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June 3, 2002

I slept fairly well in

I slept fairly well in Stansted the other night, though I was a bit surprised when I woke up in the morning to find a camera crew filming me.

Colin left today after spending the last four days or so here on the boat
and we had a really good time, though I think I need to sober up for a while
now. I drove him to the airport and he checked in for his Easyjet flight
behind Richard Branson, which struck us as a slightly bizarre thing for the owner of a competing airline to be doing.

June 5, 2002

I seem to have developed

I seem to have developed dog ears as whenever I go swimming they fill up
with water and it's days before I can hear anything again. I spend all my
time shouting at people and telling them to speak up. Today, I caught the
bus to Palma and enjoyed a lovely day in civilisation, but came back to
Porto Colom to find the boat rolling like mad in the bay. After a brief
session of bouncing around inside, I decided to seek refuge in a local bar
and took the dinghy ashore. It wasn't the roughest dinghy trip I've ever
had, but it was bad enough for a fish to jump out of the water and into the
boat to escape from the sea.

In the bar, however, I met a new chum, Lucas, an Argentinian (don't mention
the (Falklands) war!), who is unable to pronounce my name and instead calls
me Bernie. He told me many happy stories of typical days growing up in
Argentina; of being robbed at gunpoint for one dollar as a fifteen year-old.
Apparently, his car was stolen recently and having discovered who took it
he's off to kill the person tomorrow and hence was out celebrating tonight.
All in all it was enough excitement for one day, and so I'm about to climb
into bed and hang on all night to avoid being thrown onto the floor.
Goodnight.

June 7, 2002

Walk to San Salvador

I've been doing quite a bit of walking in Mallorca recently, and today I
kept up this good habit by catching a bus to Felanitx and hiking up to the
mountain-top monastery of San Salvador. The walk used to be a pilgrimage up
the mountain, and as you follow the path there are stations of the cross at
intervals until you reach the church itself. It was something of a surprise,
however, on reaching the top and walking into the 13th Century monastery not
to hear hymns being sung, but to be greeted instead by 'The Bangles' being
played at full volume. Maybe the Catholic church has changed since I was
last there. The view itself was incredible though, looking out over
virtually all of the island, and onto Menorca in the distance.

My plan was to walk back to Porto Colom, and equipped with some maps I'd
picked up in Palma a couple of days ago, I confidently set off down the far
side of the mountain. Half-way down though, I was stopped by a large gate
surrounded by six no-trespassing signs, and so was forced to turn around and
climb back up to the summit then return to Felanitx. There, I waited for the
last bus in a bar and looked on in amazement as a Chinese woman cleaned the
gaming machine out of 160euros. Once she'd left with her winnings, I noticed
there was a bullfight on the essential television that every Spanish bar has
in the corner. Now, bullfights to me have always been one of those bizarre
things that Spain still has and no-one else in the world really understands
why it's allowed to survive. A bit like the USA has George Bush. Then you
tell yourself that it's part of their cultural identity, and you stop
thinking about it. So today, the same thought process went through my head,
but there was nothing else to look at in the bar so I found myself looking
back at the tv and watching the bullfight. I was really hoping that the bull
would win, but whenever it got close to the guy, a horserider would come
over and stab it with a long spear. At one point the bull turned and killed
one of the horses - live on tv as people ate dinner! Finally, the bull had
bled so much that it just fell over and was dragged off by a team of horses
with its' legs still kicking. I began to wonder where else in the world an
animal being killed could make primetime television, but couldn't come up
with anything so went off in search of my bus.

June 11, 2002

I'm writing this in one

I'm writing this in one of my favourite courtyard cafes in Palma, Grand
Caf. One of the best things about Spain is the free stuff; for instance,
here the waiter just brought a huge bowl of fresh cherries around all the
tables.

Yesterday I walked over to Cala Brafi, one of the beaches close to Porto
Colom. While sitting on the rocks enjoying the sun, I suddenly heard a voice
shouting, "Bernie! Bernie!" and wondering who the hell Bernie was, I turned
around to discover that he was me, and found Lucas standing there. His
Argentinian friends had apparently dragged a dead cow down to the beach and
were hard at work barbecuing it in the way that only South Americans can,
such is their love of meat. They invited me over and although they are
allegedly all drug dealers, I spent a very pleasant afternoon eating and
drinking with them on the beach.

June 12, 2002

I'm in an internet cafe

I'm in an internet cafe right now where the pcs have Teletubbies Windows (i.e. Windows XP) loaded, and I have to say that it is the slowest, most awful looking OS ever! It really appears to be designed by five year-olds for five year-olds, with huge buttons and migraine inducing clashing colours.

June 15, 2002

Today was a typical day

Today was a typical day for me here in Porto Colom. I did a bit of work on
the boat, went swimming, had a coffee, then ended up in my usual bar for a
beer in the evening. I've got a rental car booked for tomorrow and I'm
planning to take my laundry into Palma for a day out as it's been mounting
up since Florida... five months ago!

Chilling out this evening in my local bar

June 21, 2002

The other day I was

The other day I was woken up by a low-flying helicopter moving slowly over
the boats in the anchorage with a large camera mounted underneath it as it
gradually photographed all the vessels. Big brother is watching you, even in
Spain. At least it's not as bad as in the US, where even before the twin
towers disappeared, we found that our movements with the boat were always
closely monitored. Boat names would often be discreetly recorded in
anchorages, and bridge personnel would track our movements when we passed
by.

June 28, 2002

A few days ago I

A few days ago I looked into the bilges on the boat to find them rapidly
filling with water. I started to pump the water out and began looking around
for the leak, but couldn't find anywhere that water was coming into the
boat. After a lot of searching, I managed to track it down to a leak in one
of the fresh water tanks we have on board, and was relieved to find that we
weren't sinking. The tank, of course, had to be sorted and I spent the
following day removing the table and a section of the floor so that I could
get it out. I then spent the last two days driving around Mallorca with it
in the back of a rental car, trying to find somewhere that could repair it.
In the end I found a stainless fabricator, and so I attempted to explain
what I needed from them with my very limited Spanish (which previously
consisted solely of 'Una cerveza' and 'La vida loca'. Eventually, they
brought forward someone who could speak German and I barely managed to
express my need for a repaired water tank to him. As it turned out, it can't
be fixed, and so they're going to make a new one, however, nothing happens
too fast in Spain, so they think it'll take about 3 weeks. Such is life on a
boat.

June 30, 2002

Social skills

My only social contact today was giving the finger to someone on another boat. Must work on my social skills before Ninas parents arrive.