Saturday, July 30, 2005

The Bus in Brunei

Wednesday, July 27, 2005

Tuesday, July 26, 2005

The Monkey with the big Nose

Horrendous. It wasn’t the flight that disturbed me. I was quite content sat in my seat watching Romantic Comedies all the way - that’s all they show on these strictly Muslim flights - The best being "Fever Pitch" an American Version of Fever Pitch starring Drew Barrymore and a very funny bloke that I didn’t recognise. Almost cried. So the actual flight was fine, I’m a film buff and sitting in a chair for 24 hours watching films and eating food is great. If you did that at home you would feel guilty and weird for not getting up or going out. Your friends would point at you.

No the flight was fine. Even the hour stop in Dubai was ok. Enough time to stroll through the Terminal - which incidentally is similar to the ground floor at Harrods, very glitzy - take a crap next to an Arab washing his feet in a sink, with out sounding patronising they seem such clean people. Do you wash hands and feet after visiting the lavatory?

The disturbing part was the 12 hour stop in Brunei, no offence Brunei but it was 11 hours too long. I was reasonably excited when I stepped out of the airport into the musky smelling 35-degree close heat of Brunei. I bypassed the tours and caught a bus into town not knowing what to expect or where I was going. I ended up doing a quick long tail boat journey around the water village on stilts, saw the palace et cetera. After he dropped me off I went to a mall to get out of the heat. This left me with 11 hours to kill. Which I did sat in various western cafes and locals diners. May be I should of done the tour and headed out on a boat to see the monkeys with big noses!! I took one photo its a rather blurry one. It’s the inside of the bus that’s taxing me back to the airport.

The last 5 days were spent heavily jet lagged which in a way hasn’t been too bad as I’ve been able to up date the blog all through the night.

Sunday, July 24, 2005

Farewell Posted by Picasa

Rick and Rick at the Cats back Posted by Picasa

Es Stu at the cats back Posted by Picasa

Ricks cafe Posted by Picasa

The End

Back in London we headed on a bus from Stansted into the city. Only a week ago the four bombers had blown up 50 odd people. Veronica picked us up and we went dropped our gear off before heading out for the evening. Had a meal at Ricks café in tooting and followed our meal with a few beers at the cats back pub. Great to see Ricky, Annie, Es Stu and Simon before I left. And finally back to Es Stus for a last last. End of holiday.

Galicia Posted by Picasa

The Birthday Party Posted by Picasa

On the Monastery walk Posted by Picasa

A celebration of life - the last day

The last day. Most of us went to the Mont Fero Monastrio. Itssituated in the forest at the start of the ria that opens up onto Ponterdurmi. The idea is to park up and catch a bus up to the monastery. We managed to park up and catch the bus. What we didn’t manage to do was get off the bus at the correct place. In fact we got off 6 klms to early and walked the rest of the way. Everyone was hungry, thirsty or tired for the last kilometre. We made it up to the monastery and were given a tour of the relic that is being re built at a slow rate. We caught the bus back! Unfortunately we had no mobile coverage and were unable to phone ahead to the others left at the house who were preparing the Meat BBQ (there was still plenty of Carlos’s meat left). They ate without us and we ate when we got back. Margarita and family left after lunch.

That evening we spent back in Mugardos. Not at the fiesta this time but at Jesus’s house. It was Jesus’s 51st birthday. He has a beautiful house with a lovely porch set up in the back yard amongst the lemon trees. The table was laid with various tapas and drinks. There was pulpo, which incidentally he had caught fishing the day before. It was 8 kilos, a big one. There was enpernada (spelt wrong?) a delicious Galician pie that is filled with onion, red pepper and garlic sauce. It also normally has tuna, salt cod, sardines or meat. There was a cake, beers, wine, vodka, gin, rum and coke mix. The light evening turned to night around 10:30pm and songs were sang around the table. Fire works went off again! The fiesta in Mugardos was still going! I stood in the garden with Luciano, my folks, Jesus and the others watching the fireworks and picking lemons from the trees. I reflected to myself on what a beautiful evening it was, on how much fun it was to spend a night with happy people who celebrated life on a nightly basis. We ate, drank, smoked, sang and chatted the evening away. Which how most evenings were spent in Galicia.

The End

Ricardo and Sara on a fairground ride Posted by Picasa

Guardia Civil enjoying a few beers and a tapa Posted by Picasa

Fiesta! Posted by Picasa

Pulpo Fiesta Mugardos Posted by Picasa

Pulpo Fiesta - Day 14

We had another day on the beach at Estacas. In the evening we all went to Mugardos the next village. It’s a pretty fishing village that has several pulperia’s. On this particular evening it was the Fiesta of Pulpo. The town had set up a big pulpo eating marquee, a fair ground, market stalls and a band stand. It was swarmed with people walking along the front and eating pulpo at the pulperia’s. We had a few beers and our fair share of pulpo along the way. Even the local police and Guardia Civil joined in. They had jugs of beer and a decent array of tapa’s. I took Angela on some of the rides and also had a go at the rifle range. It seemed dangerous but the targets were tooth picks with fireworks hanging off them. I managed to win a few fireworks which were let off in the street. The real fire work display took place. The Spanish seem to be keen on loud bangs over colourful displays of pyrotechnics. Boom! Rocked the whole village and then the band started to play and the night time leg of the fiesta began. We finished up at one of the bars in Ares.

