What Does It All Mean?

Well, here we go…the big wrap up of the year in Bulgaria. Let’s see if we can sum it up!

Mostly, the whole year was a ginormous learning experience, which is oh-so-trite to say, I know. But really it was. If I had to narrow it down to one life lesson, I would say that I truly realized for the first time all the benefits there are to being a citizen of the United States. There are so many freedoms and opportunities that we have here on a daily basis that other countries don’t even know they exist. I think the Egyptian diplomat I befriended through the newspaper job captured it best when he said, “The number one export from America is not movies or products. It is the dream. The dream that you can determine your own life’s success”. I had never thought of that before, but when he said it (after my first two months of living there), I really understood what he meant. So, here is a list (in no particular order) of freedoms and opportunities, big and small, that we don’t even realize we have:

1. We travel freely. When we want to go somewhere on vacation, unless it is Iran, Iraq or Afghanistan, we go. We can literally close our eyes and point to a map, book a flight and go. Seems normal to us, but really, it isn’t. I witnessed the difference many times. Mark’s partners cannot come here unless they apply for and get a visa beforehand. This can take months. On the long train ride from Croatia to Prague, we stopped at every border to have our passports checked. Never one time did my passport ever warrant a second glance. Usually they just winked at me, stamped it and moved on. I inspected the stamp and cooed over how many I had acquired so far, like a game. But other people would get nervous, jittery, visibly uncomfortable. Several times the inspectors would take our special tools, mini flashlights or magnifying glasses, to really check out someone’s documents. There were even people taken off the train. We witnessed the same scene in the airport–when WE were the ones entering the country illegally!!.

2. We live in a fair and just society. Before you get all defiant on me, like “Ummm, no we don’t!!!, hear me out. Our government is a bit corrupt, sure. We have mobsters and gangsters that control some neighborhoods. But overall, that is not the case. When you feel like you have been wronged here in the States, you have recourse. You can call the police or go to court. Sure there are mistakes and it doesn’t work all the time–we don’t live in a utopia, you know. But in general, there is fairness and justice. You can stand up for yourself here. In other places, you can’t…AT ALL! For example, when Mark and I were getting treated poorly by the Bulgarian Consulate and we tried to file complaints, nobody cared. They just said “that’s how it is here”. We never did get answers or help, despite hiring lawyers and talking to judges. In the end, all those people just took our money and ignored us. Chances are, that wouldn’t happen here. And if it did, you could find a way to get some help.

3. We have social programs. I know, how very Democrat of me to say that. But you can’t truly appreciate our tax-funded benefits until you have been somewhere that doesn’t have them. Sure, our Social Security is a joke. But it is something. There, the old ladies just sell flowers or herbs they grew in a window box and hope to make enough money to live on. It’s really sad. They already live in near squalor and they can’t even afford that. The streets have huge holes in them. You can’t even call them potholes they are so big. When it rains, they are impassable. Their teachers make $200 a month, and you cannot live in Sofia on $200 a month…well, not if you want to eat, too. Many Roma (Gypsy) children run around with no shoes or jackets, even during the winter. They steal sugar from the restaurant tables to eat it.
4. We believe we control our destiny. I mean, think about it…can you remember when the first time was that someone said to you, “If you want something, you can do it, just work hard and you can do it”? That mantra is practically beaten into us here. “You can do anything you set your mind to” is like a national saying, like E pluribus unum is. And we believe it. More than that, it is like a deep part of our psyche that we don’t even think about. If you want to go to college, work hard and you will. If you want to make more money, work harder, get more jobs, and you will. Well, this was NOT the main way of thinking there. Most of the people we ran into were very fatalistic, shrugging and saying, “That’s just how it is here” or “you get what you get”. There is no sense of self-determination at all. Believe it or not, you need that self-determination to be happy. It’s not about money at all. It’s feeling like you can make yourself happy. Other countries feel like it’s all out of their grasp, they have no say, and so they should just plod along through life. Very depressing.

