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Flying Home. Going Home – 10 November 2016


img_3572-flickrBreakfast and final packing, Scamp couldn’t find the padlock for her case. I went out to see if I could buy one at the nearby shops, but got a text from her to say all was well, the padlock was found.  Handed in the keys then a final shandy for me and a prosecco for Scamp to send us on our way.  Even managed to get a sketch done while we were sitting.  This sketching is addictive.

Taxi to the airport and first in the queue!  Straight through to security and then into Duty Free.  From there we had an early lunch of fish and chips washed down with Fanta.  Prosecco to Fanta.  Sublime to the ridiculous.  Sitting in the airport waiting to be called to board and watched an old man who wasn’t at all well looking sitting with his wife.  Two girls asked if they could help, but he refused with a grim smile.  Eventually his wife went looking for help and they walked off together later.  I still wonder if he was ok.  It’s at times like that I wish I’d kept up my first aid certificate.  Maybe I should.

Flight was slow boarding, but after we were settled, we stayed pretty much to schedule.  As we were making our decent across the Irish Sea from Dublin, the Captain came on the intercom to give us an update on weather in Glasgow with “If you don’t wish to know the temperature, look away now … It’s two degrees!”  Nicely done, I thought.

That was about it, just one final thought, and it’s about temperature too.  One night in the restaurant, I heard this large English woman asking one of the waiters where the microwave was, because “This soup is Cold!  I couldn’t believe it.  Maybe she’d never watched Red Dwarf.

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Mojitos & Earwigging – 9 November 2016


This being our last full day in Lanzarote 2016, we took our time and made the most of it, but took it easy too.

We sat by the pool for a while after breakfast because it was very warm, possibly the warmest of the days, but a cooling breeze kept the temperature within a reasonable range.  We stayed there until after lunch when we walked along in the direction of the airport, with the task of finding a coloured strap for Scamp’s case to make it easier to find on the carousel at Glasgow … when the moving belt eventually squeaks into life.  After selecting a suitable strap we settled in a bar with two mojitos.  Real ones, not the pre-made, out-of-a-bottle ones they ply the unwary with at the hotel, topped up with a teaspoon of their watered down ‘local’ rum.  These weren’t the strongest mojitos we’ve had, but they were very tasty and went down a treat.

While we were there we were earwigging a scam being played out by an old white haired bloke with a beard and his wife behind us.  Scamp was shocked at the length of the claws his wife had, you couldn’t call them nails, these were full-on talons.  Anyway the old beardy had got wind of the fact that a bloke who owned a bar in Arrecife had a backup battery for his own bar that he didn’t need and wanted rid of.  According to his electrician friend, the bloke in Arrecife didn’t know what it was worth and would be happy to sell it on for a fraction of what it was worth.  OK?  The scene has been set.
So, old beardy bloke and Eagle Claw are plotting their pitch to Mr Arrecife.  They decide that they’ll tell the bloke they are interested in his backup battery to use to keep their two fishtanks running when there is a power outage.  The electrician has already told them that this battery will run all the electrical requirements for a bar; fridge, freezer, air-con, pumps, lighting, the lot for 10 hours, and they’re going to tell the bloke that they want it to power their fish tanks.  It made we wonder just how bit these fish tanks were, or how ingenuous they thought Mr Arrecife was.  Beardy thought they could get the battery for under €400.  The phone call was duly made and either the electrician was playing both sides against one another, or Mr Arrecife wasn’t as stupid as Beardy thought, because a figure of €1500 was being bandied about.  The call ended with Beardy telling Eagle Claw that he could probably beat him down to around the €400.  I hope he’s got a good baseball bat to beat him with, either that or he’ll have to threaten Mr A with Eagle Claw.  We’ll never know the outcome.

We walked back to the hotel and while Scamp went for to grab some more rays, I went for a last walk over the lava rocks.  Now, not all of the wilderness is rocky, there are dried up riverbeds, Arroyos that occasionally carry enough water to allow plants to survive and it was one of those areas that gave me the little green leaves.  Like I found in Fuerteventura there are lots of shells here, embedded in the soft dry clay and the lowering light brought out their textures.  At last, I found myself a dragonfly.  Apart from the unlucky pair laying eggs in a swimming pool, this was the first dragon I’d seen.  It was very delicate and thin, not like the big bruisers we get in Scotland.  However, the light was getting poor and I grabbed a couple of shots and then headed back to the hotel.

It was a Rock Show in the theater and it wasn’t quite dire, but it wasn’t all that good either.  There was a lot of shouting, enthusiastic applause and whistling coming from about four folk at the back of the audience, quite near us.  It was totally unwarranted and I have to admit, I think they were ‘Rent-a-mob’, bought in to encourage some interest in the miming and aping on stage.

