big sand dunes but it has always been dark when we arrived there. Today we drove to the other end of the massive dunes and walked along the promenade to a tourist information office, where we stocked up on all kinds of info about the island. The waves weren't as big as at our beach so we will venture there the next time we have big rollers. Our swim today was in the empty 50-meter pool in the complex. It has been a while since we swam in a regular pool so it was a bit of a shock to feel like such a sludge but by the end it felt quite good. At least there were no hammerheads in there.

Sunday, January 10, 2016

Tranquil weather perfect for walking

Life in the village has been pretty quiet over most of the Spanish holiday season. Christmas Day was dead with only one place open for coffee. This was quite unusual. On Boxing Day things picked up and lots of French people were here for the day. Restaurants and bars were open and doing a brisk business.

The weather has been amazing with very little wind for over a month. This meant that we have done lots of walks on La Ronda to the lighthouse and back. My favourite walks were around Cadaques walking towards Port Lligat passing lots of sandy and rocky coves. A couple of times we even saw some brave, lone swimmers. They must have come from northern climes since the water is 15 or 16 degrees. Brrrr.

New Year's was quiet. Strangely the church bells didn't ring at midnight. The priest must have been asleep. In Spain you eat a grape at each gong of the bell for good luck. This involves peeling and deseeding  the grapes before midnight so that you can swallow them quickly. We made our own  gonging sound and ate the grapes at the same time. The next day we saw a family had gone in the water for their version of a Polar Bear swim. Having done that in White Rock in brutally cold water we didn't feel compelled to try it here.

Sadly, Los Reyes was rainy and windy so the Three Kings arrived in town on a float pulled by a Guardia police van rather than the traditional fishing boats. Even in the bad weather there was a magnificent fireworks display before all the village children went to the ballroom for the presents that the Kings handed out.

The rain on that day caused further damage in our spare bedroom, more blistering in the ceiling and walls, cracks and mould. This has been going on for over a year now. We report it to the agency, who tell the owner. Photos are sent. We have showed the owner but all to no avail. The owner is fighting with the builder who won't repair the leaking terrace gratis. He blames the architect. Both our house and the owner's next door are the same, both leaking.  As the story goes it is too costly to repair. The owners are lovely people but it doesn't say much about their commitment to us as renters. Since we know we will be moving soon we have given up caring about it. Tomorrow we are off on our travels again so we have asked the agency people to check that the ceiling doesn't cave in when it rains as it will in the next month or so. We have removed our mattress and pictures from the room. Who knows maybe it will be repaired by the time we return. Ha ha.

Our packing is done and everything is tied down. Today we had such strong southerly winds that the bbq went rolling off, the laundry took flight and the outdoor furniture went whizzing across the terrace. We know the weather is about to turn a little cooler here but with our bathing suits packed it doesn't matter.