Monday, 18 June 2007

The Thrill of the Chase


Just a quick one, not one about my holidays this time, but a quick posting about TV, especially as I haven’t written about the TV for a while.

Actually, its more about The Chase, BBC1’s new(ish) Sunday Night drama. Its one of these horribly clichéd Sunday nighs shows where if its not about Doctors in the 1950’s, then it must be coppers in the 1960’s. This one is about a family of vets, who have lost their father, in suspicious circumstances.

However what lifts this programme from the bland to the annoying is that I feel that every male character is just poorly written. Their dialogue is clichéd, their characterisation is 2 dimensional. It is a pity as the programme itself looks quite interesting, if not a tad unchallenging.

Last night I also caught the South Bank Show featuring the guy who should have won Best Actor at the Television BAFTA’s the other week, Michael Sheen. It was an interesting interview, partially touching on his current work playing David Frost in the play “Nixon/Frost”, which is supposed to be turned into a film soon. A lot of the interview though centred on his excellent portrayal of our dear leader, Tony Blair, in the dramas “The Deal” and “The Queen”.

Finaly, I just want to say that I have been blogging for exactly a year now, starting on my yahoo360 page. Im not sure if I am any the wiser as to what I am doing, but I have enjoyed it. You can judge here if my prose has got better, or just more purple! Here’s to the next year.

Sunday, 17 June 2007

Maspalomas 2007

Hi there

You know there was a discussion on blackandwhitearmy regarding what people were doing on Saturday the 12th of May, the date when the mighty St Mirren came from 2 down to beat Motherwell (at Fir Park mind) 3-2, only to hear that Dunfermline had lost at Inverness and that the mighty Buds were safe.

Me, I went to Playa de Ingles to a Gay Pride festival.

It was my girlfriend’s idea to go after hearing about it on the plane. I just thought why not. We weren’t sure what time the parade started so we headed there about midday, arriving at about 1 o’clock at the Yumbo centre, a kind of multi storey version of the Piazza circa 1988. After some wandering around we found out that we were about 3 hours early for the parade. But we also found out about the concert, which started about 8:30 in the evening.

We wandered to the courtyard area where the concert was due to take place and caught some of the sound checks, we caught the Jacob Sisters who threw the biggest hissy fit I have ever seen, and we caught Marc Almond and Bucks Fizz too.

After that we then went for some food. We went to this Chinese restaurant in the Yumbo centre, where the food was incredibly greasy. The owners even tried to ration ice cubes! Once we had finished we reckoned it was time for the parade, so we wandered outside the centre to find a spot for the parade, which soon enough came round the corner!

There was a high proportion of Scots at the parade, which was good. We have an image of ourselves as buttoned up repressed presbytarian types, which is far from the truth, given enough sunshine and hedonism. Sunshine really should be on the NHS (translate vitamin D12, the magic one that we can’t make ourselves!)...

After the parade we went to the top street and mingled with the participants in the parade, got some pictures, and then headed down to pick a spot for the concert, which I will write about next time. We thought about a first floor view until we realized that we would probably need to sit down at some point so we sat down outside Buddies Bar (yes, a Buddies Bar, in Gran Canaria of all places), got some drinks and relaxed waiting for the show. Except we got talking to a girl called Emma who was perhaps a bit too, um, open! Its not that she wasn’t good to talk too, but she was just a bit too frank about certain things, that’s all.

Anyway next time, I’ll be writing about the concert, see you then.

Saturday, 9 June 2007

Spirit Of The Sea

So, what did we actually do on holiday during the day?

On the Tuesday, we went into Puerto Rico for some shopping, while on Wednesday we went to Anfi Del Mar for a tour around their timeshare apartments. We left there feeling sick, because it was so nice, and because we couldn’t afford it at that moment. Which brings us to Thursday (the 10th of May) and our trip on Spirit of the Sea – “The Dolphin and Whales search trip in Gran Canaria”

We booked this trip through our rep, we were to be at the boat for the 12:30 trip. We turned up slightly early and made our way to the boat. At this point I should warn you against the timeshare sellers, which are somewhat akin to Jawas. The favored trick is to offer you a free scratch card, which you open to reveal your prize. A blue star is usually a t-shirt, while a gold star is either a MP3 player, a Digital Camera or (more likely) a free holiday. When you win the gold star they insist that you travel to their offices, and they are insistent on this. On our way towards the ship one of these traders stopped us, and we went through the rigmarole. When Ange “won” he got stroppy when we told him that we had booked to go on the Spirit.
We left Puerto Rico and headed south west. The picture above shows us heading away from Gran Canaria. The yellowish tinge in the air is evidence of the Sirocco winds (the winds from Northern Africa)

After about 45 minutes traveling we slowed down. At this point I remembered to put some Suntan Lotion on. Not remembering to put it on would cost me later on (when I developed a pinkish tinge to my arms, I also felt a bit unwell). Our guide then started to talk about dolphins & their habitat. Then there were dolphins spotted… in the distance.

