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September 2, 2002

A new home on Isla Clementina

Yesterday evening at sunset, I brought Zamindar onto Isla Clementina, her
new home in the centre of Mahon harbour for the winter. It's a floating
island that takes about 25 boats, with a large area in the centre with
seats, a barbecue, and a shower, and supposedly it's one of the most
sheltered places to berth in this part of the Mediterranean. The sea is
about 2.5 miles away to the south-east, and the harbour has cliffs on either
side. There was a barbecue in progress when I arrived, and once I'd tied the
boat up I was invited over, so I joined them and enjoyed some red wine and
something that had been barbecued, though it was too dark to see what it was
I was eating. It was just as well really as I'm beginning to run out of the
pasta that Nina made for me before she left. Not trusting my ability to
create a balanced diet, she very kindly made some chicken pasta last
weekend, and I've been heating it up and working my way through it this
week. Maybe a week's a long time to be re-heating chicken for, as it does
seem to be, how should I say, developing a new flavour, as time goes on.

It is, however, quite exciting to be in a marina, and I hooked the boat into
shorepower this morning and all the luxury that brings, namely unlimited
electricity (or actually up to 1000W). So now I can put lights on, listen to
music, use the espresso machine, or even blowdry my hair into a bouffant
quiff to resemble my passport photo should I desire to, with all the power
on hand.

It's just after midnight, and it's really calm, but I've just been outside
twice as I keep hearing a banging noise. But every time I go out, it stops.
Then I sit down again, and it starts up again. It seems to be coming from
underneath the hull, and so the only thing I can figure it could be, is a
fish or something continually banging into the boat. Or maybe somebody's got
pissed and fallen into the water (when we were in Palma we saw a body
getting pulled out of the harbour).

I'm currently walking around looking like a cripple; which is a word not
used much nowadays as it's not very politically correct, but it's true, and
I will not be offended when, walking down the street, families now point at
me and call me a cripple. In addition to smashing my right foot up with the
wakeboard last week, I leapt onto deck the other night, and booted the genoa
track car (i.e. something very metal and sharp) as hard as I possibly could
with my left foot, and in the process sliced it open in three places. The
only consolation was that I'd had a couple of drinks at the time and hence,
the pain was not too bad, though, of course, on the other hand, if I hadn't
had the drinks then I may have been more coordinated, and chosen not to kick

September 3, 2002

I did a really embarassing

I did a really embarassing thing tonight. I'd been woken up by a mosquito buzzing around my head, and so was busy trying to hunt it down in the cabin when I heard a couple of English guys fighting ashore. Normally things are completely silent at night here, so I went out to see what was happening, as from where the boat is I can see all along the harbour front. Anyway, while I'm watching this I see another two guys wandering along looking into all the cars like they're going to break into one. Then they carry on walking and get onto one of the motorboats in the harbour, look around, then get onto the next one. They spend a bit of time wandering around it, then they get inside, and one of them keeps coming out to look around. This is happening at 0430, so obviously they're breaking into the boat. So I call the Port Police and say that there's a couple of guys acting suspiciously on one of the boats, thinking that someone will have a walk past to see if any of them have been broken into. However, ten minutes later a huge police launch with three armed police on it comes screaming out of the port and over to the pontoon I'm on, wakening everyone on all the other boats up. I, of course, point out the motorboat to them, tell them what I saw, and they go over to it. Which would have been great if only the two pissed, young English guys on the motorboat hadn't been the owners sons! As the police boat passed on its way back, I thought it prudent to keep my head down and spare everyone from being woken up again to be told the news, though I really did want to apologise.

September 6, 2002

The English in Spain

Planned to finish packing tonight but instead drank the best part of a bottle of Berberana wine and watched a VCD of Charlies Angels I bought from some Triads on the streets of Hong Kong last year. Yesterday I went for a badly needed haircut; I simply said "Corto", but he misunderstood and assumed I was off to join the National Front, hence I now have no hair at all.

I did manage to find a new favourite cafe today, called Cafe Ars (seriously), which has lovely coffee, a good sound system (Bose - you can hear the difference), and a strange maze of passageways that seem to travel underneath all of Mahon before finally getting to the toilets. So I sat there today, and wondered what happens to British people when they go on holiday. Earlier I'd been passed by an English 70 year-old walking around town in only a bra and shorts, the kind of behaviour that would have her taken straight back to the old persons home if she was in Britain, but obviously fine to do if you're in Spain. A cruise ship was in, and the port was full of very fat people who were too big to manage to walk up the stairs into town, and had given up, deciding instead to sit on the stairs and eat ice cream.

On Saturday, I'm flying to Hamburg, en route to Denmark, so of course I now discover that this weekend is the biggest fiesta of the year in Mahon, with 4 days of partying and celebration for the Fiesta de Gracias, or Festival of Joy and Pleasure, the unmissable event of the year. Typical. Vorsprung durch technik.

