Clare and Jim go South

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I can’t believe it’s been so long…

May22

Wow. The last post I wrote, I finished with the fact we’d just found a little street kitten, how Jamie and I were both madly in love with little Oliver and that we’d fatten him up, get him healthy and sort him out with a lovely new family. My my my, how our world turned upside down on its head. And all because of our lovable street urchin kitten Oliver.

It’s been seventeen months. SEVENTEEN MONTHS! So much for my dedicated blog writing. I was rubbish at that, eh. However, a recent watch of the film Julie and Julia has got me with the blogbug again.

Since December 2008, lots of things have changed. We had planned to stay in Barra da Lagoa for six month until May 2009, but then extended that until September because we were really happy there, and didn’t much relish the idea of moving again. Along the way, we both fell more and more in love with Oliver. So much so that we plumped for bringing him back home with us. Lots of redtape, paperwork and pit-of-stomach-worry moments later, we ended up here in Argentina so that we could get him back to the UK when we eventually return.  Weirdly the rules and regulations of our strict island mean that Oliver wasn’t allowed to travel to the UK directly from the Brazil. Lucky for us, really because we LOVE Argentina! A bit soppy, but being so far from home, missing my old job and our friends and family, having something so small and vulnerable that needed a lot of love really pulled Jamie and I together.

A chance meeting on Jamie’s birthday in Barra with some fab Argentinians Pablo, Matias and Ana ended with us on a boardwalk, having a natter, listening to the guitar, trying the famous Argentinian drink Fernet, washed down with a Mendoza Malbec and asking for recommendations where we should live when the three of us moved to their country. Cordoba! Matias loved it there, and as he spoke of it, we began to fall in love with the idea of it too… a city so enough going on to keep us entertained,  but small enough to manage, and right nearby mountains, lakes, greenery and oodles of fresh air. Added bonus that his cousins lived there, and he could put us in touch. Cordoba - Sold to the mad British couple paying a fortune to bring their kitten back home with them!

Now it’s May 2010, and we’ve been living here in San Roque, a small comuna in the middle of nowhere, for the last eight months. Those cousins of Matias, Vale and Sole, their gorgeous husband’s Maxi and Juan, and their fabulous family are now our dearest friends, and… ahem, we’ve added to our furry family accidentally on purpose, with Stan, a devilish cute Siamese and Molly, a stoopid but adorable street pupster. Oliver has grown up to be a handsome, sensitive and delicious kittykat, and we love him more than every before. Below is a little family portrait minus Oliver, who is a bit shy.

Family Portrait (minus Oliver)

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Christmas is coming, and the kitten is getting fat.

December12

Ooops. I can’t believe it’s been a month since we last posted anything. SORRY! To be honest, the month has really flown by and we’re already well aware of how quickly our six months here in Barra are going to fly by… madness to think that we need to start thinking about where we might go to next.

Typical of our luck, the last few months here in Santa Catarina have seen the worst rain storms in years and years. We were a bit a bit disappointed with the grey days and warm, torrential rain but just accepted it and got wet. A lot. It gave us a good chance to get into the swing of living here, and getting settled into our new home. The internet was a bit wibbly wobbly at times, but as far as we were concerned, that was all the discomfort we experienced. Little did we know, that actually the heavy rainfall over the last few months led to landslides which destroyed homes and blocked roads. At least 45 people died, and more than 22,000 were forced from their homes - and a state of emergency was declared. Unbelievable. In total, more than a million people were affected by the flooding. Carolina watched the news and she said it was reminiscent of New Orleans - in a place just 90 minutes drive from here, 97% of the people lost their homes. And there we were worried about a few days without internet. We literally had no idea what had been going on. Of course, because we can’t understand the language, watching the news in Brazil just isn’t something we do - and when we do check the BBC it’s usually to check up on stuff back home. Luckily, though, here in Barra, we all escaped without too much damage. Now every time it rains, we hope it’s not for too long because of all the destruction already.

When the rain finally cleared, we took a long walk with the dogs along the beach - and the debris on the beach was crazy. We couldn’t believe it, but we even came across a penguin that had must have been migrating and fallen sick - ended up being swept to our island and died en-route… never thought I’d see a penguin here, that’s for sure. Carolina said it’s happened before, her boyfriend Ju found one that was sick, and tried to nurse it back to health but the same thing happened a week after he released it back into the sea. Apparently if they get sick, their strength fails and they get swept with the tides. Rooobish.

Apart from the rains, not much new to report - but actually that is reeeeeally nice. We have just been plodding along and easing into our new routine. Not rushing around with all our (my?!) luggage, but chilling out at home, and heading to the beach as and when. Jamie has begun running along the beach (accompanied by the dogs), and I’ve taken yoga up again. I do it twice a week and Gila, my lovely teacher, now comes here which is GREAT! One hour solid, one-to-one for £6. Brilliant! I speak to her in my broken Spanish if I get stuck (not literally stuck in position, but if I misunderstand her!), and she speaks in a mix of Portuguese and Spanish. It works out fine! If only I wasn’t sampling so much Brazilian food and drink, I’d be getting really fit!

In the last few weeks, I began volunteering at a project in downtown on Wednesday afternoons - it’s with kids from 6 up to 16 with poor and sometimes violent backgrounds. They break up for Xmas next week, so at the moment, I’m just taking the time just to get to know them and play together. I hadn’t realised quite how involved the playing would be… I arrived last week to find that tag was on the menu - me, huffing and puffing running around in the blistering heat wasn’t quite what I had in mind! Then it was skipping. Rosy cheeks and sweating aside, it was so lovely to see them having such innocent fun, and singing fab songs. It’s so different here when it comes to working with children - we’re allowed to hug and hold their hands. And because of the types of homes they come from, they seem to really relish a bit of time chatting and getting some attention. Arrrrr! So lovely. Then after new year, I’m going to begin teaching them a bit of English. At the moment they really only know numbers so it’ll be a bit of a challenge, but one I’m really looking forward to. Working with computers all day doesn’t come completely naturally to me, so it’s good to be in an environment I know every now and again.

A few weekends ago, we went with Carolina and Juliano to her mum’s house.  She is so cute and talks to both of us whilst rubbing my back and holding our hands - arrrr. It’s nice to have a maternal figure here! Another couple, Leo and Samara,  who spoke English also joined us for the shin-dig. They and Carolina are all professional dancers, so what better time to learn how to Samba, I thought, much to everyone elses’ delight! We had a BBQ and drunk beer - yummy. And in my mind, I was a natural Samba queen! All the while we filled our tummies, our no tailed dog waited outside the gate for us whimpering. Doh.