As we got closed, they began to swim around the boat, not in a menacing way but in a playful manner. It was really good to be this close to dolphins as they danced around the boat. The picture above is probably the best one that I took on this trip.

This one was taken as they danced around the boat. They were also dancing around the foam that the boat was making. I tried to see if I could get some pictures from the bottom of the boat (the boat had a glass bottom) but to no avail.

It just didn’t feel long enough. It felt like it was too soon before we were on our way back to Puerto Rico. The journey back seemed a lot quicker too. Hmmm maybe the sunburn was getting to me even then. Still it was a great afternoon, not even bumping into another one of those timeshare touts could ruin our day. I would feel really rubbish the next day though.

See you next time.

Sunday, 3 June 2007

Playa De Amadores

The area of Playa de Amadores, as I have hinted at is a quiet area, though it does have several beachside restaurants. The day before we came back we went to the Europa Centre at the top of the hill, and discovered that as well as shops, there were some more restaurants and bars, the sounds of agitated football fans alerted us to this possibility. We are annoyed at this as we were not told about the nightlife, just the shopping here. Especially as the restaurants nearest our hotel, on the beach front, was such a mixed bag.

We ventured out to the beach on the Wednesday night, just to see what was on offer. The first restaurant we came across was Ciao Ciao, an Italian eaterie. We were put off going there because the staff would not give us time to make up our minds (Memo to restaurant staff: we like time to think about what to have, being hurried tends to put us off). So we walked along a bit and came across Restaurant Belize, who had a Tapas menu (Second memo to restaurant staff: we are not typical Brits abroad, we would actually like to sample the local delicacies).

The first thing that grabbed us was the size of the drinks, we were both given pint sized glasses, which were frozen before being taken out for the juice to be put in. As a result our Coke’s were ice cold when we got them. We ordered 3 Tapas between us, Albondigas (which is meatballs) Cheese Croquettes and Canarian Potatoes covered in Mojo Sauce. Canairian Potatoes are potatoes boiled in sea water and boiled until the water has dried up. The Mojo sauce is strange but very nice; it is supposed to be spicy but is not spicy at all. You can taste the cumin in it though. The Purple Rhino was wowed by the croquettes thought, mainly because they were covered in Tomato & Cream sauce. Not much else to say about the Albondigas apart from Mmmmmmmm…… This was followed up with a Bolognese Pizza which was excellent. The base was super thin and crispy, yet the middle wasn’t soggy at all. The top was excellent too.

A couple of nights later we went down to the beach again, this time we went down the right side of the beach. We went past a couple of restraunts that looked like they were closing. Just past the London Pride bar we came to Los Geranios Restaurant, which was completely different to the Belize. Again we got our large measures of soft drinks, super chilled. I ordered Salmon Ravioli, while the Purple Rhino ordered Lasagne.

At this point can I say that the Salmon Ravioli was really good, it was covered in a creamy tomato sauce (I had expected a white/cheese sauce). However it was spoiled by what happened regards my girlfriend’s dish. Ange received her Lasagne, and the top was burnt. Because the top was burnt she asked for another one, thinking that it had been in the oven for too long, the waiter said that he’d see what he can do. The owner/head chef then arrived and after asking why she didn’t like it. He then said that it wasn’t burnt, that this is the way that HE had been making lasagne, and that any lasagna that she would ask for would look like that. He then chopped up the lasagne to show that in his eyes this was not a burnt lasagne.

Ladies and Gentlemen, Basil Fawlty lives and stays in Playa de Amadores. And boy, did the toys get thrown out of the pram that night! His behavior, his rudeness and his attitude completely spoiled the evening for us. He especially didn't like the fact that the Purple Rhino had tasted Lasagne in 12 diferent countries, and none of them were burnt like that.

I started this blog talking about the Europa centre, which we were lead to think had only shops, but had some nightlife. Before shopping for food to sustain ourselves on the long trip home, we went for something to eat in an eaterie called Little Italy. We both had Lasagna, which was really nice but may have been devoid of meat.

No mention of our gastronomic holiday should pass without a mention for the neighboring hotel to us. When we were fed up of the second barbeque night we went into Gran Amadores and to their pool bar called “Scotch Corner”. There I had a Chili Baked Potato, while the Purple Rhino tucked into what she described as the best toasted sandwich she has had in years. We go away to try and sample different cultures and tastes and we come back raving about a toasted sandwich, strange!

See you next time, when i will be blogging about Dolphins!