Sunday, July 15, 2007

Chiringuito Horror

We went for lunch at a nearby chiringuito yesterday. To my horror I had just poured oil on the salad only to discover that there were ant like creatures floating about it. When I told the waitress, her response was that it didn't do anything and she begrudgingly replaced the salad or should I say she took it off for a few minutes, shook it about and brought it back to the table. Needless, to say I now have a bad tummy from eating there.

Last night a friend and I went to see the latest Harry Potter film at the Puerto Banus cinema. It is on in English every night this week at 7.30.


Yesterday we went to Seville which is not recommended at the height of summer!The thing is it was an opportunity to meet up with a friend from university who now lives in Cyprus. She is currently doing an organised tour of Spain with her husband and adorably cute little girl whom I had never met before. We had to catch them before they headed up north. The heat was sickly and unbearable and according to the street clocks, it was reaching 42 degrees!! Desperate not to walk about too much, we did the horse and carriage ride which takes you through the stunning and shaded Maria Luisa park. It costs 40 euros so fill up the carriage with people to get your money's worth! Still dying from heat exhaustion, our only other escape was another trip. This time we did a boat ride down the river Guadalquivir (think that's how it is spelt).I recommend this too and they do them right up into the night. It was 15 euros each and children go free. The ride lasts about an hour and there is a recorded tour guide.

I was surprised how many Starbucks have sprung up in Seville since the last time we visited. In fact we counted three within the space of walking for less than five minutes. They are surprisingly popular even with the spanish who I thought would be loyal to their own traditional bars. I have to say the air conditioning inside was really appreciated as were the hygienically wrapped fresh sandwiches and muffins and the refreshing choice of drinks. Justin and I both had dodgy tummies so we weren't up to taking any risks with tapas.

On the way there I had a big go at a guy chucking his rubbish out of the window whilst driving along. He just laughed at me and probably though stupid, crazy guiri. I don't know but that kind of ignorance really annoys me and I bet his own house is like a palace inside. How irresponsible and he was about forties, decent car, couple of children in the back. He looked like a respectable, well dressed sort of person but obviously a selfish creature.

Anyway coming back Justin managed to get us lost and we ended up coming back the coastal route via Conil, Tarifa etc which I didn't mind but was starving having only eaten the said sandwich for lunch. I must get him a sat nav for Christmas and he would rather suffer it out at the wheel than let me drive!

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

The Summer Sales

I decided to take a trip to Dunnes in Fuengirola or as I like to call it Fungirola! I let the girls stay off summer school so that I wouldn't have to rush back like a mad woman down the N340 to get back for two.

I headed straight for the homeware section to see what was on sale. They hadn't marked much down except for a few duvet cover sets many of which were 35 euros for a double down to 15. What struck me was how tense the staff looked and they were actually busy instead of stood around chatting to each other. Eventually I saw an Irish looking man dashing about with papers and important looking stuff. That explained it, he was obviously one of the Dunnes guys over from Ireland. Well, I picked a good day.I found a mini bookcase, perfect for CDs.It was on display and a bit marked so I asked the girl if they had any more.She replied that they didn't. My concern was getting it back to Manilva since it was cream and could easily mark so I asked if there was a box that she could put it in.Her reply was no. I then noticed some marks and I pointed them out. She told me to wait and she brought out the said Irish man who spoke pretty good Spanish. He was very polite and asked what the issue was. I explained the box issue and that it was marked. The girl then licked her finger and started rubbing at the marks to try to prove that they would come out! The Dunnes guy then turned around and to my joy demanded that the bookcase be wrapped up and that they give me a 20euro discount. I was so triumphant as I had got what I wanted with a discount, completely wrapped in bubblewrap and they even lifted it and put it into a trolley for me. Now, I bet that wouldn't have happened if my Irish knight in shining armour hadn't been there!

I also managed a quick mooch around the sales with the promise of a Burger King and a couple of goes on the rides there. Well, if you are thinking about going to the sales, don't bother as they are such a let down.How they can call it sales I don't know. A seasonal sale to me is about making big savings not ten or twenty per cent. In Zara, a jacket that was originally 40 euros is marked down to 30.The thing is the jacket no longer had any buttons left. What a con since the buttons alone are worth the 10euro discount. As far as I am concerned it is hardly worth it, especially since the clothes have been tried on, tugged and trampled on so much that they hardly seem fit for the average UK charity shop!I can't get excited about the sales in Spain as they are really about getting rid of utter rubbish at the highest prices they can get away with. I just prefer to pay full price for something that I really want, need and love.

