Wednesday, October 3, 2007

Alcocebre 9th October 2007 (Torreblanco - Castellon)

BUGGER - BUGGER - BUGGER - we lost my phone today. Not sure exactly where or how it happened but I phoned my folks on the way down to Torreblanco and then when we got back home from Castellon - it wasn’t anywhere to be found.

We didn’t get out the car at Torreblanco as it is a real one horse town and we assume that someone shot the horse a while ago, so carried on to Castellon to see what we could see. What we found out tonight is that the reason why everything was closed (both in Castellon and here) is because there is a Fiesta today in the province of Valencia. Castellon was absolutely dead as well - nothing open although we did manage to find some restaurants in the port open. We stopped there and had brunch as we weren’t able to get anything to eat up until then. Then got back into the car and drove home. It was only when we got home that we realised that my phone was missing - man am I annoyed. The phone is out of contract so it won’t be a problem to get another one - the thing that REALLY annoys me is all the numbers that I have lost. Will have to mail the people I have addresses for and ask them to send them to me - I don’t even know Kaitlin’s number as it is on speed dial for me !!!! Damn it I’m mad about this !!!!

Anyway, after getting home and realising it was missing and searching the car, Al suggested we get back in the car and drive back down to Castellon to see if maybe it had fallen out the car when we got out there. I had tried calling it to see if anyone had picked it up but it just kept going straight to voice mail. We drove down to Castellon and managed to find where we had been earlier but no such luck as finding the phone - we asked at a couple of restaurants and someone suggested speaking to the security officer they have in the area but all he could tell us was where to find a bank to draw money to buy another phone !!! People in the restaurants wanted to phone us, they wanted to let us use their phone, they wanted to know who had served us - we did have a lot of trouble trying to explain to people that the phone was lost and ask if anyone had handed it in. Eventually we gave up and had to accept that it is gone.

On the way back down to Castellon I had tried to call the network we are with to ask them to bar the number so at least we wouldn’t be paying for anyone who had picked it up and decided to use it themselves - what a rigmarole that was. I was given 4 different numbers as a result of 4 different calls and none of the people at those numbers could help me. Of course most of the call is in Spanish and when you get through they tell you push 1 for …, push 2 for ….. and so of course that is no help. Kaitlin did listen and at one point managed to get a voice recognition thing happening but when she eventually got through to someone and Al spoke to them they said we had to get hold of Optus and gave us their website - all very well except WE CAN’T GET ONTO THE BLOODY INTERNET ANYWHERE !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Anyway, eventually we managed to get hold of Optus in Australia about lost / stolen phones and he said he would bar outgoing calls immediately but that it would still accept incoming calls for 24 hrs so if the phone was switched on, I could maybe get hold of whoever had it and try to make arrangements to get the phone back. Except of course that isn’t what happened - when we tried calling the number ½ an hour later - it said that the phone was not able to accept incoming calls so I have to accept that the phone is now well and truly gone which is very annoying as it was a good little phone.

After all the driving back and forth we got home at about 5.30 and the last thing I wanted to do was go for a walk along the beach so sat and read for a while before we decided that we should get something for dinner - not that I felt much like eating. Anyway, the restaurant on the resort premises was open earlier so we walked there only to find that it had closed so got in the car and drove into ‘town’. We went passed a Spar which was open so I said we should see if there were any frozen meals in there and we could buy two to have with the one we had at the resort. Because we had already driven past, we had to do a big loop around due to one way streets and when we got back there we found a couple of packets of frozen veggies and that was about it. Just along the road from there was a place that looked like it sold cooked chooks so we went in there. What an amazing time we had with the lady behind the counter.

She told us she only had 1 cooked chook left but she did have some other prepared meals in the fridge. She explained what they were and their ingredients with words and drew pictures for the things she didn’t know English words for, then she heated up the dishes we chose and while they were in the oven, she explained to us that her Mom was Spanish (Barcelona) and that her Dad was French and that she had been born in Paris. Her husband was from Italy. She told us about the Fiesta today and then got a calendar and showed us that on Friday (the day we leave) there is a Fiesta for the whole of Spain (not just for Valencia like today was) and that it is a religious day. We explained to her that we were leaving on Friday to go home and that we had been in Spain for 4 weeks - she asked if we had been here for the whole 4 weeks and we explained to her about all the places we had been too. She didn’t seem to know Toledo but maybe we weren’t pronouncing it correctly as she did recognise the other places we mentioned !!!

