Well. These have been an interesting couple of days. I woke up early both yesterday and today and got into news and social media watch straightaway. Jan is always telling me to steer clear of being too political and I have a had a few comments where it has been suggested that ‘I do like a good political rant’ (true!) but I also think that there is so much going on and that maybe our perspective is a bit different to some of our friends as we are not only watching what is happening here in Spain, but also the CR and the UK (and a few others occasionally!) and they often make for some interesting comparisons. What they all do, mind you, is a lot of giving with one hand and taking with another, plus frequent changes of plan (not surprising, but sometimes difficult to keep up with!). Here are some of my favourite from yesterday and today!
In the UK (which, of course, I could write about for ages, such is the confusion with what is coming out of there on a daily basis), they have finally decided to request that all people travelling in go into fourteen days of quarantine (from Monday I think). Since, as I mentioned before, I don’t really see that anyone will want to travel there just now with the virus still pretty out of control, this seems a complete waste of time (and should have been done months ago, like everyone else) plus it seems to have been done without too much discussion with key players, since the management of the main airports as well as, of course, British Airways and Ryanair, have gone completely nuts – to the point that BA is threatening legal action – so it may yet change. Meantime, BJ has said that he is going on a ‘charm offensive’ (that in itself is hilarious) and visiting all 27 EU countries to persuade them to send workers to the UK (this after spending the last few years telling most EU nationals in the UK that they are not welcome, and that Brexit will ‘take back the jobs for the Brits). Then we have the scandal of the government promising over and over again that they won’t import low standard food from the US after Brexit (in particular chicken in chlorine – yuck), and now they will. On Twitter this morning, a petition from the Farmers Union asking people to sign up to supporting the UK farmers (many of whom voted for Brexit) who will lose their businesses if such products are imported as they won’t be able to compete on price. So all going well there then.
In the CR, everything seems to be going smoothly, but one little thing took me aback this morning – Czech Airlines (I have mentioned before, we used to love them when we had our gold and platinum cards, but then they stopped flying to the UK and despite our lobbying them like mad, they refused to consider continuing as ‘there wasn’t the interest from passengers for the route (hmmm, that was a good one), plus they took all our accrued miles away so that we couldn’t use them anymore, so we all stopped flying with them) – are, from Monday, flying to London Heathrow. Has no-one told them that people won’t be interested in flying to the UK (see the above comment re quarantine!), nor flying back from there (the UK being a red country) – or, dare I say it, have they thought that they could get on the international airlines’ scam (Iberia, we haven’t forgotten) of taking money for tickets and then telling people that have booked them what the real situation is – and offering vouchers for changing flights instead of cash back? Surely not……
Here in Spain, we continue with getting back to normal – in fact, on Monday, we go into Phase 3, which pretty much means that everything (except our Pueblo pool of course) is open again. So far as the pool is concerned, the few people that are still here are all in a rage about it, as it seems that pools all around us are open, but apparently the ‘administrator’ (every Pueblo or community has one – we have never actually met ours… and God help her when we do!!) – is allowed to make rules that even override those of the Government. So whilst the Government said that we could use the pool from lst June, our administrator says no, only from lst July. In our new-found ‘can’t be bothered to argue mode’ we have kind of given up on trying to get it open, but I am sure it will be discussed again at a later date.
For now, we think about the fact that in two weeks’ time we will be back in Prague (we know of one person that flew on the Malaga-Zurich-Prague route yesterday and it all worked well, so there is no reason to think that our same flight won’t go) and feel sad that we have to go so soon – I keep saying, we are contrary beings! And that we have to make the most of our last two weeks! (In the 18 years or so of having a house here, we have never actually stayed longer than 14 days – work always calling) – now we will have been here for 100 and it seems too short!!!!
Yesterday, then, was a day off exercise, and a pretty lazy one up until the evening, when we went to a ‘gallery opening”. Now that might sound quite normal but (a) I have never been to a gallery opening in my life (the old me would have said it was not really my thing) and (b) an event?! Only a few weeks ago we could barely go outside and now, here we were galivanting off to a social! There were a few clues that things are still not quite normal – the fact that we had to wear masks (although most people took them off once they got inside), the invitations had to be limited to just fifteen people, and the way that we all hopped about when greeting each other – do we shake hands, kiss, knock elbows… it all gets a bit awkward but generally everyone kept their distance until we all left (after a few glasses of wine) and then, I am afraid, it was a bit of ‘caution to the wind’.
A couple of weird bits from last night – first, when we went in and looked at the pictures (blown up and spectacular photos) I said that I am sure that I had seen one or two of them before – I think the gallery owner thought (‘oh yer, sure’) and then we noticed that the photographer was from Zanzibar and, actually, some of the photos featured on the website that I wrote for my client, the Zuri Zanzibar Hotel which, unsurprisingly, is on the island of Zanzibar in the Indian Ocean…. as usual, a small world, which got even smaller when the first person to arrive after us was a very beautiful, East European woman, who turned out to be Czech but living just a few minutes away from us (and is now a friend!) and she was followed by a famous English sports photographer who I spent the rest of the evening talking to as, once he showed me his portfolio, we realised we knew many of the same people (and we might now do a project together). All too exciting for words.
Today, then, started in its normal way – Jan running (only two more days before we can exercise whenever we want – he is so relieved… no more getting up early!..) and me a bit of Bollywood, a 7 routine and 40 minutes on the bike (resting my legs a bit after all that tennis) and then, wait for it, a trip to the hairdresser! We were walking back from Marbella Old Town the other day and stopped to look in the window of a very swish looking hairdresser as it appeared to be open and we were trying to see the price list – and then one of the guys rushed out and greeted us (in English), persuading us to come in and have a look around (this sort of thing happens all the time in Turkey, but in Western Europe?) – so we did… and that resulted in my having one of the best-ever haircuts today (and Jan next week). Marvellous.
Finally, a bit of a Greek story, following similar lines to earlier in the blog – having said recently that Greece welcomes tourists from all over Europe to visit, a couple of things I noted this morning: not ALL tourists are welcome – those from France, the UK and Sweden will need to take a test and then go into seven days’ quarantine in an airport hotel (where they can be observed) – if the test is negative, they can continue on their holiday after seven days (and another test) and if positive, they remain in that hotel for fourteen days (but the hotel will be paid for by the Greeks). And those not coming from these three countries could be subject to random tests, with the same system applying. Can’t help thinking that the original announcement was made before it was properly thought through and now they are running for cover… but this surely can’t work – anyone fancy being picked out at random and spending their holiday locked in a hotel for at least seven days? No thanks.
What a pity, though – we love Greece – we went to Athens for Jan to run the anniversary marathon (2,500 years of marathon) from Marathon to Athens – a boiling hot day, where we all had to get up at 5.30 in the morning and gather on the hillside until the gun went off at 9.00 am (I was with the ‘VIPS’ as this was in my days of working for Prague Marathon), whilst Jan was looking sick at the start – incredible scenery, atmosphere, music (Zorba the Greek playing the whole time), and then the VIPs went back in a coach with no loo, to stand in the Olympic stadium VIP area, also with no loo, whilst the sun blazed down on us until the race ended – which in the case of the professionals, was within 2-3 hours, but in Jan and others’ more like 5-6 hours… during which time he nearly died from running and I nearly died from dehydration and not being able to go to the loo – but despite all that, we really do love it… but won’t, in view of the above, be going there any time soon!
So to finish for now, and in case you don’t remember Zorba the Greek – here is a fantastic reminder that I found on my hunting this morning!