Then at about midnight, we toddled and wobbled off over the pretty beach to a bar up a hill on the top of a cliff which overlooked another smaller beach - it was gorgeous. All very lively - packed full to bursting, with brilliant live music. You should have seen Jamie with Juliano - they really love each other, like peas in a pod - but don’t speak the same language. So they have to rely on talking through the power of beer and gestures! Jamie thought the music was like a Brazilian Chaz and Dave equivalent. It was tres amusing to watch him singing ‘Run rabbit! Run rabbit! Run! Run! Run!’ in a poor attempt to explain his analogy to Carolina! She was sooooo confused!

The dogs are still very much in our lives… As well as seeing the previous gang from time to time, we now seem to have adopted a dog that we affectionately call ‘No Tail’. When we first met her, she was very timid and unpopular with the local street dogs. They all used to gang up on her and shoo her away. This, of course, pulled on our heart strings, which she totaaaaaally picked up on. Which means now, she spends all day every day, sleeping outside our gate. Right outside our gate. Literally. We have to step over her to get in and out! Hopalong also sleeps outside our door despite having a perfectly good home and owner to go to - we think he’s taking refuge here away from Big Ears who always pulls Hopalong’s ears and tail like it’s a bit of string.

They’re such a funny bunch - despite having complete freedom to go where ever they want, whenever they want, they both run up and down the street, yelping with excitement whenever we go to the beach with them for a walk! It’s getting a bit stressful to be honest with No Tail - she has noooooo road awareness whatsoever and seeing as she follows us every time we leave the house, there are many heart in mouth moments where she runs into the road in front of a car. Groan. To avoid being stalked, we even went to the lengths of using Fausto and Elena’s front foor which is on another street to ours so that she didn’t know where we’d gone. It’s getting ridiculous! On the plus side, we went for a swim the other day, and left our clothes on the beach. When we looked back to the sand, there she was, dutifully sat next to our pile of things keeping guard. God love her.

So, animals still continue to wreck havoc with our lives! When we first got to our house, we could hear shrill cheeping in the morning. Turned out we had a bird’s nest in one of the rafters. Wasn’t too much of a problem, just an incredibly reliable morning alarm clock… bit irritating at the weekend, though! Then one day, when I was sweeping away the leaves, I noticed a big, plump chick, sat looking at me, blinking in the light of day, very veerrrry confused. And the ‘Mum’ still flying down to feed it was about half its size! Jamie and I decided the best thing to do was to pop it back in the nest, which we did. Then all of a sudden, about half an hour later, the stupid chick did exactly the same thing - right in front of my eyes. I suspect gravity got the better of the fatty, to be honest. Thud. Splat. Back on the floor again. Just as we had to go out! Luckily, Fausto came to our rescue and explained that this bird wasn’t actually related to the’Mum’ at all - I’m no David Attenborough, but the size difference had puzzled me a bit! Apparently, another bird had probably laid her eggs in the mum’s nest and she was left feeding this lardy chick! This time, as its wings were working and he was huuuuuge, Fasuto popped it in the tree and left it there… last time we saw it, the adopted mum was still spending all her time dashing back and forth,  feeding the greedy wotsit!

And to top it all off, the zoo that we have become, we now seem to have adopted a kitten too. Jamie found him alone meowing on the streets near the beach about to be gobbled by all the street dogs. Had no choice really but to take him in. It’s been about a week and we are both completely and utterly smitten - he’s only about 6 weeks old and soooo ickle. Well, he was when we got him - now he has is a right fatso! 400 grams he weighs, and most of that is in his tummy. We think it’s a boy so had to change his name from Rina. Get it? Santa CATaRINA. Instead, because he is a street urchin, and constantly follows me to the kitchen screaming for more food, we opted for Oliver. Oli for short. He is sooooooo delicious. I sing ‘Food, Glorious Food’ and ‘Who Will Buy’ at him like a madwoman, and all he does is holler for more grub. His complicated life consits of sleeping, eating and pooing - and miaowing regularly for cuddles. He has already grown masses, and we got rid of his fleas so he looks soooo healthy now. Plan is to keep him whilst we’re here, get him fit and healthy and sort out his vaccines - and then find him a good home. Oli is a black and white fluff ball with blue eyes - so shouldn’t be too difficult as he’s very cute looking.  In the time we’ve had him, he’s learnt how to use a tray, climb up and down the bed (and our legs - ouch) and play with our computer wires, flip flops and anything else he can get at. We’ve spoilt him with a selection of toys, and all he likes to do is chase a ball of paper round the room! He is just such a fun character. Am I gushing? Fausto teases us that our house has become like Noah’s ark!!

What else? Um… My Mum and Dad have booked their tickets to come over late January to mid February which is reeeeeeeally exciting. We’re totally into sushi as the fish is so fresh here, and it’s so much cheaper than England. I even got a loyalty card to earn points. Jamie just laughed at me. But we all know that points mean prizes, so who am I to turn a freebie down?! It’s like my equivalent Nectar Card. Also loving the Brahma Malzbier that they have here which is kind of black, sweet beer - very easy to drink! Ah yes, and the cheap lunches in the beach restaurants we go to a few times a week. Initially we thought they were really pricey until Jamie ordered a meal and we realised upon seeing the portions that the price was for two! So now we go there as often as we can and sit and watch the waves, and stuff ourselves!

Another great site to see is entire families riding on one bike! Usually Dad is on the seat, Mum/older sibling balances on the front of the frame, and the little ones sit at the back in a plastic crate that they attach to frame on the back of the bike! And of course Jamie is loving the size (or lack) of the string bikinis! Try as he might, I shall be staying in my pantaloon equivalents. Nipping into our top ten fave things here is the Brazilian BBQ - the meat is soooo good, and the way they cook it it somehow different to back home. The smell is unbeatable… Sunday just gone, after an afternoon lazing on the beach, we had a go at doing our first Brazilian BBQ with the help of our lovely neighbours. It was deeelicious and we’re very proud of our newly accomplished skills! Have to say, though, despite the hard work finding our home, we couldn’t be happier - loving the place, and living next door to such a great family too. Jamie and Fausto both takes breaks throughout the day to have a natter over the gate… it’s like Neighbours with Harold Bishop!

