Alicante, Spain

Friday 30 March – Monday 2 April 2012

Term II: Alicante, Spain

I have said it a thousand times and I will say it once more: I detest technology! Ugh my bloody computer screen keeps blacking out (something about the NVIB 189.8 Kernel Microsoft drive or something stopping responding and then successfully rebooting, I have this message written down somewhere) it is so frustrating. Why can’t computers just work and not break. Oh well anyway, Spain.

So this weekend my dad and I journeyed to the lovely Mediterranean city of Alicante. We flew out of Glasgow Friday morning and unfortunately were surrounded by a group of very drunk Glasgow Scots and nine middle aged women going on a ‘girl’s holiday’. The flight was a bit over three hours and the whole time it was interesting, not (as you would think) because of the drunken Scottish men but because of the nine women going out to relive their youth. We were relieved when the plane finally landed down in Alicante and we could get away from the cackling women (the whole episode was later dubbed – by me- ‘skanks on a plane’) and repulsive smelling drunken men. When we arrived at our hotel we spent most of the day wandering around the streets and doing some postcard shopping while consuming ice cream (literal ice cream it’s amazing), pasta, and of course pastries (I’m going to need to go on a serious diet when I get home, though I will be so busy this summer that maybe I’ll just not have time to eat, unlikely). We also checked into our hotel which is like and apartment thing, we have a kitchen/living/dining room and a bedroom and bathroom. It’s very nice and in a good location¸ though I am on the first floor and my room reminds me a lot of Anakin’s house in Star Wars; it’s really dark and cave-like.

On Saturday we got up and headed over to the castle that sits on a hill above the city. But before we went up there we stopped at the market (Spain has the most amazing markets and if you ever visit you have to go to one. They are usually inside mass train station looking buildings). This was a two story market with the top story full of fish and pastry stalls (not sure what they have in common) and the bottom level full of meat and cheese stalls. We then headed up the hill to the castle. It took us a while to get up there because we kept getting distracted by the sheer beauty of the city below us that was ever increasing with every couple of steps. When we finally got to the top we decided to go into the pirate exhibit but discovered (after purchasing our tickets) that not only was the exhibit really awful but all of the information boards (which looked really interesting) were in Spanish and though my dad speaks pretty good Spanish (Mexican) it takes him a long time to read it. After the disappointing exhibit we headed to the café for two cappuccinos for me. The cappuccinos were absolutely delicious and the view from the café was beautiful unfortunately right as we were ready to go exploring the gigantic castle and fortress clouds and cold weather started to blow in (and I started to get hungry). Regardless we spent about thirty minutes exploring before descending to the Tapas bars below. Of course when we got down from the castle the clouds went away and the sun came out (typical). We had a delicious and large late lunch of garlic potatoes, raw chicken kebab (of course I didn’t eat it, we sent it back and they cooked it all the way), cuddle fish, and fried anchovies (that was my dad anchovies disgust me). After lunch we headed down to the harbour where we had noticed a huge concert type thing going on and wanted to explore. When we got down there we discovered that it was something called the ‘Spring Festival’ and there were hordes of near naked girls and ‘Jersey Shore’ (American reality show on MTV) looking guys all in their late teens/early twenties sitting and standing around getting drunk, trying to get with each other and of course trying to get into the festivities. It was terrible! I get really uncomfortable and a bit freaked out when I am surrounded by lots of people (not really a crowd phobia more of a minor anxiety) and was in a terrible mood for a bit while we walked along the harbour and beach which was swarming with individuals my age. I finally relaxed when we got away from all the noise, the skin and the alcohol; I felt like I could finally breath again (this is why I don’t like cities, the inability to escape the crowds so I constantly feel like I am suffocating). After our walk along the harbour and beach we headed to the grocery store (the place that we are staying has a kitchen and my dad just really loves going to grocery stores, you learn a lot about a culture by their grocery store, I’m dead serious).

Today, our final day in Alicante before we return to Edinburgh (whose fantastic weather seems to be coming to an end, according to the news Britain will be ‘brought back to reality with cold weather, rain and a possibility for sleet and snow; lovely), we decided to take the 11:15 boat out to the Isla de Tabarca which is an hour off the coast of Alicante. It was a gorgeous and warm day made even lovelier by a boat ride out to a tiny island (seriously you could walk around this island in about an hour or so) completely surrounded with clear turquoise water. When we arrived to the island I was starving so we stopped at one of the restaurants and had the most amazing and delicious paella I have ever had. If you ever go it is the restaurant that is on the right hand side when you are approaching the island from the dock and it is on the edge of a small cliff and the paella is the ‘Sailor’s rice’, it is so good! After eating we wandered around the island for the rest of the day until the boat took us back to the main land.

Every trip I go on has some sort of theme; Copenhagen was ‘Joe and the Juice’, Scotland is Fish and Chips, here it is ‘the claw’. On our first walk on Friday, my dad and I came upon this near deserted mall at the end of the harbour and upon entrance I noticed four or so of those games with the claw that you use to try to snatch a toy but usually fail (at least in the states) because they are rigged, well I saw that two of the machines had Simpson toys in them so I decided to take one of my two euro coins and see if I could win one of them. I chose the easiest looking grab which was a Ned Flanders doll that was lying on top of the others, I took care to make sure that the claw was in the right position before I pressed the little red button and to my shock and excitement the claw grabbed Neddy and I successfully dragged him to the drop box! I was so thrilled with my success that I decided to push my luck and try the other machine which I had noticed had a well-placed Mr. Burns (whom is one of my favourite characters). I played the game in the same manner as I had before and once again was successful! I was so excited that I carried them around with me for the rest of the day and put them on display on my bed. The following day (Saturday) we returned to the mall and I decided to try for an Apu doll. I put my two euros and began to move the claw to the front of the machine where there was a well-placed Apu doll, but to my annoyance the rigging had been zip tied so that I couldn’t get the claw where I needed it, so I decided to try for a less well placed doll and was unsuccessful at grabbing it. Bummed by my failure I began to turn around and meet my dad when I noticed that the machine was still going, I got a second try! I rushed back to the joy stick and, choosing another Apu doll, moved the claw right above it before dropping it. To my surprise the claw grabbed him, but only barely, it grabbed him by his ear and I was sure that contact with the plastic around the drop hole would wrench him free from the claw and I would turn around again as a true failure. But to my surprise the claw held tight and Apu slid down the hole to my awaiting hand! I now had a total of three dolls, but there were four in the machines, I was missing one: Chief Clancy Wiggum. So today my dad and I returned to the mall for the final time to try and make a set (this is why I don’t allow myself to play video games, I won’t stop). The Chief Wiggum dolls in both machines were poorly placed and looked like a difficult grab no matter which I chose, so I chose the one I had spied the day before as an easier catch. I then inserted my money and began to move the claw to the appropriate spot. I then spied into every part of the machine to make sure that it was right above the doll before hitting the button for the final time and to my expectation (because I have now decided there truly is a ‘science’ to this machine) I grabbed the Chief! So now I have a full set sitting on my bed, highlight of the trip!