As we were leaving she wished us well for our flight home (mimicking an aeroplane and saying good flight) - we got into the car and said “Aren’t those the sort of moments that make really great memories of a holiday ?” We had such a great 20 mins with her we were trying to work out if we could go there for another meal before we leave.

We came home and ate dinner - very interesting dishes - spinach lasagne with peanuts and raisins, meat ball type dish with a tomato based sauce and potatoes stuffed with mushrooms. I had the paella which I hadn’t eaten the other night but it wasn’t very nice at all - nothing can compare to the paella that I had in Toledo - what a pity we can’t go back there for another meal.

Just had a bath - now I really can’t wait to get home to my own bed, pillow and bath. While the last two weeks have been a lot more relaxing that the first couple were - I think I am ready for home. I am missing my folks and tired of take-away / restaurant food. I want my big fluffy towels and not the resort towels which feel like they are only ½ towels. I want to be able to potter around in my own kitchen with my own things around me. While I don’t want to seem ungrateful for the holiday and the opportunity to travel - at heart I am a homebody and love the feel of my own home. Something that is strange here is not many people seem to have gardens - wherever we have been there have been mainly apartments and in the towns / cities especially the last couple of weeks - there just isn’t much in the way of greenery unless you are out in the sticks. The big cities have town gardens etc but I don’t know if that would be enough for me. While I do get fed up sometimes with us having to worry about the garden at home, I do enjoy going outside and not feeling like I am cooped up inside all the time. I guess over here the way of life is different and they are used to just sitting outside a tavern chatting to their friends. It is certainly a very community based society over here. What I also find amazing is the number of people who have pets in apartments - they walk them in the gardens but we cannot see where they keep them except in their apartments. Al said that in Taiwan the people who used to have animals kept them in cages in their apartments and I just think that is so cruel. I said we should take it up with the child welfare people to which Al replied he didn’t think that (a) the child welfare people would be interested in what happened to the animals and (b) that in a country where they kill bulls for entertainment anyone was going to worry about people keeping dogs in cages !!!!

Anyway, I have just finished playing rummy with Kaitlin and she went to bath while I was typing this up - she is now out the bath and playing rummy with Al. I blitzed her three times and she blitzed me once. Just listening to them now, Al has just blitzed Kaitlin in the first game they played.

Not sure what the plans are for tomorrow - definitely have to take a load of washing to get done - don’t know if I can face two suitcases of washing on Sunday when we get home. Then we may take a drive up to Peniscola for Kaitlin to look at the boots that she saw the other day but wouldn’t try on with a plastic bag on her foot - will see what the weather is like and what we feel like doing. We still need to buy a couple of more things for people but other than that, will probably pack the cases when the washing comes back and then it will be a reasonably early start on Thursday to drive back to Madrid. We want to go to the airport to try to sort out our seats etc for the flights home and then we need to find accommodation close to the airport as we have to be there at 3am on Friday morning - we can’t decide between having an early night on Thursday night and trying to get as much sleep as possible or staying up late and only having a short sleep and then being so tired on the flight on we will sleep some of the way - I’m for having an early night and trying to get as much sleep as possible, especially as it is a day flight and no personal in flight entertainment which Kaitlin is still thinking may change by the time we get there !!!!!! We have explained to her about the size of the plane etc which is the same as what we arrived on but, ever the eternal optimist, she thinks that maybe, just maybe, they may have changed it by the time our flight comes around - she is nothing short of entertaining when she talks along these lines !!!!

Update 25th October - got the phone bill for the mobiles - $400 !!!!! It cost us just over $200 to cancel the mobile and another $60 to confirm our airtickets on the last night in Alcocebre !!! Luckily we have had extra Coles shifts to be able to pay for it.

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