Can’t quite believe it’s Xmas in a few weeks… we just can’t get our heads round it. Really chuffed as we’ve been invited to Carolina and Ju’s house for Christmas Day which is fab - all her family and his will be there. I’m really looking forward to it. Think other than skyping people back home, it would have passed us by really! Which leaves me to wish you all a really happy Christmas and a brilliant 2009! Will be sure to post lots of pictures when we take them of the different experiences we are bound to have in the next few weeks. And who knows what menagerie of animals we will have encountered by then… Gulp.

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We’ve finally arrived properly!

November13

It was soooo worth the wait!

It was soooo worth the wait!

Yes indeedio. It’s taken us the best part of 6 weeks, but Barra da Lago in Florianopolis is totally where we want to be and is exceeding all our hopes and expectations. About blimmin time! It’s sooooo different to the other places we’ve stayed in so far… and it’s such a welcome change. It did take us 24 hours on a loooooong, uncomfortable bus journey to get here, but it was worth every bump in the road, rubbery croissant and badly dubbed English movie. Though, I wouldn’t want to do it again in a hurry.

We arrived here at night time so didn’t really get to fully appreciate what delights we had before us. Tired, grubby and desperate to stretch our legs, we wobbled into a taxi and explained where we wanted to go. Jamie was very impressed as the 4×4 cab also had satnav. Little use that was, though. As is typical here, we said the road name a few times and the cabby didn’t understand what we said. Eventually I had to write it down - and even then, despite his assurances that yes yes he knew it exactly where it was… he seemed a little unsure. Passing through small towns and big lakes, we started to get a bit excited… and when we got to the Barra da Lagao signs we felt sure we were nearly there. But no. The cab driver, satnav flashing away but without him typing in the address, we drove round and round aimlessly. Finally, we arrived at the end of a road and he got out the car, leaving us confused, waiting in the car. He popped into a restaurant and asked them if they knew where the address was (satnav still staring at us… ), one man got involved, then three.. until the next thing you know, he’s pointing at the cab and a young boy shouted something, keen to join in the madness too.

Turns out, we fathomed, this boy lived near to the place we were staying, and he’d happily ride his bike in the middle of the road randomly waving his arm in a ‘follow me’ type fashion to lead the cab driver (did I mention he had satnav and didn’t want to use it?) to our desired destination. Ha ha! We felt almost regal, sat in our cab with pedal bike accompaniment, cab driver leaning out the window to chat to the boy, honking his horn with happy abandon. Oh the shame - spot the tourist! Once we got dropped off, it didn’t take us long to work out that our B and B had a schnauzer next door, much to Jamie’s delight - it seems to be a constant theme of our trip!

So we’ve been here nearly two weeks now… the first week we stayed in a very sweet little Bed and Breakfast. During that time, we tried really hard to find somewhere to rent more long term. For the first time, my Spanish really hasn’t been of much help, and we struggled a lot because added to that, not many people speak English here either. Our lack of Portuguese really hindered us in getting anywhere - it’s been very frustrating and encouraged me more than ever to start classes.  Florianopolis is such a little gem of a place but, as a result, it was soooo difficult to find anywhere to live. We were both starting to feel quite down beat about it - the first place we actually love, and no one wants to rent to us. So typical! They just don’t do long term rentals here- in the 5 days over carnival, and 7 days over new year, landlords here make enough money to live off for the ENTIRE year.  Last week it was the only thing Jamie and I thought and spoke about… knowing all these houses were sitting empty whilst we needed a place to stay, like little hobos.

The first night we arrived, we popped out to get a bite to eat and have a few beers. We are now so glad we did because it was here we met Carolina and Juiliano, a loooovely Brazilian couple who live just down the road from us. We got chatting and Carolina immediately offered to help us try to find somewhere, emphasing that she thought it might be a bit tricky because we had arrived so close to their summer holiday period. Anyways, they have been absolute legends… they’ve really taken us under their wing and we get on so well. Last weekend we went with Carolina, her sister Anna and some of her friends into downtown Floripa to a gig. I’m pretty sure if we hadn’t got chatting to them, we’d never have experienced something like that. This weekend I’ve invited them over to our new home to try to cook them something nice. Fingers crossed because the food choices here are so different. It’s made me really appreciate things like Lloyd Grossman Thai Green Curry Sauce (quite specific, I know - but I miss this one A LOT) and the variety of foods we have in supermarkets back home. Here, fruit and veg is entirely seasonal, which I actually quite like, but I have to cook everything from scratch with completely different ingredients, looking at pictures to try to work out what everything is! I’m loving the Italian influence though - panettone galore here for just £1. Vera, you’d be in your element! The cakes are lush too, and we try to sample a new one each day.

So, after seeing lots of places, this is the house we preferred… it was the last one the estate agent showed us and turns out it also belonged to his parents. And best of all - it was next door to the B and B we were staying in and the landlords owned the schnauzers. What a sign! And it meant we could still see our gang of hounds that we’ve adopted on a daily basis…

Being greeted by the gang

Being greeted by the gang

From left: Dumbo, Old Boy, Big Ears (she's only 8 months old) and Hopalong

From left: Dumbo, Old Boy, Big Ears (she's only 8 months old) and Hopalong

I just love Big Ears so much - I want to bring her home with us..

I just love Big Ears so much - I want to bring her home with us..and don't worry, I've had my injections.

For the moment, it feels sooooo good to be settled for a bit and we are reveling in it… all that moving about was making us feel funny. It’s so nice to get into a routine, feel part of a community and see familiar faces. I’m in the process of organising a day a week volunteering in a school or community project  which I’m really keen to do. Hopefully it will help me learn the lingo, I get to be around sprogs (yeeeeey!), and Jamie and I get a bit of independent time too.

Now we have an address we’re both desperate to order from Amazon as we ran our of books yonks ago, and I’m trying to make it a bit more homely. Because these places tend to be short term rentals, they’re not as cosy as we’d like. But I put all my photos up yesterday which feels good - friendly faces to see when I open up the fridge and when I wake each day on the bedroom wall. Arrrrrrr! And of course now we have 2 bedrooms, it means we can start welcoming visitors which will be BRILLIANT. It’s starting to feel like home already.

