Wednesday, April 25, 2007

Birthday Boy!

Monday was my darling husband's birthday so he decided he'd like a BBQ/party on Saturday. We were incredibly unlucky with the weather as it had been lovely just prior and just after Saturday but party day was grey and drizzling constantly. The party went on regardless, in the house and outside on the terrace, under the awning. We had plenty of food, champagne and other bevs, and brilliant music supplied by our friend Frank from London who had lengthened his trip specifically to play DJ. So the rain soon became an issue no longer..... I had worked like a dog, shopping and cooking, making all the food from scratch so when it actually came time to socialise, I was shattered. I only managed 2 hours before I snuck off to bed for the rest of the night. By all accounts it was a very successful party and birthday boy certainly enjoyed himself. There were a few bodies lying around the next morning and I found a few questionnable items which lead me to believe that a wild night was held by all. I'm glad I was safe in bed! Item no. 1, a pair of ladies knickers on the stairs, item no. 2 a pony tail in the rubbish bin. Strange! Our friend Mark from New York texted next day asking who cut his hair but no-one has owned up to the knickers. I'm not surprised!

Enjoying the BBQ

Look at the size of me!!!

Tanc thanking Sophia for his birthday badge

Theo providing the entertainment

The blonde contingent, Clover, Charles and Sandra

The Wags getting down to Frank's toons

(A big thankyou to Diana and other mystery photographers for making sure the night was recorded)

On Monday, T's actual birthday, we attended our first ante-natal class held by Anne a lovely Irish midwife, highly experienced in Spain, along with 8 other couples. They all seem very nice so hopefully we will make some friends as well as get prepared for 'the main event'!!! Tanc even managed to watch the graphic DVD although he admitted later that he couldn't look at one bit and I assured him i was quite happy for him to stay up the top end during the birth!

Wednesday, April 11, 2007

Semana Santa

Friday morning we drove down to Tarifa, past Gibraltar and Algeciras. We were booked onto the 1pm ferry to Tangier. It is just under 1 hour from home to Tarifa and then 35 mins across the Strait to Tangier. The time-consuming component of the trip is the queuing - first for boarding passes, then through security. So from home to the hotel in Tangier was 4 hours. When we pulled into the port of Tanger I was filled with both excitement and trepidation. I had heard so much about the city's glamorous bohemian past (it used to be known as sin city) but had also listened to so many first-hand tales of drama, frustration and displeasure.

We were advised by Clover to only take a yellow cab, not a blue one. We soon saw why! The blue ones were tiny old Fiats and the drivers were freakishly kamikaze! The yellow cabs were old Mercedes saloons and the drivers more controlled. It was a 5 min drive to our hotel at the entrance to the Medina. We stayed at El Minzah which is one of the oldest and most famous 5 star hotels in Tanger, built in the 30's and frequented by many an artist and movie star.

We decided not to hire a guide to take us around the Medina but had difficulty convincing a gentleman that we hadn't booked him, we had only enquired how much and he proceeded to walk with us for a good while. It is such a unique atmosphere in the old part of town, almost ancient. It was sometimes reminiscent of a scene from Star Wars with Obi One Kanobi lookalikes walking around everywhere and strange creatures in robes.

The first day was spent gathering our bearings and deciding what to purchase and our purchasing strategy. I was nervous and felt quite self-conscious. Everyone was staring at my belly as though they had never seen a pregnant woman before. During the day there were mostly men around. They just seem to sit around all doing not much, except the ones trying to lure tourists into their shops. There were groups of men of all ages just sitting around, for example looking out to sea. We decided that with all the praying they had to do there was not much time for anything else. At the call to prayer there is a mass exodus, then afterwards a return to the buzzing streets. In the evening the streets really come alive with more stalls and men accompanied by women, although not showing any overt signs of affection we noticed.

We must have drunk several litres of mint tea throughout the day, resting in between our walking back and forward through the maze of the kasbah, trying to look like we knew where we were headed! When we got back to the hotel we were exhausted. We ate in one of the hotel restaurants serving traditional Moroccan fare which was delicious however the service was very Faulty Towers! We went to bed early but were kept awake by the horrendously loud thumping music of a Moroccan wedding taking place downstairs!

Next morning we woke to a gorgeous sunny day and enjoyed a delicious buffet breakfast including pancakes, eggs, fruit and more mint tea for me! We set off early on the purchasing expedition to get some shopping in before checkout at midday. I was much more confident and relaxed and even wore my camera around my neck. We had a fantastic day and got to experience another side to the people. We experienced the humble, generous, trusting and trustworthy side of Tangerinos which was far from what I was expecting. And we bought some amazing items for the house - 2 carpets, a teapot, 4 cushion covers, a tray and a shirt. Tanc is amazing at bargaining. He plays them at their own game. I have no doubt we bought our items lower than any other tourist that day. He always said it was in his blood! He even managed to get 50% off the hotel bill after complaining about the noise overnight!

Wednesday, April 04, 2007

Week 29 Body:

Went shopping yesterday and bought about 10 outfits for Tiger from H & M. Uh oh! Not bad though, got a lot for 82 euros!
We had our 28 week scan last Monday. Tiger is in good shape, putting on fat and moving around a lot. Looks like i've got around 10-12 weeks left to go. I can't imagine getting too much bigger but apparently I will. I have now put on 12kg and it is pretty much all tummy! Tanc is worried I am going to explode. I think Tiger looks like Tanc already.