I remember when I used to visit Spain and like Italy, they always had amazing quality shoes and lots of choice. Well, not any more.All the sandals are really flimsy with very flat soles that give me sore knees. They are okay for an evening out but not for all day wear. I couldn't find anything which was sturdy but still pretty. Half of them I could only fit my big toe in and not the rest of my foot and I could barely find my size(39). So I am afraid it looks like I will be continuing to wear my beloved birkenstocks throughout the summer until I find an alternative.

I bought a dress in Mango which I tried on really quickly as the girls were getting really impatient. This morning I put it on only to discover that it is too tight across the back. I have the receipt but since I have ripped the tag off I think it might be a problem. They can get funny about exchanges and refunds as the customer is generally regarded with suspicion.

I really felt for a Scottish girl in Zara. She was really sweet and asking a sales assistant for her size in a shoe. I couldn't believe how grumpy she was and unhelpful. The Scottish girl commented that although you may pay more in Scotland at least you get treated better.It was quite shocking how rude and aggressive she was. I am sure that Zara and Mango do no staff training at all when it comes to customer service. In fact, I don't even think that they interview their staff as most of them should be hidden away in a back office somewhere filing not dealing with the public. If you are not a people's person, do not work with people!

Sunday, July 08, 2007

The Weekend Again

Yesterday some friends came over and spent the whole day with us, yes the whole day, I never thought that they would leave.Ha,ha I know you are reading this Jo. Actually it was good fun and the girls all played well together in and out of the pool.

We went to a fab birthday party this afternoon with a bouncy castle slide thing that went into the pool. The girls had lots of fun and the cake was particularly scrummy.

Then in the evening we went to Estepona fair after a failed attempt on Friday night when we forced to leave after five minutes. One of the girls was really playing up so after a few empty threats we decided to follow through but alas we ended up back there tonight due to good behaviour over the weekend. To be honest, I am not a big fan of the fair especially not the live donkey carousel but the atmosphere is pretty authentic, the costumes are fab and the bunuelos (donuts) are delicious with choc sauce and Justin loves the barbequed pulpo (octopus) and the girls love the rides, of course. One of them has discovered a passion for jumping after having a go at one of those harnessed trampoline rides so I would love to find somewhere to take them trampolining.

I also worked out tonight why I have it in my head that spanish clothes are too small for me. It's because a lot of the spanish women, well the ones who frequent the feria, wear their clothes rather ahem fitted.

Wednesday, July 04, 2007

sofas in spain

A word of warning: Never buy a leather sofa for your home in Spain. It is freezing to the touch during the winter and you stick to it in the summer. Any offers?

Monday, July 02, 2007

Disneyland Paris

Hi, been away for a few days in Disneyland Paris. We didn't intend to have a holiday this year since we are living on the beach but Justin was so worn out with working so hard on the Eye on Spain site that we decided to have a little break somewhere. We knew we didn't want to go to another beach and somewhere child friendly. I trawled for the internet for hours and stumbled across Disneyland Paris.It had always been our dream to go to Disney World and Paris seemed like a good starting point. I thought that it would be really expensive but I was delighted to find that since it is their fifteen year anniversary all children under seven go free. At this point I was convinced that it had to be done. Getting there would be the problem. Fortunately I came across a budget airline called Vueling that flies direct to Paris from Malaga and the flights were dirt cheap, in fact not a lot more than 300 euros for the four of us!

Disneyland was spectacular. It is such a magical place and the girls were so excited to chase all the characters for autographs and photos.They loved it. Everything is so geared towards families. In fact, it is the perfect family holiday. If I had gone to France to get away from the Spanish I would have been sorely disappointed as it was the first week of the school holidays and there were loads. We saw hardly any English as they are no longer allowed to keep children off school for holidays. The great thing about there being lots of Spanish was that when it rained they wisely ran for shelter whilst us crazy brits just enjoyed having the rides to ourselves.

I can't recommend it enough and we are hoping to return when we can. If you have under sevens book for this year and they go completely free.