That was it, apart from a G&T on the balcony to finish the bottle and the initial packing.  Another holiday draws to a close.

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Little Mices, Spies & Statues – 8 November 2016

8 Nov

This morning after breakfast and while Scamp was off sunbathing, I wrote up yesterday’s blog in the cafe area just outside the Asian restaurant.  The sacrifices I make for you, my readers!  As I was finishing, the kids club had just started and the goofy member of the animacion team was trying to instil some discipline in his charges.  He started by suggesting they get something to drink some of them wanted juice, some wanted wine and some wanted beer.  Since all of them were under 12, and most were extremely precocious and noisy, this was a difficult task.  At first he told them they had to be “as quiet as little mices (sic)”.  This seemed to work for the younger ones, but it just made the older ones even noisier.  He then changed tack and told them they were to be spies and to hide in the shadows as they were not to be seen by anyone.  They were to make guns from their hands and creep down the corridor.  That seemed to satisfy everyone.  Once they’d gone, I packed up and went searching for Scamp.  When I rounded the first corner, I heard the command “Quiet!  Statues!” and all the little spies stood stock still in the shadow.  As I passed them I heard the leader say “You see.  He never even saw us!  Now we are going through the jungle area.”  The jungle area was an inside planted area open to the sky.  Probably a great place for spies to hone their skills.

After I found Scamp we set off for Puerto del Carmen to get Scamp a new charm for her bracelet, only Scamp had forgotten to wear her bracelet, so while she went for it, I did some sketching, much to the consternation of the oldies in the coffee place who thought I was casing the joint.  Maybe they thought I was one of the ‘spies’ especially because I was sitting very still, almost like a statue.  Scamp returned wearing the bracelet, I finished the sketch and normal life in the coffee place resumed.

Walked in to PdC and Scamp got her charm.  Got some photos of the scenic part of town and then headed back to the hotel.  Scamp had more sunbathing to finish and I went for a walk before dinner.

After dinner we listened to an awful guitarist playing and ‘singing’.  Even the barmen serving drinks seemed decidedly unimpressed with the noise coming from that area.  Who knew that John Lennon’s ‘Imagine’ could sound so bad.  Thankfully we’d arrived more than halfway through his set and he packed up and left.  Some of the hard of hearing shouted for an encore, but he wasn’t listening.  Thankfully.

Went and watched Goofy whipping the kids club into a frenzy as he dispensed certificates and medals with a large dollop of sarcasm that went right over the kids heads.  Reminded me of Robin Strong at school, many years ago.

The main entertainment for the night was a Magic Show.  Scamp rates ‘magic’ with ‘humour’, ie, Does Not Compute, so we were heading to the room when I was sure I could hear drums. We followed our ears and found a Samba Band practising across the road from the hotel in a concreted display area.  They were quite excellent and were a fitting end to the day.

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Lazy day / Dancing night – 7 November 2016

7 Nov

After the long walks these last two days, we both settled down to a sunbathing day today.  The furthest we were going to go was the pool, or should I say the pools.  The pool with the bar in it, yes in it, not just next to it, but in the img_3545-2-flickr-2pool itself, which means that you can swim up to the pool, have a drink and swim away again.  Sounds like a recipe for disaster, but it all went ‘swimmingly’ today Winking smile   Both Scamp and I had a swim in the pool and when we both tired of this aquatic activity, we baked in the sun for a while more.  It was while Scamp was swimming she shouted to me that there was a dragonfly dipping into the pool.  It was actually a mating pair that was laying eggs in the swimming pool.  I don’t think there is much chance of those eggs hatching any time soon.  If the chlorine doesn’t kill them, the filters will grind them to a pulp.  Such a waste of time.  I got a fairly decent ink sketch done while we were sitting by the pool

We had booked for the Asian restaurant tonight and so we settled for a light lunch to protect our appetite.  After lunch it was back to the hard work of sunbathing again.

Later in the afternoon the sun had moved round and our sunbeds  were in shadow so we went back to the room and sat on the balcony for a while.  I got itchy feet and headed over to the lava rocks to see if I could capture any photos of  butterflies.  I managed a couple and that was my lot.

The Asian meal was delicious although it was a buffet and Scamp’s not keen on food that’s not piping hot, so she was a bit disappointed.  I thought it was all lovely.  My favourite was deep fried Dim Sum.  Scamp’s fave was the Tuna – no surprise there.  We had intended going for a walk and possibly a drink after the meal, but when we left the restaurant we could hear a violin playing.  At first we thought it was piped music, but it turned out to be a live musician playing an electronic violin.  Very clever stuff and of course that put paid to any chances of a walk, so it was ‘cooncil cocktails’ tonight.  Like I said, the bloke was really good, playing classical, pop and jazz.  We listened for his full set.