5. If you want something, you can find a way to get it. This seems insignificant in comparison to the previous ones, but it is crucial in day to day living. Here in the U.S., if we want peaches in January, we can find a way to get them. If we want a special out-of-print book, we can find it. We can even get medications sent to our very doorstep from other countries! But that is not the case in the rest of the world. “You get what you get”. Amazon does not even ship to Bulgaria. If you get someone to ship something, it is subject to very corrupt customs officials who usually rifle through it, take what they want and then tell you that it never came. There are no luxuries for the common folk over there.

I’m sure there are many more, and I could go on and on, but probably you are snoozing by now. The point is that there is no other country on earth that has what we have. There is a feeling, an atmosphere, here that just doesn’t exist in other places. I’m sure some of that comes from feeling at home here and not feeling so at home there. But then, I think that is the bottom line. I could never feel totally at home there. I feel like there are so many programs and so much plurality here that our immigrants can eventually feel at home. And they must….’cause they keep on comin’! 🙂

With all that said, I am so glad we spent the year in Bulgaria. We are different people now…and for the better. I learned a lot about life and myself. It is not in my nature to take many risks. I like a calm and predictable life. Going over there was a HUGE risk for me (I’ve lived in the same 10 mile radius for my entire life!). And I survived. I did more than survive. I thrived. I made friends, found a job or two, learned a bit of the language, got over my immense fear of flying, even traveled BY MYSELF!, and even kept a public journal (hint: THIS IS IT!) I came back with new ideas on how I want to live my life. I loved the simplicity of our lives over there and I am working everyday to keep our lives simple here–no unnecessary junk, no wasteful consumerism, cut down on the drama, etc. We ate fresh, seasonal food over there and we have never felt healthier, so we are trying to do that here.

But most importantly, we missed our family and friends, all the little stories and jokes that really give meaning to life. Sure, we had a bit of that there with our new friends, but it wasn’t the same. It wasn’t like here, when you have known someone for 20 years and with just a look or a few words, you know the joke that’s about to come. (Plus, the language barrier was difficult to get over in the joke department). So we are making a pointed effort to stay more connected without family and friends. We are notorious hermits, but we are slowly breaking out of that, and MAN….you socialites are definitely night owls, you must not go to bed at 8:00pm like me…!

Well, I hope you have enjoyed the whole year we have recorded here. If nothing else, I hope it entertained you. I know I really enjoyed writing it! It’s not often that people get all these chances to see and experience the world like I have, so I hope I have sincerely expressed my appreciation for all these adventures. And if it got lost in my humor and sarcasm….well…just know that I have had an awesome year and wouldn’t have changed a thing. Well, except for that whole living illegally because we couldn’t get a visa from the Bulgarian government part–I might have changed that.

And there you have it…that’s what it all meant!

A Way Up North

Or is it “Away up north”?  I’m not sure….anyways, the Canada pictures are up.  Just to recap the trip:

We spent the week with Mark’s partner, heretofore referred to as The Canuck.  We went out crabbing, took scenic drives, fished, and cruised downtown Victoria.  The place was AMAZING!!!  The scenery truly was breathtaking and I saw some animals in the wild that I had never seen before–black bears, elk, ginormous crabs.  We caught crabs and I even killed and cleaned them!  Basically, we relaxed and enjoyed the nature around us.  We especially enjoyed our hosts, who were so so so kind to us.  They have a similar life view as we do, more laid back and outdoorsy, so we all had a great time together.  But my favorite time was, oddly enough, playing croquet in the dark.  We were really cracking up the whole time.

So, all in all, I LOVED Canada, much more so than I ever thought I would.  And, to Mark’s credit, he said I would really enjoy it…and he was right!  Should you ever get the opportunity to visit, you should definitely go!!  Until then, enjoy our photos…..

(In case you forgot, photos are in the yellow church picture to the right of this post.)