Taking the dogs for a walk

Taking the dogs for a walk

An owl we saw on the way

An owl we saw on the way

Barra itself has a fantastic beach where we plan to learn to surf (don’t laugh), and an inlet that becomes a river which then joins the big lake up by Lagao de Concaio which is the bigger, more lively town 5 mins by bus up the road. Here we have a few restaurants and bars, and supermarkets too… but busier nightlife and more choice is definitely to be found in Concaio. Carolina assures us that as summer begins, more and more bars and restaurants will open in both towns and it will start to get even better here. We’re glad  to have arrived when we did because we get to see it all kicking off - every day we pass people frantically preparing their shops, renovating buildings and places to eat in order to be ready for the crowds. Last night, we treated ourselves midweek to a night out and went to a restaurant in Lagao de Concaio where I had a massive seafood platter with oysters, crab, muscles, prawns and cod. It was yummy and so reasonable. Jamie ordered steak, obviously! Best thing though, is that most restaurants here play live music - it’s like living and breathing the Bueona Vista Social Club first hand.

So things here are all good, and really looking up.

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Perfect Piriapolis

October29

It’s all been a bit quiet on the Uruguayan front. Not in a bad way, though. Been in bit more of a normal routine of work and low key stuff rather than going out all the time. Which isn’t a problem at all, in fact it’s been quite nice to cook dinners and watch TV. Loving the fact we can still see things from home via the wonders of the internet. I’m hooked on Strictly and X Factor! The longer we stay in Montevideo, the more I notice things which sadden me… the rubbish on the streets, the noise, and the stark levels of poverty. It reminds me in many ways of Buenos Aires but on a smaller scale. Was really shocked the other day to watch an elderly woman rooting around in the bins, as is common over here. People walked by and seemed completely unphased by it… that in itself upsets me. Then she ate something she has just found in the bags.. I was completely gutted. We’re living in the old part of the town which is thriving in the day, but really quiet of an evening and seems to attract lots of homeless people and demonstrates the massive divide between those that have, and those that have not. It’s not that we feel unsafe here.. just that we need to be aware. There are constant road works taking place, and the local kids who seem quite poor play in the dirt like it’s a sand pit - they are very cute, and really friendly. Some of them though are already wily to the powers of their cuteness - as soon as we walk past and they notice we are from round these parts, they ask for money, trying to pull on our heart strings.

We leave Montevideo tomorrow evening for Florianapolis in Brazil - a mammoth 22 hour coach journey ahead of us. Gulp! I’ve read good things about the comfort levels of long distance buses here - but am trying not to expect tooooo much for fear of major disappointment!I think we’d rather be pleasantly surprised!  I’ve managed to get us seats right at the front so Jamie doesn’t have to endure the people in front reclining onto his lap, though it does mean we get a direct view of the driver and his no doubt frightening driving approach. It’s been a bit hairy so far over here in taxis and buses so I tend to just shut my eyes and hope… We’ve got lots of tv to watch on the way, and our ipod so fingers crossed the time flies by and we are distracted. And of course there is the ‘Portuguese for Dummies’ book to digest.

Buying the ticket was a complete nightmare - I almost set up camp in the bus station I was there so often. FOUR separate attempts it took me! All a bit of a panic when I found out on my first trip that the internet had lied and there were no direct buses leaving on a Thursday, just Saturday and Sunday. We have to leave tomorrow as our flat runs out then… So, instead we bought a ticket to Porto Alegre, Brazil, thinking it would be simple to get a ticket from there on to Floripa. Nuh uh. Silly us. Annoyingly, we forgot our passports that first time, so I had to return the next day with them. But of course, the next bit wasn’t straightforward at all! As we aren’t Brazilian, I couldn’t buy the tickets online. Doh!  So I rang the company in Brazil and spoke to about five different people until at last I got through to someone who spoke minimal Spanish - for I speak noooooo Portuguese which they do in Brazil. At which point I learnt that of course I can buy tickets over here in Montevideo - from the bus terminal - from the same company I bought the first bit of the journey for - aaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaargh!!! At no point had the Uruguayan bus firm mentioned they sell tickets for this Brazilian firm…ooooooooh I could have swung for them! So off I toddled last Saturday only to be told that noooooooooo I couldn’t buy the second bit of the ticket on a weekend, that was far too complicated as the offices were shut. GROAN! So it was fourth time lucky when I got them this week. Hallelujah!

We had our first proper day off this week and went exploring further up the coast. When we first thought about coming here, Punta del Este was one of the places we dreamt of living in. Dream on! It was absolutely lovely, but far far too pricey for us. We attempted to eat lunch but had to do a runner as the sandwiches were £10, and salads £15. Piriapolis was our first stop and somewhere we’d definitely consider living once we’re done in Brazil… it was lovely. Fairly quiet but mountains behind the sea, and a lovely community feel to it. Montevideo definitely has its good bits, but it was so fab to be out of the city and in the fresh air. We think we might possibly be getting old with all this appreciation of scenery and outdoor life!

Playa San Fransisco in Piriapolis

Playa San Fransisco in Piriapolis

I was up there for HOURS...

I was up there for HOURS...

View of Piriapolis - yeeeehah!

View of Piriapolis - yeeeehah!

VERY happy to be there!

VERY happy to be there!

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Happy Birthday Pops!

October21

Having had a lovely long skype birthday chat with my dad yesterday, we went for a 10 km walk. We trekked along the Rambla which is just a few blocks away, and a road that goes all the way along the coast…

It was a fantastic walk - and we got to experience so much of Uruguay in such a relatively short space of time. We were told it’s where everyone goes to hang out, drink mate and chill out. We weren’t disappointed! The Rambla is a hive of activity, and everywhere we looked lone people, couples, entire families with their plastic chairs were lined up along the pavement having a natter, sipping their mate and looking out to sea. We judged the weather wrong again and sweated the entire way in our precautionary layers. It’s really starting to hot up over here now!

Along the way, we passed a children’s mini-league football match being played on a dust football pitch, all kitted out in proper kit, along with the ancient referee puffing around in his yellow fluorescent top. Jamie tried to save a pooch who was running manically along the 3 lane highway, weaving in and out of the traffic. He had obviously run away from his owner, as the lead was skipping along the road too… not sure how that story ended as neither Jamie and I had the guts to look any more fearing the worst.

Mini-league Footy in LONG sleeved shirts

Mini-league Footy in LONG sleeved shirts

The shades are out...

The shades are out...

What else? After we stopped for a beer and lunch, we passed a small fair, with a big old open air roller disco and then as the sun began to set, all the cars came out, parked up with music booming and gangs of kids drinking their mate outside their own homemade clubs! It’s true what they say about the people here being passionate - everywhere we look couples of a whole variety of ages canoodle and snuggle along the Rambla. One girl with a particularly pert bottom caused a wave of reaction everywhere she walked! We were walking behind here, and every gang of boys she passed turned their heads, wolf whistled and honked their horns - it was hilarious! She was completely oblivious to her hypnotic like rump, and I was trying to convince Jamie it was in fact me that was causing the stir. Ha!