Sun sets on Ares Posted by Picasa

Checking the view Posted by Picasa

On the phone to Jenny Posted by Picasa

A joke during the evening stroll Posted by Picasa

Meat BBQ - day 13

Margarita and family turned up today. Carlos brought with him a huge bag of meat (cuts of beef) for a BBQ. I don’t think I’ve ever eaten so much meat in one sitting. After lunch we went for a coffee down the sea front where I took the above photo.

Farewell Meal - Day 12

Cant recall how we spent today but I’m sure it was snorkelling again down at Estacas. It was also Joes last night so we went out for a meal. Ricardo and Dad had great big T-bone steaks, as big as I’ve seen. I had Sardines, Angela meat and chips and Mum and Joe had langoustines. Lovely restaurant. We drank a couple of bottles of red and crawled around a few more bars before calling it a night

Team Snorkle Posted by Picasa

Under the water - Day 11

Today was cloudy and I was keen to go for a surf. Ricardo put a call through to the surf cabin in Pantin and they told us it was flat. Hmmm I still wanted to get in the water. 20 minutes from Ares is a shopping centre. Ricardo and I decided to buy snorkels and Ricardo bought a wet suit as well. Estacas beach had such clear water we had to explore the wild life.

Exploring around the rocks and reeds I found beautifully coloured star fish attached to the rocks. At one stage I came face to face with a pulpo (octopus). The pulpo and I froze and stared at each other and then I reached out to grab him. But he was too fast and swam off. I told Jose-Mario about this later on that night and he said that he would of done anything to catch it even bite it. I’m sure he would of got it as well. Let down by my inexperience I tried to find the octopus again but he was well hidden. We also found a cave that went quite deep into the rocks of the cliffs. I went quite far but stopped when it got too dark. I had this vision of a conga eel springing out of the darkness and biting on the face. I noticed some devils feet on the rocks. I’m not sure how to spell it in Spanish but it’s a sea food crustation that looks like devils feet. We were having fun and stayed out in the water for a couple of hours.

Sardines Posted by Picasa

Wrong Car! Goodbye Breeze - Day 10

After the late night at Miggies Breezy was in a right state in the morning attempting to get up on time and pack with a very cloudy head. The hunt for the passport was a worry. We ended up driving to him to the airport an hour later then planned. Running low on petrol we stopped at a garage to fill up. All of us piled into the garage shop to buy drinks and food. Breezy first out of the shop jumped into the passenger seat of the wrong car. The bloke who owned the car was filling it up at the time and asked Nick what he was doing! This story was relayed to the Ares’ friends and they were in fits of laughter. Unlike Madrid 2000 Breezy made the flight.

I spent the rest of the day resting and went to the beach with Ricardo before lunch. Lunch was a sardine BBQ. See the photo titled Sardines. Joe looks quite animated in it, I think we were discussing the North Africans that swim to Algacerias in search of a new life in Europe. That night we had a couple of quiet ones at the Gaitero and finished the night off watching full contact karate at the blue grass bar.

Paparazzi shot Posted by Picasa

The Window at Pichi's Bar Posted by Picasa

The non smoking Doc and Breeze enjoying a smoke at Pichi's Posted by Picasa

Paparazzi - day 9 Galicia

Another day on the beach at Estacas. This time we found ourselves surrounded by a half dozen topless women. It reminded me of that film Sirens with Ell McPherson in it. After an afternoon on the beach, lunch and a few beers in the town of Ares the four of us ended up at Miggies. Unfortunately Ricardo made an early exit as Joe and I played paparazzi in his face with our cameras. Have a look at the shot of him I took, he looks quite short with me and all ready contemplating his exit. We probably went a bit hard on him. It was Breezy’s last night so Joe and I forced him to stay and drink a few more rums. As you can imagine this wasn’t too difficult! I’m glad we did because we ran into the Galician’s we had spent time with at the Celtic festival. They were still on it!!!! 5 days straight at the festival and now back in Ares they are still bleaching it. After drinks and drunken hugs we left and did the familiar short drunken stroll back to the house.

Brother Joe at Pichi's Posted by Picasa

Joe's Arrival and a broken toe - day 8 Galicia

When we got back Brother Joe was at my folks. We all went to Estacas beach after lunch and Joe unfortunately busted his toe on a rock in the sea. I went out with Joe and the family after the beach. We did the usual rounds, including La Rueda where one of the Rioja brothers (the other one died last year) did a medical examination on Joes toe. Joe said it was more painfull then the toe. We ended up at Miggies with the Doc Sevrino. The softies Ricardo and Nick had a rest evening and stayed in and watched Blue Crush.

This is a beach that we visited during the Celtic Festival and found some solace. I dont recall the name but its east of Ortigueira. Posted by Picasa

Cousins at the AC DC Bar Posted by Picasa

Two fat guys in the AC DC tent Posted by Picasa

Breeze and Jose-Mario's son enjoying a couple of litres of calimocho Posted by Picasa