September 7, 2002

I was given a lift

I was given a lift ashore this morning in the Port Authority rib, which had a lovely 300hp engine, as I'd lifted our dinghy out of the water yesterday. Then, as I had plenty of time, I walked the 6km or so out to the airport.

The party for Festa de Gracias, Mahon's patron saint is in full swing right now. The air force just did an air display above the city, then made a low-level formation fly past the airport. Last night there were fireworks and festivities late into the night in the old town, and the celebrations are set to continue all weekend. I'm sorry I'll miss it.

September 10, 2002

Arrival in Denmark

I got back to Denmark on Sunday, after spending Saturday night in Hamburg then catching the train up to Copenhagen.

September 12, 2002

Back in Denmark

It's really nice to be back in Copenhagen, and best of all the weather's been lovely here so I've been cycling in and out of town to my usual cafe. I'm also trying to catch up with all the things I've got to do to the website, having not done much work on it over the summer.

September 13, 2002

Balearics photographs

After spending lots of hours over the last week working on them, I'm happy to say that the photographs of everything (well, most things) that we got up to in the Balearic Islands this summer are now up on the site.

Balearic photographs

September 15, 2002

Spending the weekend with Nina

Spending the weekend with Nina at her parents summerhouse & doing some work on the site.

September 19, 2002

China Photographs

The photographs from our trip to China are now up on the site as well.

China photographs

September 21, 2002

Everything always happens when I'm

Everything always happens when I'm in the bathroom - the other day I was interrupted by someone repeatedly ringing the doorbell. I opened the door to see a man standing there with a gun, which was a bit of a surprise until I realised that it was Danish police. He was looking for someone who had given our address as his, someone that I'd never heard of, but of course, he thought that I was the person he was looking for. It didn't help my defence much that the person he was trying to arrest had an English sounding name, and that I didn't speak Danish. In the end I gave him Nina's number, he called her, apologised, and stormed upstairs to interrogate one of our neighbours.

I've found a new cafe in Copenhagen, Espresso House, which I've been frequenting this week to do some reading and catch up on what was happening in the world while I was in Spain. Oddly, however, they have a sign in the toilet asking you not to flush condoms down it, which does make me wonder what kind of clientele they get.

One of the most interesting new trends to appear over the summer seems to be the practice of warchalking, which entails making a chalk mark on a building or pavement in an area covered by a wireless network to allow others to connect into it. BBC News story

This evening we're off to celebrate Nina's father's birthday and apparently going to a mooncake celebration as well that's being held as part of an Asian culture weekend here in Copenhagen.

September 22, 2002

We had a lovely evening

We had a lovely evening last night, although I'm feeling a little bit rough
today. We're just about to go off to have dinner at Emad's place for an
Afghanistan meal cooked by Azim.

September 24, 2002

Goodbye to Compuserve

After 5 years of keeping my Compuserve subscription going so that I could
get a connection in whatever country I was travelling in, I've now
terminated it, and along with it goes my Compuserve email address. So if
anyone out there is still writing to it, then, well, don't do it. Technology
has changed in the last 5 years, but they haven't, and now I'm more likely
to dial into a UK isp from another country over my mobile and check my mail
than pay Compuserve up to $10/hour to log onto their local node.

September 26, 2002

Beer in cans and phone throwing

Here in Copenhagen it was summer a week ago, autumn seemed to last about three days, and now it feels like winter has arrived. So with the temperature heading fast towards freezing point in the evenings and the days getting noticeably shorter all the time, what are people getting excited about in Denmark?

Well, the biggest event this month is the arrival of beer in cans. Previously, due to environmental laws, drinks were only allowed to be sold in recyclable bottles, but due to pressure from the European Union to increase competition, the Danish government have implemented a refund system for properly marked cans and allowed their distribution. Hence, everyone is very excited with the opportunity to sample the new, metallic taste of beer from a tin. You just have to remember not to crush the can afterwards as it costs almost as much as the beer that's in it. [more info]

The other day I was happily flying along on my bike at 30km/h when I hit a bump and my phone flew out of my bag. I watched as it hit the ground, bounced twice, then overtook me and spun down the road for 30metres. I stopped my bike, expecting to pick up the pieces, but to my amazement it was fine and still worked. I think I may have shortened its life though, as it's now flexible, but maybe I should take part in the Mobile Phone Throwing World Championships.

September 28, 2002

Photos from Hong Kong

Photos from our time in Hong Kong last year are now up on the site
Hong Kong photos

There's some worrying news around these days with the ongoing threat of a new war, but worst of all is this story from the BBC
Blondes 'to die out in 200 years'