Encore

My, but you are all a demanding bunch.  Apparently I have a few readers who refuse to let go.  I thought I had lost you all, what with my four month hiatus and all (who knew that going back to a job I had done perfectly well for 11 years would be so time-consuming?  And then the whole move back into the house….)  But no.  During the holiday family extravaganza, I heard from people that you still check the blog.  One uncle (who shall remain nameless, but you know who you are!) felt “a lack of closure”.  In-laws are searching for photos of those final 3 weeks when we made stops in Spain and Canada on the way home.

Ok, ok, I get the hint.  I got you all into our lives and now you are addicted, like a sick reality-TV thing.  But I understand. I, too, tune into reality television–particularly now that those writers are on strike and there is nothing.new.on.EVER!  To think, I waited an entire year to watch American TV and almost as soon as we get the cable hooked up in the casa, the writers quit on us.  The irony is not lost on us.

Anyways,  I will do a few last posts here.  A Spain post.  A Canada post.  An album for each.  And then my uncle’s closure piece entitled “What does it all mean?”  And then, sorry my little addicts, but then I am done.  D.O.N.E.  Here at least.  I am working on the next big thing, though.  Well, at least the next blog.  In truth, I, too got a little addicted.  I actually enjoyed writing here, joking about our absurd lives, listening to your sarcastic little comments.  And so I will move to a new place, a secret location if you will, to write about our next life adventure.  If you know me, you know what it is and I will email you the info at the appropriate time.  We just aren’t so interested in having the whole world know all about it, especially the public education world, if you know what I mean…*wink* *wink*

So keep checking, there will be a few more.  And then….when there are no more….might I recommend a therapist or some pharmaceuticals to help you with the withdrawal.  You’ll get through it, you will, I promise.  Just look at me…I lived without real TV for an entire YEAR (I know, it seems unbelievable to me now!).

Post-Retirement

Still here….still kicking…still no Spain and Canada pictures. Sorry. This work thing is really taking over my life. And let’s just say that it hasn’t exactly been “easing back into” the place. Ooooohhhhhhh noooooooooo. It’s been just short of solid misery, what with my relaxed, chill-out, been-on-vacation-for-like-12-months state of mind juxtaposed with the ugly demands of the job. And ask any teacher….the week before the kids come back is HORRIBLE.

I go to work at like 6:00 am and tonight I returned at 8:00ish. That leaves time to eat a peach for dinner, shower to wash away all the school dirt, and crawl into bed, hoping that the laundry fairy comes while I am asleep (oh, yeah, and all my clothes for work are still in storage, so add sifting through everything I own to my list of things that must be done before Tuesday morning….), But I won’t leave you hanging. I WILL put those pictures up.

Just not tonight….

All At Once

We are nearing the end of our year here, and therefore, the end of the blog. I have put up a few posts today to try to encapsulate our time here in Victoria. In the next few days I hope to have time to post all the Spain and Canada pictures in the Gallery (they aren’t there yet, so don’t go looking), and then that will be it. So long, farewell, until we meet again….blah blah blah.

So read all the posts I have put up here lately and then check back in a few days to see the pictures. Don’t worry, I will leave the blog up for a while, even if I don’t update it. I need to figure out how to print in in the format I want and that should take, well, months probably.

So…enjoy peeps!

The Other Day…

…I saw a bear. Do you know that song? We used to sing it when I was in Girl Scouts when I was young. Well, it is now more than just a song to me! I saw a real live bear the other day. Not just one, but two!!!!!!! Big, ginormous, hungry, blackberry-eating black bears.

We went out to this river which is a couple of hours north. We were just going to look for bears and other wildlife and maybe do a little fishing. (Of course once Mark heard the word “fishing” he immediately envisioned the granddaddy salmon being attached to his line. Needless to say, we lost him at some point. He cared not about bears or elk or anything else. Just the fish…..) Well…as soon as we turned on to this lttle dirt road off the big dirt road, we saw a bear. He was so cute and seemed so cuddly. He ran across the road and then hung out by a tree to see what we would do. I tried to get a picture of him but he ran away before I could. Grrrrr!