At the end of our walk

At the end of our walk

Last Thursday we went to a weekly meet up organised via this forum we joined. I feared the guests would mostly be retired yanks, and was a little bit nervous. However, we went along to see what we would see in the hope that we would at least be able to pick people’s brains about Montevideo. To be fair, a large proportion of the guests were retired yanks, and it was a bit cringe at times randomly turning up to talk to complete and utter strangers, but we ended up having a real hoot. Two guys there took us out after the house party, and showed us round some of the bars in different areas which are much more lively than the old town. In one bar a small group of Brazlians were showcasing the Capoeira dance. This is a type of dance to a beat which combines martial arts too - it’s mad to watch, and you need to be veeeery flexible to do it! The space they had to perform was very limited, and there were limbs flying everywhere whilst poor old Jimbo patiently awaited his change, pinned to the side - apparently it was like a fan wafting air towards him, and he very nearly lost his nose. Santiago and Rodrigo explained that over here, the weekend really begins on Thursday - people go out at the earliest 10 pm, and regularly come in at 6 am ready to go to work for 9 am… Even in the week, people eat dinner at 10.30 pm, and families can be seen going for walks, doing their daily exercise as late as midnight even in the week. Santiago seemed to know lots of people and places to go, and after a few hours at a club, we left him to at 3 am having had a fab time.

I felt a bit homesick for the first time this weekend which for soppy old me is pretty good going really three weeks in. Must have been the combo of Pop’s birthday, talking to Maisie on skype and a hangover. Jamie saved the day as ever though, and managed to download me (us?) Strictly and X Factor so after our late night strolls, we settle back and watch a bit of Brucie and Simon Cowell. Bliss! If only we could download our family and friends too! A pot of marmite wouldn’t go amiss either…Maisie (aged nearly 4) seems to struggle with the concept of skype. I lent up to the webcam to give her a kiss and she complained that she couldn’t feel it. Arrrrrrr! And she was trying to explain to me that we were in the computer… I did begin to try to rationalise with Maisie whether she really thought Jamie and I would both actually fit into the laptop when I figured, I don’t really get it either, so probably just best to be quiet and enjoy being able to see her, if not feel her kisses!

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Uruguay Here We Are

October16

I get the feeling that because I’ve not been such an eager beaver with posting, there is a sense of confusion amidst family and friends as to where exactly we are! It’s been so lovely to hear from different people that they are enjoying the read (that was for Jamie’s benefit)… so thought I’d put finger to key once again, and clarify our location and goings on. As ever, there have been many funny goings on!

So… we left the grubby streets of Buenos Aires behind this Wednesday, and as much as I hate to admit it, we were really rather pleased to be leaving the hecticness of the big smoke behind. Leaving my small suitcase, was not such a pleasing thing, but a necessity nevertheless. As soon as we got out the cab at East Croydon, it was painfully obvious I had brought along too many wardrobe options. A last minute platform change was absolute hell with two wheelie suitcases… so I knew one of them had to go. I struggled for a whole week (and it even plagued my dreams) deciding which of my much beloved, carefully selected items should be discarded… with Jamie only ditching the inflatable pillow I bought us for our long flight. RIP brown Primark leggings, RIP white broderie anglaise pyjama twin-set… we left them with the gay Schnauzer-esque flat owner. I do hope he didn’t keep them for himself.

The ferry ride over was smooth enough, and before we knew it, we had arrived in Colonia, Uruguay. Jamie and I stayed about 5km out of town in a small b and b where the owners were very grandparent like and didn’t speak a word of English - they were really very sweet, though, and it was nice to be mothered for a bit. What a contrast to Buenos Aires: Colonia is a small sleepy, colonial town with beautiful cobbled streets, and a charming atmosphere. Unfortunately it rained the entire time and much to my dismay was f f f freezing to boot. One day I had to wear 3 t-shirts and 2 sweaters just to stop my inner organs from chattering!

Colonia is really a place to meander around the old town and take in the atmosphere, which was hard to do with the weather we had. The only thing to soak up was the rain! But it didn’t stop us from hiring a beach buggy to cruise along the streets in! Despite my sensibleness, it was such BRILLIANT fun. Though didn’t really help with the dreaded cold - There were no windows, and certainly no heating in this vehicle!

The protection required to withstand the wind!

The protection required to withstand the wind!

Tee hee!

Luckily for Jamie (and my nerves) there were no gears to worry about, though Jamie driving (full stop!?) on the other side of the road did make me quite anxious. On the plus side, it meant we could travel easily into town and even explore right out too - we found an amazing beach with only us and a lone horse rider on it.

Veeeery windywoo, but really beautiful too

Veeeery windywoo, but really beautiful too

Only a short stay in Colonia, and before long we we were boarding the bus to Montevideo, where we are now. The coach drive made me laugh A LOT.  It all began because when we sat in our seats. Jamie wanted to be by the window. Fair enough. But then it bothered him that he had the curtains in the way of his view. Never mind! I suggested we move to the two behind that were spare. As soon as we had got ourselves comfy, a man got on the coach, and of course, we were sat in his seats…soooooo we had to move back to our original seats. In my head I had the Chucklevision music accompanying our ridiculous behaviour! Goodness knows what the locals were thinking. As Jamie began to fiddle with the curtains to tuck them away, the man in front reclined his seat at essentially a 180 degree angle,  right into Jamie’s lap. Well by then it was just tooooo much for Jamie to take and I quickly had to stop him from flicking a pair of headphones across the man’s head in anger, and explain that he was allowed to do it! Problem solved, Jamie sat in the seats across the aisle… and I stayed put. 10 minutes into our journey, another old couple boarded the bus and explained to Jamie that he was in their seat. I nearly fell off my chair with giggles! So I had to slide across behind the now sleeping fully reclined man, whilst Jamie sat in my seat… But no, Jamie’s not fussy, he’s just very particular! Then he snored the whole 2 hour journey there. Bliss!

The flat we’re staying isn’t as lush as we had anticipated, but it’s much more peaceful than Buenos Aires and in a beautiful antique building with everything we need to be comfortable. It’s nice to feel we can settle here for a weeks and get into some kind of routine. Though the lack of hot water is proving a little testing - showers are shared, and very military in their manner - “Right, you get under whilst I’m washing my hair… Quick! Moooooove! I need to wash out the conditioner before the water runs out!” We’re staying the the Ciudad Viejo (old town) which with hindsight is perhaps a bit quieter than we’d like - it seems to be the business quarter so very busy in the day, but much more low-key by nightfall.

