Liz's Journal - Almerimar

Page 26

Almerimar: 22 October 2002 to 19 May 2003

This would be a very long and tiresome story if I told you everything that happened in Almerimar during our seven-month stay, but I will fill you in on the more important events and even that will take some time.

We arrived in late October; Halloween was the first memorable event that happened. Personally we do not believe in this event, but for us kids it was a chance to hang out and get sick on sweets. Unfortunately, half of the people in the marina did not know about Halloween so we collected the most amazing array of things, from traditional Spanish biscuits to pomegranates. Once we had all our goodies, we tipped everything into one big pile and the feast began.

Jamie and Alexi had no idea we were doing anything for Halloween, so they arrived in shorts and T-shirt. I thought to myself 'This will never do' so out came the face paints and "Picasso" went to work, the bottom line is you are supposed to look scary. Even though I was not the oldest, my parents were not too happy with the whole idea of me acting 'Childish'. I say, have you seen any recent pictures of my dad lately? Perhaps the one of him in the freezer or better still where he was trying to roller blade, if not check the photos again and he calls ME childish! Once we had stuffed ourselves we did the classical apple bobbing which is completely unhygienic, but we did it any way. Reminds me of a mother telling her son who would not eat his greens. 'Just eat it my boy, pretend its mud'

I don't know how it happened, but my parents got this idea about sending me to school, can you believe it SCHOOL! As if I've got nothing better to do with my free time, you would think I sit and do nothing all day, which is true, but only to a certain extent. As it turned out the Spanish school that I went to was not that bad at least it got me into a routine again of getting up, getting dressed, having meusli and coffee before running to catch the bus. One idea that I learnt from Sheryl, a good friend of mine, is to pour your coffee onto your cereal and not to bother with the milk which proved very effective for no longer did I burn my mouth while trying to sip my coffee, I now burnt it eating my cereal, but it was quicker.

The Christmas and New Year we spent in Almerimar was the best, not only was there snow on the mountains, but we were surrounded by friends and loved ones, something very special about this time of year, well it was certainly better than Christmas 2000 which was spent yawing at anchor off Cayo Guano, Cuba.

Christmas brunch at el Cubanitos ended at eight o'clock that night and included cracker popping, dancing, music and fun. Where the grownups could be kids and the kids, well kids. New Year was spent at the Papagayo BEFORE it became an 'uhem', house of pleasure. Lights flicked on and off illuminating the dance floor and the people on it. Even those that couldn't dance to save their lives didn't quite look as bad as the people trying to talk above the roar of the music. This was probably the second time in my entire life that I had to turn the lights off, I was in bed after my parents whom when I crept down the steps I heard sleeping peacefully in the aft cabin.

The Alhambra of Granada was a Palace of the Nasrid sultans from 13th to the 15th century. It is divided into four main areas, the Palace, the Alcazaba or military area, Medina or city and the agricultural estate of the Generalife. The palace stands on a hill and is surrounded by green vegetation irrigated via channels from the water of the Sierra Nevada. The Alhambra is framed against the snow-capped mountains of the Sierra Nevada. In the 18th century the Alhambra was neglected and was then classified as a national monument in 1870. Puerta de la Justicia the 'Gate of Justice' is the main entrance to the Alhambra. I spent ages at a tiled pattern which technically should have at least one fault, for the Muslims believe that only Allah is perfect, and man made things must have a fault.

A surprise visit, my cousin Henry and his friend Manus came to visit us on the boat. The last time I saw Henry was when he was fourteen and he had changed slightly, now twenty-one. Unfortunately they only stayed over the weekend and I was very upset when they left.

I made many friends in Almerimar and we share some very special memories, the age range was one that I have not seen in a long time the youngest was a little girl from another boat and she was four, the oldest was Chris aged eighteen. We always traveled around in a group like one big family looking out for each other. The best thing that happened while in Almerimar was my trip to South Africa, this was a wonderful surprise and the first time I had been back since leaving to go sailing, four years previously.