We stopped at a few places to try to catch some fish. Mark hooked a couple of anchovies on his line. Ok, they weren’t really anchovies. They were some other kind of fish that are supposed to get up to like 15 pounds, but Mark’s looked like anchovies. While we were there, we saw this:

This dude was HUGE and FAT and I wouldn’t want him coming at me, that’s just all I need to say about that! We went to a few more places and down an even smaller road and that’s where we saw our second black bear. He was bigger than the first and he darted across the road. He didn’t seem as friendly as our first bear.

We also saw some river otters playing around. This place is like a real live zoo, I tell ya! No cages, no nothing. Which is a little unnerving. Like when we saw the first bear, we drove a little ways up the road and got out to talk the dogs and there was all this bear poop on the road. Let’s just say I wasn’t feeling exactly comfortable. But Sig (You’ll remember, he was our boat captain from the crabbing day), told me that there haven’t been any deaths in 20 years here from bears. Of course he also told me that he usually comes with a gun or something and this time he had nothing. Greaaaaat……

Anyways, the day was nice, the weather was warm and the animals were amazing!!!! You people gotta come visit this place! Just take a look:

scenic.jpg                   scenic-2.jpg

Not-So-Deadliest Catch

So the beauty of actually knowing people here in Victoria is that we get to do things not usually found on the tourist agenda. For example, today we played like we were on the Discovery Channel and went out crabbing in the Bering Sea ocean inlet. I opted to refer to our rig as the Northwest (ok, so we were in a small metal boat…perhaps not the same) and to call our captain by his crabbing name of Sig (you REALLY have to be an avid fan of the show to understand my references here….sorry if you aren’t….)

I gathered all my gear and my dry suit fleece sweater just in case some rogue monster waves plunged me into the icy Arctic Pacific waters. We piled up all two of our mini crab traps into the boat and set off. Turns out, there were no rogue waves. Actually, there weren’t ANY waves at all. It looked like a tranquil fresh water lake out there. And of course, the scenery is amazing. I cannot describe it, so I will just show you a couple of pictures:

cran-scenic.jpg     crab-scenic-2.jpg

We boated around and found a good place to drop the traps…according to Sig. Then we went and found this little beach where the water was so clear, I could see this:

crab-starfish.jpg

And this:

crab-jellyfish.jpg

We hung out there for a few hours while the crabbies were hopefully gnawing on our salmon bait and getting, well, trapped (hahahaha, I am hilarious!). Then came the time to gather the goods. We motored back out to our site and attached the traps to the hydraulic lift Mark’s two hands and pulled them up. Sure enough there were crabs in there! And just like on TV, we had to measure them and throw back the little ones and the females. I held a few:

crab-me.jpg

Then, on the next stop, there were even more crabs. Here, have a look at the before and after picture of our traps:

crab-trap-empty.jpg     crab-trap.jpg

This time I bravened up a little and pulled them out of the trap. Turns out they aren’t too thrilled to be pulled away from their dinner and they try to pinch you. But being me and of superior intelligence, I learned to grab them from the bottom, AWAY from the pinchers. Brilliant. I know. We sorted again and put our keepers into a little ice chest.

crab-ice-chest.jpg

When we were nearing the shore we started to clean and prepare the crabs. Apparently you have to hold their claws in and then pound their head on the boat to kill them. Then you have to remove the shell, break them in half, and clean out all the guts and gills–all of which you just throw into the ocean for the other fishies to snack on. So I can now confess to you that I am officially a murderer because I killed and cleaned out my own crab. And I must say, I have skills, people….SKILLS! I mean, should the teaching thing not worked out…

For dinner we had steak (a meat which is nearly non-existent and inedible in Bulgaria) and shrimp and crab and baked potatoes with real sour cream (also non-existent in Bulgaria) and a delicious Caesar salad. And I am still full…the next morning. But man, it was TASTY. And I just might have found my second career….