An example of the scafolding over here - seriously, we see this stuff all the time. Sometimes 20 floors up!

An example of the scafolding over here - seriously, we see this stuff all the time. Sometimes 20 floors up!

Random old till in the Mercado del Puerto

Random old till in the Mercado del Puerto

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Goodbye Schnauzer Aires

October13

Number 1 choice of hound in BA

Number 1 choice of hound in BA

Well after 11 days in BA we’re on the move. I think after the stress of preparations and organising and then finally getting here, a big old dirty city despite all its character hasn’t been the most relaxing environment to acclimatise to. A calm beach town is sorely needed!

It’s amazing the difference we saw from the very poor to the very rich, but even though we’d had warnings we never felt in any susceptibility to danger. Well, except for driving back from Senor Tango when going through Boca, the cab driver leant back and locked both our doors and commented on hearing gunshot!

Palermo was a very plush cool boutique area the total opposite to Boca, and San Telmo very much in between the two with lots of good bars and restaurants. I think with more time we’d have cracked the city, and then with more still we could have seen a wider Argentina, but this will have to wait until another 6 months or so as getting out here and finding a place to settle for now is task enough.

The fantastic character of Boca in the day, with its live tango outside the restaurants and its colourful but shanty like structures really stand out as a highlight. I have to say I’m almost sick of eating huge enormous mouth watering steaks that cost only a couple of pounds, maybe just a few more and I’ll move on to the ribs! Next best highlight being the amount of dogs we’d seen and stroked (good remedy for missing Louis), and Schnauzer’s being the most popular as the above photo demonstrates.

Clare asked me to mention that at last we’d sample Mate! This is their equivalent of coffee, no caffeine but instead some other herb concoction that gets you going. You see lots of people walking around in the street carrying flasks of this, but you never see it sold in restaurants or bars. This has made it seem a bit illusive and special. In fact, somewhere in our Lonely Planet it extols how great it is, the ritual importance in Argentine life and how special and lucky you might be to be invited in to a family home to partake in this. Clare was over the moon to be offered some, but in light of this build up I was a bit disappointed that, our sample took place in a mobile phone shop! Clare ever excited to see it being drunk by the sale assistants, commented to a girl ‘was that mate?’, and so the famed Argentine friendliness kicked in as we were offered some while buying a sim card! Very tasty stuff, I finished all of it after Clare had taken most of the heat from the metal straw you sup it from…

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Senor Tango

October11

Glitz and Glam

Glitz and Glam

Oh what a funny night!

I spent ages working out what bus we needed to get to the back of beyond for this fancy show… looked up the routes in Spanish online, then whipped out my map to check it went the right way. Bus 12 we needed, and we were so pleased when there is was. Hopped on it, generally didn’t understand what the bus driver said to me, but was confident in my Duke-of-Edinburgh-Bronze-Award-esque skills that we were going the right way.

All going well (aside from the bus not reeeeeally having any breaks, and the driver seemingly not wanting to use the little he had until the veeery last second), when about 20 mins in a police man got on (with gun as standard in a holder).. and the next thing you know, he’s looking at Jamie and I and nodding at us to get off. Something about us needing to go left… I don’t know. I couldn’t really tell what he was saying, but did know, that when a man with a gun tells you to do something, it’s probably best to obey.

So we stood there, looking tres confused, staring at the bus stop, me explaining to Jamie I was certain it was the right one - and why had no one else been asked to get off, Jamie saying we should have just told the policeman that. Ahem… in my broken Spanish, him with a gun - nooooo chance! Then all of a sudden, the driver asks us “Senor Tango?” to which I said “Si, si siiiiiiiii”… and he directed us back on the bus. EH?! How all the other passengers laughed! Mighty embarrassing, and noooooo idea why it happened, but we ended up getting to the venue in one piece more or less.

We got there a bit early with the intention of grabbing a bite to eat beforehand. We thought we’d check out Senor Tango’s menu out just to see, but somehow that got lost in translation. I’m thinking that the huge amounts of plastic surgery the woman on reception had undergone meant her ears had been misplaced somewhere and she didn’t hear me right. As we walked through, all the waiters were lined up at the side Vegas stylee to welcome the guests - about 30 of them. This proved a little embarrassing, as two minutes later we were on our way out again because it was waaaay too pricey for us, fighting through the diners on their way in. We explained to Miss Plastic Fantastic 2 our idea of eating elsewhere, and she looked at us in complete and utter shock… “No no no nooooo! You mustn’t leave here, it is toooo dangerous, and there are no restaurants anyway.” But we live in London.. we go out in Brixton quite regularly, are you sure it’s that bad…? “I just want you leaving Buenos Aires in perfect state” she reassured us. Hmmmmm, hoped that didn’t mean we required surgery….

Anyhow, we insisted and the next thing you know, she tells us there is a restaurant nearby - great food, but v cheap she warned. Perfect, why didn’t you say so earlier?! But. We were only allowed to go on one condition - yes, yes, yes. Anything! So she grabbed a man (who was about a foot smaller than me) to accompany us the 400 metres for our safety. Lordy!! As we wandered along side this petite man, who didn’t speak a word of English, we felt very very silly. And in about 2 minutes flat, we arrived in a brilliant local’s restaurant where we had the best (and cheapest) meal so far….yum.

Despite her concerns, we managed to make our way back to the venue on our own, without getting shot, attacked, or anything stolen - and much to our delight, she had also given us a better table! Result. We sat with two English women who were part of a tour. One of them made me a laugh a lot because she kept saying ‘bugger’ in a quintessentially English accent - hee hee. It was nice to talk to someone other than ourselves for a bit! The wine list was shockingly expensive. Kept getting palpations because twice the waiter came back to say one of the cheaper 60 peso wines was out of stock. Doh! We were running out of pikey wine options… and then he tells us he has an offer on a bottle that costs 45 pesos and would that do! Yes sireeeeee! Vino poured out, the show began. He very quickly told us we could pay by visa, mastercard, dollars, pesos. This has happened a lot out here - trying to tell you how to pay for things before you’ve even bought anything. Weird.