After the violinist had left, we went to hear the duo singing.  Different duo tonight, different songs, slightly better mumbled English lyrics, but best of all, we got to dance!  We did one Bachata and one Salsa.  Not our finest, but better than nothing.  There was a German (?) couple a bit older than us sitting in front of us and they seemed to think we had done alright.  They seemed to dance Ceroc rather than salsa.

We actually watched the full show tonight – Best of Shows it was called.  More like Least Worst in my opinion.  Blokes with balloons up their jumpers seem to get a great laugh here.  Possibly a Teutonic sense of humour.  I think it was the show that put the tin lid on things.  We went back to the room and off to sleep.  No nightcap on the balcony tonight because we were both tired out after such a lazy day!

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Thunder showers 6 November 2016

6 NovToday started with thundershowers, heavy rain.  Thankfully it didn’t last long.  I think I’ve got an infection in my eye, probably because of yesterday’s swim in the pool.  Lots of dirty people here of all nationalities. 

When the rain dried up we went for a short walk in the direction of Puerto del Carmen because we needed tonic for the G.  The weather didn’t look all that good, but we walked on a bit further to see if we could  find a chemist for some eye drops.  It being Sunday, all the ones we passed were closed.  There were a few spits of rain on the way, but we didn’t bother, we just ploughed on.  We already had the T for the G and lunch time was nearing so we both agreed to go to the Asian restaurant we’d seen yesterday.  Had lunch there, exactly the same meal as we’d had the last time – creatures of habit! 

By the time we came out the sun was shining.  Since Scamp’s feet weren’t hurting too badly, and we didn’t know where the chemist was, we headed back at a slower pace than normal, agreeing we’d get a taxi if we got too tired.  It was a pleasant walk back.  There was just time when we got back for Scamp to go sunbathing and for me to go for a walk over the lava rocks.

No dinner tonight as we were both pretty full from lunch.  I had a coffee and Scamp had a cup of peppermint tea and then, just to be sociable, we had a swift bit to eat, but a fairly minimal bite. 

After our frugal dinner we went to watch the kiddies show, a must for Scamp.  After that the singers were on in the theatre.  We sat through that then through the first three acts of the ‘Musical Express’ hilarious show.  It wasn’t meant to be funny, it just was!  Clumsy dancers, miming singers, and worst of all actual singers.  I hasten to add the actual singers were part of the entertainment team, the singing duo who preceded them were much, much better by comparison.  Still not good, just good by comparison.

Left the amateurs to their gyrations and wailing and went to watch the real stars from the balcony.  Tried for some star shots, but I don’t think they’re all that good.  Maybe tomorrow.

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Thunderstorms, Blazing Sun and Airies – 5 November 2016

5 Nov

This morning we had breakfast – a lighter breakfast than yesterday and retired to the pool. 

There are two pools one for each main building.  Both buildings have the same ground plan, but one has the restaurants and the reception in addition to apartments while the other is entirely apartments.  Ours is the second one.  This means that our building is a bit quieter than the other.  Unfortunately, half of our pool is currently being renovated so we don’t have the ‘swim-in’ bar which is perhaps a blessing in disguise. 

We grabbed a couple of sunbeds after breakfast and we sat and read for an hour, then got a sketch done,  before I decided to find out just how cold the water was.  It was quite cold, but I was prepared for that after last year’s cool pool in Tenerife.  Once you’re in it’s not so cold, and once you come out again it’s lovely and warm.  I read a bit more while I was drying off and then went up to the room to get yesterday’s blog finished and the photos processed.  When Scamp came up she said it was starting to rain and as we watched the clouds roll in, we heard the first peal of thunder.  Oh dear, there goes the day.  We waited a while and then went for lunch which for me was a thin steak, a hamburger, spinach and potatoes.  Lovely.  By the time we came out the rain was off and the sun was out again.

After lunch we went for a walk in the direction of the airport.  For those of a binary persuasion, this was Left along the front, not Right like yesterday.  We walked on and on until we reached the airport.  Not the actual airport building, but the very end of the runway which was almost within touching distance.  The sound of the airies taking off is surprisingly loud this close up.  It was actually worse further away because the buildings shielded us from the sound of the engines as the plane thundered along the runway and it was only when it rose above them that you heard the roar.  Actually it was worse than that because for a couple of seconds the plane lifted in silence, then the roar began.  Those of a mathematical and scientific frame of mind will tell you it’s all to do with the relative difference between the speed of light and the speed of sound.  It does look strange. 