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Bulgaria: A Year in (Photo) Review

Here is the post I had planned to put up before our last internet outage in BG.  It is a selection of some photos that pretty much sum up the year.  No words, just pictures…
yir-1.jpg    yir-7.jpg

yir-2.jpg   yir-8.jpgyir-3.jpg   yir-9.jpg

yir-4.jpg

yir-5.jpg   yir-6.jpg

yir-10.jpg   yir-11.jpg

yir-12.jpg   yir-13.jpg

yir-14.jpg   yir-15.jpg

yir-16.jpg   yir-17.jpg

yir-18.jpg   yir-19.jpg

yir-20.jpg

Oooohhhhh Canada!

Well, we’ve crossed the ocean. And what a crossing it was! I had fretted the entire evening prior to leaving about the whole weight of the bags versus how many checked bags, etc thing. You see, we flew British Airways this time because, well, frankly I have had it with United. We used up our free United miles to get to Spain and now I plan on canceling the card with them and recovering from our unhealthy relationship. And so I was free to date fly other airlines again.

Which meant I could go with the cheapest fare. Which, in this case, meant British. Now perhaps you more land-bound people do not realize that British Air has a…ummmm….reputation. And it’s not pretty. Similar to British people in general, they like to make up a lot of rules and live by them. For example: Your luggage ABSOLUTELY cannot be over-weight or they will charge you something like a million pounds for each pound over (heh. get it…pound for pound? I amuse myself.) Also, if you are traveling from one European destination to another European destination, you can only check in one bag each–which, of course, canNOT be over weight. But, if you are traveling from Europe to say, the U.S., you get two bags each. And ABSOLUTELY, POSITIVELY no more than ONE carry-on. Of course, if you can fit two carry on bags into one, then you can walk through security and unpack the second bag and then have two carry-ons—a loophole to the rule.

Well, anyways, you get the idea about the rules. So, I was concerned. Our first flight was from Malaga to London, and therefore a Europe-to-Europe destination, meaning we could only check a bag in each. Problem. We are moving home people. We have more than one bag each. But, being so intelligent as I am, we had two big bags and two small ones and two backpacks. This way I was ready for any rule. Only one bag each? No problem. Check in the big ones and attach the smaller ones in some fashion to the backpacks to get through security. Allowed two bags each (because, umm, technically we ARE flying over an ocean), no problem. Check in the two bigs and the two smalls and carry the backpacks. Now…the question of weight. See, the big bags can become heavy very quickly. So I strategically packed those full of only clothes, nothing else. The small bags housed all the books, movies, CDs, shoes, etc. This should help distribute our weight allowance.

So, as you can see, a lot of thought went into all this. A LOT of thought. Perhaps, some might say, too much. Especially when you consider how the whole check-in process went:

Agent: Passports, please. (Oh…did I mention I had accidentally, completely soaked my passport while I was in Spain? Oops…I was just hoping they would still take it. If not, I guess I would have had no choice but to live there….)

Us: Ok. Here you go.

Agent: (typing, typing, typing) Would you like me to check your bags all the way though to Canada, even though you change airlines in Seattle?

Us: Yes, please, that would be great!

Agent: How many bags?

Us: (wincing) Two each.

Agent: Ok. Just load them all up here and I will put the tags on them. Have a nice flight. Bye bye.

That was it. No weighing, no arguing, no fuss at all. Bizarre. And if you can believe it, things only got better. We got to London and went through our obligatory 28 security checks and arrived at our gate early enough to have a Starbucks coffee and spend some time on the internet. Then, when we were getting on the plane (the 10 hour flight one), we did our usual drooling over those super-snazzy sleeper beds in First Class. We passed the First Class cabin and adjusted our backpacks to head back to the cattle car when all of a sudden, we looked up and realized that our tickets said 21A and B, and there we were at 21A and B, which just so happened to be in Business Class. And not just in Business Class, but they were the bulkhead seat of Business Class, meaning no other seat in front of us. In fact, just one sheer, blue curtain separated us from First Class.