And what a show it was! It started with a couple of horses on stage (madness!) and a brief dance stlyee interpretation of the history of Argentina. A bit random to be honest… but horses…on a small stage. I was sold! The show combined short bursts of different, brilliant tango duos, with musical interludes, squeeze box solos.. and some Patagonian musicians playing pan pipes (you know, like the ones who come to Bromley High Street sometimes - only these were so much better!). Also, there were a set of 60 odd identical twins with strange coloured hair, fake plastic boobs belting out some classic Argentinean love songs - hilarious! They sang the finale where the whole dance troupe got together on stage below an enormous Argentina flag draping down, hands on hearts, and confetti dropping from the ceiling as they sang “Don’t cry for me Argentina”. Veeeeeeery cliched, but still a good giggle nevertheless!

And then we settled our bill… where the waiter then twice told Jamie that service was not included. Grrrrr. That has happened a bit too out here - makes me not want to leave any tip at all. Then we were off for a late night drink in San Telmo. Sat outside in a lovely square - it’s great that it’s warm enough to do that now. Quite shocked there too actually..Groups of people set up little stalls selling different bits - jewellery, souvenirs etc. And some of them then came round to those drinkers that had bought pitchers of beer and asked if they could share their glass, and have a few sips. Eugh. And the Argenintes said yes! We couldn’t believe it - begging for beer…Thank goodness for those Hepatitis injections.


I told you there was a horse...

I told you there was a horse...

Don't Cry for Me Argentina!

Don't Cry For Me Argentina! Twins either side of the guy - they really were about 60. God bless plastic surgery.

Poor old Jamie.. he’s spent the last 45 minutes trying to get the England football match through the internet, and it’s been useless - kept cutting out and losing pictures. He’s just given up… turned the TV on for some sound company… and it’s been on the TV the whole time… Boooooo! Found this out at the 90 minute mark. Oh BUGGAR.

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We’re going to give tango another gogo

October9

Trying his moves on Miss Plastic Fantastic

Trying some moves with Miss Plastic Fantastic

Jamie told me off because I got our blog all muddled in order as I didn’t mention the tango we went to early in the week. Ooops! See above photo! The location was beautiful - the oldest coffee house in the whole country. Amazingly ornate and elegant. But we were a little disappointed with the show itself. Booo! It was just a little bit cheesy, really. There was a section of about 15 minutes where they asked the audience what countries they were from, and the musicians played appropriate ditties. When it came to England, the singer introduced himself as James Bond which was sooooo cringe! At the end of the dance, Ceri, Jamie and I all agreed that one of the main problems was that we didn’t fancy the dancers on any level - there was noooooooo passion whatsoever! Doh! The bloke looked like a tubby Freddie Mercury (teeth and all), and the woman was getting on a bit, and looked like she shouldn’t be dancing tango any more. Added with the heaps of plastic surgery she had obviously had. We decided to drown our sorrows, and perk ourselves up a bit, with a few strong cocktails in a small area of Buenos Aires called San Telmo. The night ended when Jamie fell asleep at the table! Hee hee!

It’s meant to be 80 degrees this Saturday - so I shall be getting my lily whites out! Today we visited Avenida Alvear which is one of the more select parts of where we’re staying - spent time with my nose against the windows of Louis Vuitton, Armani and such like. The Galeria Alvear is an exclusive shopping mall attached to a hotel - again, just window shopping for us!Tonight we’ve booked in for another tango show with many more dancers and a more exciting reputation. It’s back near La Boca - let’s hope the tango dancers don’t spit too!

Booked ourselves a massage each at a spa nearby because I’m missing JoJo and her magic hands. Think we’re going to try and catch some live music this weekend, and get out and enjoy the sunshine. It’s funny though, because we were both saying how hard that must be because there are such tall buildings, the streets are often really dark. Jamie and I both feel grubby all the time because the traffic is immense here. As a result it’s incredibly polluted too, and then each night the cartoneros come out in their masses. These are the garbage recyclers who literally go through people’s rubbish to take out the things that can be recycled. It’s a real shock to start with, but then weirdly it becomes the norm. Which is a shock in itself. Men, women, kids - whole families sometimes. No gloves, just bare hands trawling through rubbish. So sad when compared to the privileged life of so many here in this city. It’s definitely a place of contrasts. Having come from London, I think we both feel ready to move on to a slower pace of life in Uruguay… and I’m really looking forward to Florianopolis in Brazil - greenery, beaches and fresh air.

Highlight of the week has to be sat here in our flat, chatting away to both our mum’s in West Wickham via webcam, having a right old hoot!It was fantastic to giggle away together from opposite sides of the world.

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Avoiding Spit….

October6

Me again, quickly.

Wanted to post some pictures from the footy yesterday for the boys… what an experience! Ups and downs, to be fair. We’d been out until 5.30 in the morning the night previously, so I wasn’t particularly up for the game. Anyways, took ages to try and get some tickets and ended up having to buy them from a tout, which made me feel dead nervous. But all was fine in the end… the tickets were in the terraces which was mindboggling. So many hundreds of people crammed in, having to clamber up and down over people sat down securing their seats, feeling quite nauseous because it was soooooo high up!

The atmosphere was brilliant - loads of singing and clapping, we even managed to join in despite not speaking the lingo! But then it all went a bit downhill… Cerrie the girl we met on the plane came along with a tour, and they were all wearing head gear. Turns out the away fans were in the stand above us and it’s well known that they spit on everyone through the match. GROSS! I then became obsessed about being gobbed on… strangely I found myself looking up the entire time, which is a bit stoopid because it increased the chance of being spat in the eye. I got hit a few times, and the girl in front’s hair was sizzling for a moment due to a cigarette being thrown still alight. Jamie had to flick it off before she went up in flames…

At half time, it was one nil to Boca Juniors…. Then the second half began and it all went really down hill. Turns out that the away fans also have the habit of sending over bags of poo. Mmmmmmm. Nice. I’ve never been so disgusted in my whole life! How does one plan that, I keep thinking? “I know… I’m off to football, won’t go to the loo just yet. Hold it in until I get to the footie, then I can whip out my clear plastic bag, go in that, and be ready to attack those pesky Boca fans…” One landed on the girl behind me, and that was it - we left at that point. HORRIBLE! As we left, another landed in the space Jamie had been standing in. Thank goodness we left when we did.

Still, it’ll be something to tell the kids and laugh at later on, I suppose!!!

La Boca Stadium

La Boca Stadium

Tactics to avoid the spit

Tactics to avoid the spit

Where we should have got tickets for...

Where we should have got tickets for...

A gift for the boys!!

A gift for the boys!!

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La Boca rockas

October4

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So finally got my bottom into gear and stopped getting us lost… also did more research about the cool places to go so had a really exciting day today.

