Thursday, July 2, 2009

Intro to Cartaya from L (and D)

I'm standing here on our terrace watching the sunrise on the 1 side
and the beach on the other. The view is simply breathtaking.

I adore Durham, but am still not sure why someone from a beach resort
in Spain would want to come to Durham for the summer and leave all of
this. I thought about taking pictures of the apartment, but they look
exactly like the pictures already on the blog. I have to say though
the pictures she sent of the beach and area do not do them justice.
The ocean is a beautiful blue and is warm enough to swim in although
so far I have stuck to the pool. They also have tennis courts, but a
racket is not something I was going to pack with my paltry weight

I already like Spain better than Italy if for no other reason that
they have toilet seats. It's also cheaper and there are more wide open
spaces. I didn't expect Spain to be as pretty as it is. Plus, it's
nice to know at least a little of the language.

The first day we basically just went to the beach and ate dinner from
all the wonderful food our host left us. Monday, we went to the
grocery store which turned out to be like Super Walmart. I love lots
of choices normally, but in a foreign country, I discovered that just
means more reading with my meager Spanish. Still, it was a successful
trip. We ate some fresh seafood at the bar by the pool, and life was
Yesterday, D. and I went to explore Huelva and found it a
delightful mix of old and new. The center of town has churches
Columbus prayed at just a few blocks from a Burger King. It's nice
because you get all the charm of a centuries old downtown with all the
modern conveniences like Aldi, a bowling alley, and a multiplex movie
theater on the outskirts. Huelva is the biggest city close to us-about
fifteen minutes away. Cartaya, the city we live in (we think) is about
the same distance, but much smaller. I say we think because we might
also be in El Portil or Nuevo Portil. All the municipalities make
things confusing apparently even for our cab driver from the
airport,who ended up relying on our GPS at the end.

On other news, it seems the laptop D. received free 3 years ago,
because the previous owner thought it was dying, might have actually
expired. That's bad news not only because of the loss of the laptop,
but because now I'm not sure if we will be able to upload any more
pictures, and blogging and getting the Internet are a lot harder on
D's PDA. If you hear less from us and the blog isn't visually
stunning, we apologize now. Plus, now I am getting a little worried
about the PDA which was also a gift from someone who had already
proclaimed it dead. Luckily, the beach is here to help me forget my
Interesting would be an understatement - Faro, Portugal on Wednesday

So after a few days of beach lounging we decided to take a trip to
Faro. Portugal. We woke up late and decided to go while eating lunch
at 12:30. Promptly at 2 pm we left (3 women were involved). We are
only about 40 min from Portugal and only about 30 min more to Faro.

How much would you pay for the "services" of not letting the air out
of one of your tires? In Faro, the answer is €1. As we were parking in
the free parking lot, a man "showed" us an obviously empty space. He
asked for "compensation for his services." This is the second time I
ignored a guy like this. Apparently this time I (D) should have
brandished a shotgun (remember, put it in checked luggage only unless
flying from Somalia, or Liberia, or Texas). There is a general
feeling that if somebody tries to help you in tourist places, they
want to rip you off (This is actually mentioned in the guidebooks.
It's like the squeeqie guys in NYC that implicitly threatened to break
your windshield if you didn't pay them to pour dirty water on your
Moving on:
After an afternoon of lots of sun, little water, lots of girly
shopping, and getting separated from each other without cell phones,
I returned to the car to get L some water and I noticed the back right
tire was flat. We cruised into town at 120 km=72 MPH, so we would have
noticed a flat if it had been present on our arrival. Then
"compensation for his services" came to mind. It was still hot and we
were hungry, so I left the tire changing until later.
We found a nice restaurant with guidebook recommendations. However, it
didn't open until 8:30 PM (Spain time-Portugal is an hour earlier), 45
minutes from then. After a disappointing tour of other places, we
returned at 8:30. The food was excellent, the waiter was friendly with
some basic English, and the company was excellent. At 10:30, I left to
the change the tire while it was cool but still light out. I put on
the iPod while changing the tire to make it festive. I was done in 3
to 4 songs. Thankfully,
it was a full size spare. I maneuvered down some very narrow
"authorized vehicles only" streets (how can I know for certain if
that's what the Portuguese and symbols meant? - when in doubt, play
the ignorant American and proceed to pick up tired fellow travelers
and to leave deflating services behind).
Dinner was still not done when I pulled in. We did not leave until
11:30. Again, it was good and not fast food, but three hours? It's a
different pace of life here. And a later at night type of living.
-D and L

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