I could not believe it. We clearly did not pay for Business Class. We had stretched already to prepare for the yoga poses we would do in the cattle car. Mark started settling all in and I refused. I insisted there must be another row 21 in the back of the plane. I stood and waited for the line to walk by and then I did perhaps the dumbest thing in my life, which was to ASK the flight attendant if indeed there was another Row 21 because clearly my husband and I were in the wrong seats. The dude laughed at me. Out loud. And said in his British accent, “No, love, you are fine where you are at”. I took that as a sign to settle in. And so I did. I mean, PEOPLE, we were in a curtained area. Those poor economy people could not even enter our cabin. Heh. Heh.

So I played with the fancy TV screen that lifts out of the arm rest and reclined my seat, which just so happened to have another feature where the bottom has a foot rest that lifts up like a Barco-lounger. I tried on my little eye mask for sleeping and inspected the toothbrush you get in Business Class (you know, so we don’t smell like those Economy Class people). All the while, Mark acted like he belonged there, all nonchalant with his newspaper open and legs all crossed. As if he flew Business Class all the time.

And so the flight was fantastic! I was even sorry it ended. We caught our next 20-minute flight from Seattle to Victoria with no problems, and now we are here. It is really amazing here. Soooooo different from Spain of course. everything is all green and foresty and people have these amazing little gardens. Yesterday we walked around some of the reserves and checked out the port and downtown. We have plans to go crabbing (like on Deadliest Catch, except on a much, much smaller scale. But in my mind it will be like the TV show), and fishing, and looking for bears where the salmon are running. The nature here is amazing and the air is so clean. I can see why the Canucks are such peace-loving people.

Oh…and we are in civilization, staying with one of Mark’s business partners. So clearly, we have high-speed wireless internet, because…duh!…Mark’s business partners wouldn’t be caught dead without it. Which means that when I randomly wake up at 3am with my jet lag, I can upload photos of Spain and Canada here. Woooohoooooo! So look for them soon!

Bar-the-lona

Before I tell you how terrific Spain and Barcelona are, I must vent one small thing.  The language here.  The whole s/th thing drives me CRAZY.  Gracias is grathias.  Barcelona is Barthelona.  You get the idea.  Now I can adjust to this.  But when we went to Barcelona, the language changed completely…to Catalan (I think that is what it is called), which seems to be some bizarre mix of French and Spanish.  I could figure out the writing, but when people spoke…forget it!  I could understand like one out of every four words.  So, here I am, in Spain, as a fluent Spanish speaker, and I CAN´T UNDERSTAND people.  Oh well.  The same thing happened in London…(but in English.  duh!)

 

Ok.  That is the end of my little rant.  Barcelona.  The short version…loved it!  We drove up there on Monday.  We have a little travel alarm clock with us, so I left it to Mark to set it for like 5:30 in the morning.  It went off in the dark and we dutifully got up, showered, packed the car with a a small bag of clothes and snacks and set off to Barcelona.  And then we looked at the clock.

 

It said 3:30 am. 

 

Which explains the complete darkness.  Mark tried to pin it on some clock malfunction, but I investigated and saw that Mark set the minutes instead of the hours.  So instead of putting the alarm hand near the 5, he put it on the 3, thinking 15 minutes after 5.  Oh well.  We were up and driving, so off we went.

 

We found Barcelona and our little hotel easily.  We got all settled in and since we had arrived a few hours earlier than expected (eh hem), we set out to explore.  We walked around for a while and noticed a place that was offering a Spanish cooking class the next day at 6:00 pm.  We noted it and put it on the agenda.  We found a place for tapas, ate, and then crashed into bed. 

 

On Day 2, we set out to see the sites.  We started at the rare, hardly-ever-seen-before Starbucks.  We were so excited to find a Starbucks–we´ve been without for most of the year you know!–so we just had to stop in!  Then we went directly to the Picasso Museum.  The line stretched across the whole city.  Ok, maybe not that far, but a long LONG ways.  So we decided to come back later.  Instead we got on the metro and went to the Sagrada Familia.