After getting lost temporarily, a kind couple took pity on us and helped us towards the right bus to La Boca… we had no coins, so bless them, they even paid the 2 peso for us (about 40 p!). She said it was all about being caring towards one another.. you never know when you might need it in return. I took it to mean it was karma for those wet wipes I left with the ill guy on the plane!

The aim of La Boca being that we wanted to buy tickets for tomorrow’s footy match. Got to the stadium only to find out the cabbie had told us a porkie and we couldn’t buy them today - but tomorrow. Before the match. DOH! Anyhow, didn’t matter as we pottered around the famously colouful Caminito - it was fantastic. Had us a big old lunch outside watching live tango, and listening to all the hustle, bustle and live music… this is the Buenos Aires I had hoped for.

Managed to get ourselves (yeeehah!) on a bus back and are just preparing for an evening’s live tango show at Cafe Tortoni which is renowned for a charming, old atmosphere and intimate venue. Meeting up hopefully with Cerri who was on our plane. Can’t wait!

The dog walkers you see everywhere... that take about 10 dogs with them at all times!

Colourful Caminita

Crazy Caminito

The country may change, the 'blue steel' look does not!

The country may change, the blue steel look doesn't!

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I’m officially techno-phobic…

October3

Mum, Lizybet and a shy Louis day before we left...arrrrr!

Mum, Lizybet and a shy Louis day before we left...arrrrr!

I think Jamie’s concept of stuffing Charlton is a little exaggerated… one nil was all, eh bro.

Yup, so here ok. It was a pretty awful journey to be fair, and we won’t be flying Air Comet again, that’s for sure! After a reeeeeally stressful morning the day we left (Mum and I fighting a pair of shorts into a rucsac, and Jamie still burning back up cds as the cab was waiting), then getting to E Croydon and realising immediately we have too much luggage (currently in the process of battling out which things we ditch - my clothes have been carefully chosen and mean A LOT to me, what’s a few wires between friends to lose), trains being up the creek meaning I had repetitive strain from checking over and over and over the time… we arrived at Gatwick. Hot, sweaty and already pooped. Only to be told my suitcase (which contained Jamie’s stuff too in my defence) was too heavy meaning I was on my hands and knees frantically rejigging. It was awful! I even ended up giving the check-in lady my Atonement book to cut down on weight - she thought it was great, and we got extra leg room. Result! As we got to xray bit, a man told me off and I cried. I mean SOBBED like a complete loony because I was emotional and all over the shop. He won’t be doing that in a hurry - everyone looked at him like he was a complete ogre, whilst I wiped snot bubbles and tears onto Jamie’s shoulder.

Then after a great Madrid flight, it all went down hill as Jamie said in his post. Hispanic people express their anger in such a great way - clapping madly and stamping their feet. A vast contrast to us English lot. Anyways, we got here in the end… I had to do my maternal bit as the man next to me who was rather large and elbowed me all the way over, upon landing decided to vom. Eugh. I felt sorry for him though as had experienced the same dismeanour when I went to Italy with crutches and a disagreement with the painkillers. I left him some handy sized tissues and a pack of wet wipes. Loooooooser that I am!

BA is really big, but has an exciting vibe to it… could defo live here for a while. Saw Evita’s tomb today in Recoleta’s cemetry which was a funny old place. So much money spent on real estate for dead people… weird. Some were so ostentatious and glitzy, whilst others had been left to ruin with cobwebs and cats living inside… It was like a city within a city. Think I’d far rather a little plot of greenery to mark my life!

Day two and I have already managed to misplace a credit card and lock my phone. IDIOT. I’m meant to be the responsible one! Still, it’s all ok now.. card cancelled, phone unlocked. Jamie thinks it’s hilarious, and I feel like a divvy technophobe… I’m super impressed with Jamie though - within about 5 minutes of being here, we are wifi’d up, receiving skype phone calls and generally taking over the world from our flat!

We’re still pretty jetlagged so hopefully after a good night’s sleep we’ll be back on top ready to make the best of all BA has to offer….

Street of Tombsville

Street of Tombsville

Evita's abode

Evita's Abode

Ghostly one!

Ghostly one!

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The Eagle has landed!

October3

Stuffed you Charlton!

So, after flying naff airways totaling about 7 hours delay, we finally arrived in BA. We’d expected to seamlessly transfer from one plane to another, but instead had to run from checkout to checkin with 20min before take off, no seats together and no optimism on getting the booze we’d bought duty free side through another x-ray and search squad!

Luckily Madrid guards didn’t give a stuff and I needlessly shoved a half bottle of 12 years scotch malt finest down my pants. As we ended having to wait 5 hours delayed, this and a bottle of wine came in pretty useful for our ever announcement extending wait.

Flight not much to speak of apart from a funny tranny who Clare didn’t believe was a man (head the size of beach ball!), and some chunk next to her puking as soon as we arrived.

Got to our apartment, and took it as a good sign, the owner was a little middle aged gay guy with a proper grey and ging tash/goaty beard, he would be exactly what you’d get if you crossed my bro Andy with his dog Louis!

Quick snooze and we went out to find a micro brewery with some top beer (see my 6 glass sampler!), couple of steaks and that was a night. So far Clare has been speaking the Spanglish like a pro, cabs shops bars food, i just say ‘no ablo espanglo’. Today she got the info off a cabby where to get our Boca Juinors tickets for sunday, shame we’re not here the week after ‘cos we cold have seen them play River Plate, but then I think those tickets would have been pretty hard to come by even so.

Jim

Micro sampler (Oktoberfest wins!)

Micro sampler (Oktoberfest wins!)

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Blogtastic

September30

So this is our blog - I say ours, but I didn’t do it.. t’was geeky Jamie that sorted it… which is fabarooney because it means that I can keep you all posted as to the goings on and adventures in Sarf America.

As for me… I’ve been v busy. We’re packed. Weeeeeeell, I say packed… still waiting for 3 laptops, a phone, a hard-drive, a wireless reuter and possibly even Louie the dog to go in. But the bulk of it’s done.  You can imagine my delight when I found out our luggage allowance has gone up from 23kg each to 46 kg - DOUBLE! I pray that Dodgy Air haven’t got it wrong and we don’t arrive at Gatwick with excess payments to make!

But for now I can  stop… breeeeeathe and watch Sex And The City with Lizybet and me Mum. A great last day in the hood!

More news once we land..

Thanks to all those that came to our drink up(s)… meant a lot all round xxxxxxx

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Hey All

September30

This is our first gumpf - Thanks to everyone that came to say goodbye!

We will keep you posted!

Jim

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Leaving Party Pics

September29

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