While we were sitting a (French?) family decided to scramble down a steep ramp to the sand.  First the mum and wee boy tentatively edged down.  Next the dad, much braver, pushing the empty pushchair just ran down it.  The front wheels of the pushchair caught in the soft sand at the bottom and stopped dead.  Dad didn’t.  He did a clumsy sort of cartwheel before landing on the sand.  It was one of those things you see happening, but are helpless (with laughter?!) to stop.  The only injury was to the poor bloke’s dignity.

We watched a few airies taking off and then headed back with more than a few stops to rest our weary legs.  The promenade is mainly flat, but it is quite long and it takes its toll on the feet.

After dinner we went to see if the singing duet would perform any songs worth dancing to, but Scamp declared them unsuitable (both the singers and the songs, I think).  Since the dance floor was littered with weans running about while their parents watched from the audience, it was probably a good decision on safety grounds.  We retired to the waiting G&T in the room.

Sat on the balcony under the stars with a couple of G&Ts. 

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First Full Day – 4 November 2016

4 Nov2

A more relaxed morning than yesterday!  Unfortunately it was still raining.  Just a shower we told ourselves but the sky gave a lie to that.  Breakfast was the usual holiday hotel fare and of course we had too much of everything.  Notables were the big slab of butter you could cut for yourself to spread on the bread you also cut for yourself.  Butter was white and unsalted and also quite delicious. 

After breakfast the rain was going off so we waited a while and then headed off in the direction of Puerto del Carmen.  It’s a fairly long walk and the weather was improving so we took our time.  Our objective today was to find the cheapest bottles of Gin and Tonic.  Although we are all inclusive, it doesn’t go wrong to have the makings of a G&T for sitting on the balcony watching the world go by.  The hotel provides us with as much drinking water as we want, free of charge, which is an improvement on some places we’ve been to.  WiFi is also free, but only in the reception and only for two devices at any one time.  Not a real drawback.  To get back to the walk, we wandered down the road checking prices as we went.  Stopped for a beer in a wee roadside bar.  Checked that a really good Asian restaurant we’d been to was still there.  Usual holiday stuff.  Then we walked back, and it was getting real holiday hot now.  Forgot to get the gin and were appalled at the price they wanted for it in Hyperdino (usually the cheapest, so we hadn’t checked it).  I volunteered to walk back to the cheapest shop to get some and also some tonic.  Finally arrived back, just in time for lunch.  We were a bit more modest in our lunch selection, really just a salad.

After lunch, Scamp went to sunbathe and I went for a walk over the rough lava rocks to get some photos.

Booked dinner in the Asian restaurant in the hotel for Monday as Saturday and Sunday were fully booked.  At night we waited for a while for the Flamenco show to start, but gave up on it after a while.  Had a drink in the lounge and then went back to try again.  The show is supposed to start at 21.30.  At 21.45 they started the presentation of the awards of the day for the Kiddies Club.  That was supposed to happen at 20.30, so it looked like they were running at least an hour behind.  We, or to be more exact, I couldn’t be bothered waiting that long, so we headed for bed.  Scamp was keen to demonstrate that she, as Genghis Pathfinder had discovered a faster way to get from the main building to the room and, for once, she was right.  Full marks for Pathfinding, Scamp.

Less food tomorrow and hopefully some sunbathing with the possibility of a swim too.

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A Warm Place – 3 November 2016

03 Nov 16

So here I am sitting on the verandah at the Riu Paraiso hotel in Lanzarote.

The day started just before 5am and we didn’t arrive at the hotel until 3.30pm, it’s been a long day.  It’s now 6.35pm and we’ve wandered around the grounds of the hotel and ventured down almost to the beach.  We’ve also drunk our fair share of beer, wine and sangria, well, you have to keep yourself well lubricated after a long flight they say.  Now we are relaxing and getting ready for dinner.  I’ve only taken a few photos today, just enough to register our presence.  Hoping to take some more tomorrow when there’s more time to explore.  Hoping also to get some sketching done.  For just now, food is the main requirement to offset the excess of alcohol!  So far we are pleasantly surprised with the Riu Paraiso.  Weather wise, it’s just a wee bit disappointing. It was cloudy when we landed and would you believe it’s actually raining.  Light rain, but the wet stuff none the less.

Later we went to the shows.  The first one was a duo with the guy singing (sort of) and playing keyboards with a girl singing. They weren’t awful, they never quite reached those heights.  Only the guy was awful.  After that was the ‘Crazy Show’  This was truly awful.  Apparently aimed at the German market, who, having no taste, thought a man with a couple of balloons up his jumper, pretending he was a girl was hilarious.  Scamp with her senseofhumour-ectomy was not amused , neither was I.  We left them to it.

I was dead on my feet and we called it an early night.

Tomorrow is another day.