 

For those of you who don´t already know, the Sagrada Familia is a ginormous church that has been under construction for like 125 years already.  It looks like it will be under construction for 125 more.  But it was cool.  The original architect was the artist Gaudi, so there were bright colors and mosaics and just general big-ness.

 

Then we decided to go straight to Gaudi´s house.  It is in a park called Gruell Park and there are some of his statues there as well.  Little did we know that the walk up to the park was straight uphill.  STRAIGHT uphill. Like so steep I wouldn´t have skiied down it in the winter.  But we pressed on and survived.  Since it is located up next to the sun, the park offers beautiful views of the city.  We cruised around, rested in the shade, and eventually found Gaudi´s house.  Of course the park is full of huge mosaics.  Oddly enough, his house is not.  It is just a regular house.  But in a very cool location.

 

Next we headed back to Picasso.  This time the line was only like a third of the size.  So we waited in it.  It only took ike half an hour to get in.  I have to say…me not being an art connoisseur in any form…I was really impressed with that place.  They have many of his first works from when he was like 13 years old, which are quite amazing.  Then of course the art work progresses through his life.  I always made jokes about this Blue Period of his.  How some people spend a lifetime studying one of Picasso´s periods.  Ok, I will still make fun of that, but…it was cool to see how his work changed.  The last exhibit features his study of Las Meninas and they do this overlay where they show how his cubism stuff really is representing this classic painting.  I was intrigued.  I don´t think I will devote my life to the study of it, but I would definitely like to learn a bit more.  Mark was impressed, too, which tells you a lot.

 

By now it was time to head to the cooking class.  We got there and…it was cancelled.  So I was bummed.  We decided to go back to the hotel and have a siesta and a shower.  Then we headed to the Olympic Port for dinner.  But before dinner, we saw the most unusual sport.  These guys were playing beach volleyball, only it wasn´t volleyball.  They could not use their hands.  It had the same rules as volleyball (3 touches, then over the net, etc), but they had to use their feet and heads and shoulders.  Kind of like volley soccer I guess.  We watched it for a long time.  Then we ate–paella, of course.  We were exhausted so it was back to the hotel and to sleep. 

 

The next day we headed home.  10 hours in a car.  It wasn´t as bad as it seems because the scenery was beautiful, but still, it was good to be back.

 

We have spent the last 2 days lounging on various beaches.  Yesterday we went down to Torrox Costa and rented a very comfortable sun bed and palapa.  That bed was more comfortable than our bed in Bulgaria! We stayed there all day and all evening…swimming, reading, napping, playing smash ball.  You get the idea.

 

Today we went on the hunt for a little cove Mark saw while we were driving home from Barcelona.  We found it but we couldn´t find a way down the cliffside without harnesses and ropes.  So we forged on and found another one which was perfect.  There weren´t too many people, we had our snacks and an umbrella, and we read and swam and lounged all afternoon.  Now we will head to dinner.

 

Our plan for the last two days here is pretty much the same.  We might go into Malaga tomorrow just to check things out.  It will depend on how we feel in the morning.  Because that´s how we roll.  We lounge in the morning and then decide where to lounge the rest of the day.  The life of a lizard….

 

Oh speaking of lizards….we saw a HUGE gecko looking thing in the middle of the road today.  The dude just hung out there and there were like 6 cars waiting on him to move.  Hilarious!

 

And so I´m off, for a little more tasty cuisine and beverage next to the beach.  I know.  You´re jealous!

 

p.s.  Just so you know…about the reverse (since I was asked), Mark did not look in the glove compartment for car instructions…but I did.  And all that was there were instructions on what to do if you got into an accident–which was appropriate for us given that we were headed for one that very moment.  Luckily Mark´s fine car pushing skills saved us!