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Old 11th July 2006, 01:27 AM   #1
Alan
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Hi folks. i'm sitting on my balcony after an evening of altogether too much wine. My girlfriend has gone to bed and i've been left here to ponder the world. I've come to the conclusion that it's not such a bad place

We arrived on Saturday night. the bus that was meant to take us to our 'allocation on arrival' hotel was too full to carry us. Lucky for us - there were four stops before we arrived at our hotel. A minibus was hired to take 6 of us to our hotel on the west of Menorca, near Ciutadella, the old capital. I didn't cath the woman's name, but she took us from east to west of the isla in a surprisingly short time. she was very stressed looking and I gave her a 3€ tip.

We arrived in time for dinner, which closed at 10. What a greeting, I thought. as I helped myself to some paella de vermicelli (!!). But it was very nice. I was surprised by the clientelle in the hotel restaurant, mostly Spanish or Italian. This is not what I'm used to when I think of a package holiday! I assured myself that this was to do with the time of day. The Spanish eat later and the English had their dinner at 5pm...

The next morning I found that this was not so. In fact there was barely an English speaker to be found, save the receptionists. I was delighted to find that most of the residents were Spanish. Great, Then they won't accept any crap We pretty much spent the day lazing around - fair enough given the story I can't be bothered to type out on my mobile phone.

So today, we got up and had breakfast. We then went to swim a la playa, a small cala full of, but not overcrowded with, holidaymakers. I wanted to leave, but was persuaded to stay by my girlfriend, and i'm now quite burnt. My usual strategy is to hide from the sun.

At about 4.30 we decided to get some lunch - dinner is served until about 10.30pm. We went to a restaurante overlooking the cala called the Miramar. We went in looking forward to some nice fishy dishes and ended up ordering lasaña and espaguetis. My lasaña was cold and I was concerned about my girlfriend's spaghetti. It was full of prawns and other random seafood. I called the waiter.

''sta fria' I said.
'¿fria?'
'si, fria.'

I allowed him to take it away while my girlfriend chewed on her prawny spaghetti. I waited. Nada. I waited some more, and still nada. My girlfriend finished her meal before I had really started mine. And NOW he decided to return with my reheated lasaña. How tempting.

'No lo quiero' I said.

I was greeted by Menorquín rambling. I assumed he was just confirming that no, I did not want the reheated lasagne. And I'm pretty sure he told us to **************** off.

Lovely, I thought. Our first venture outside the hotel for a meal and we've been told where to go. In my typical Scottish manner, I shouted after the fleeing waiter that I would pay for the spaghetti, but I was greeted with a Parisian shrug. Fine, crap food, but at least I got a free beer from you

I was not impressed with the food, but he could have been nicer about it. At least, I thought. we'll not be taken for mugs

in whole though, I have found the people here (both the staff and holidaymakers) to be very friendly and helpful. But if you don't speak Spanish it is difficult to get what you want.

It's more of a rambling than a post, but I hope it's useful/enjoyable. I'll try to post tomorrow if I can persuade the reception staff to allow me to charge my phone!

al
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Old 11th July 2006, 08:14 AM   #2
Ben
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Thanks Alan, I hope the food situation improves, but apart from that it sounds like you have ended up in the right place! Some time you'll have to tell us how you post from your mobile too, I'm intrigued. I hope you are taking lots of pics to show us later too!

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Old 11th July 2006, 12:14 PM   #3
Brian
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Good for you, Alan, that you didn't take being taken! Sounds like being in Spain is a perfect fit for you. Enjoy your holiday.
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Old 11th July 2006, 02:22 PM   #4
Alan
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please excuse the lack of capital letters and punctuation. i'm typing from my phone. well, it's more of a computer than a phone it runs windows. I have net access at all times, but I'm probably paying a fortune for it.

we're going to take a trip into ciutadella tomorrow. i'll take some photos there and there is a pay-as-you-go computer in the reception. i'll try to get some photos up soon.

we'll have a car on friday and through the weekend. we'll take a trip over to maó and to a beach which is known for its clay. think of lucia y el sexo

one thing you can't fail to notice is the number of birds. they're all over the place from the wee sparrow ones which share the pool, and the cala had a family of ducks.

it really is a lovely place.
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Old 11th July 2006, 04:28 PM   #5
Marina
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Seems like you are ejoying the holidays, also I'm very "proud" that you complained in the restaurant. I think quality of food and service can really improve if people complain when things are not right.

I'd love to see some pics when you are back!!!
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Old 14th July 2006, 07:22 AM   #6
Alan
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It's proving more difficult to get my photos online than I thought. It may have to wait until I get back. There is a pay as you go computer in the hotel but it doesn't have a USB port. The hotel staff don't seem to understand what it is and insist that is has one. I wonder how long it takes for them to find the power switch on the office computers. My mobile phone doesn't plug into the wall - I need a USB port. I tried to explain this to the receptionist and she pointed to the computer in the lobby. Yes, I was expected to wait for hours while it charged.

I find it very funny that technology is just not as prevalent here. When the receptionist finally understood why I wanted her to take it she was very embarrassed and helpful.

I'm watching the TV. Hundreds of young men are being chased down the street by about a dozen bulls. There is a clock on the corner of the screen, presumably waiting to report the time of the first fatality. There seem to be four injuries - three of them from horns and one from falling down a set of stairs.

We were told in Scotland that the bus service was terrible here. Compared to what, I wonder. Seems pretty good to me, and if we're going by Scottish standards they're positively luxurious. The seats in Scotland are so close together, designed by a pissed off midget determined to get revenge on the world. They are programmed such that the heating system breaks in the winter but they always manage to fix it in time for the summer when it is no longer required. And you get no change.

Here the buses arrive every half hour to an hour (not bad when you remember the population of the island). When you step on, they are like fridges which is very welcome. Yesterday it was 35 degrees.

10 mins on the bus took us into Ciutadella, the old capital. It's a lovely town and if you can possibly visit, you should. Of course, it's very touristy but that's to be expected from an island on which everyone depends directly or indirectly on tourism. We had a lovely lunch of calamares, patatas bravas, pimientos al padrón and cuttlefish. I have a photo of it and I'll post it when I can.

We wanted to visit some of the touristy stuff but the siesta hours of 13h to 17h are so well respected that during those hours, it is impossible to do any shopping and only possible to eat crisps. We didn't get to see anything and the tourist office shut too.

Through the old streets you are reminded of Italy; Small closes that you could reach across and hand a pot of coffee to your neighbour and probably smell what they're making for dinner.

Ciutadella port is very picturesque. The waters are full of fish - a waiter very keen on practising his English informs me that they are mullet. We got a couple of very expensive 'you're paying for the view' drinks and the waiter supplied us with bread. As word got round the port that there was a Scots tourist giving away bread, larger and larger fish arrived. Again, I have some pictures.

The staff of the retaurant were out to have their lunch and talking about whatever girl they had seen passing (¡guapa, guapa, guapa!). We talked about the decline of tourism in Menorca, the similarity of the Scots and the Irish to Asturians, and a mutual hatred of the French (the final 's' of 'los franceses' was hissed) . I actually don't hate the French but it felt good to walllow in the latest World Cup exit. The chef told me how Ciutadella basically shuts in the winter and that he goes fishing then. I don't know if I could take 6-8 months of fishing . . .

Anyway, I'm going to get ready to go to Fornells. ¡ciao!
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