Thursday, 22 March 2007

Pulling the Wool over Las Salinas

One of the jobs we're working on at the moment is a web page for guided tours and excursions round Ibiza. Conscientious drones that we are we thought it would look more attractive with some photos of the destinations so people get an idea of where it is they're going.

So we packed our trusty camera and trusty dog in the car and sallied forth to Las Salinas beach and salt pans. The Phoenicians, who had a well earned reputation for being salt mad, introduced the method of extracting the salt from sea water by evaporation to Ibiza thousands of years ago.
The tourist buses actually go to the salt works to see this highly interesting process in action and on the way pass by the little San Francisco church which served the salt workers and their families for hundreds of years.

The difficulty of taking pictures at this time of year is that there's either nobody about, or the few hardy souls that are, are muffled up like cossacks on the steppes. A totally different scene to the beach in August which is full of off duty international footballers, beautiful people paying over the odds for sun loungers and the teeming immigrant masses from Figueretes who decamp themselves right in front of your highly expensive sun lounger.

The good thing about photos now is the clarity of the air – you can see for miles, often all the way to the mainland – and totally different from the smog-like heat haze of summer.

The other good thing about this time of the year is that heavy physical exercise – walking more than 10 metres for example – is effortless in comparison to the uncomfortably humid month of August.

We succeeded in getting some really good photos and with a bit of luck none of our prospective tour takers will notice that it isn't summer and hopefully that we're using snaps of a completely different island to represent Formentera! (this is the real Formentera)

Tuesday, 20 March 2007

Take the 'Are You an Ibby?' Test

Are you turning into an Ibby?? Just answer a few simple questions and you'll see...............................
1. You are driving through town in one of its many rush hours. Suddenly you spot your neighbour, who you haven't seen since this morning, strolling along the street. Do you?
A. Wave politely from your Opel Corsa in a manner that says "see you later" and continue your journey.
B. Bring your long wheelbase Jeep Cherokee to a screeching and otherwise unsignalled halt in the middle of the busy road and then hold a long and animated conversation with your long lost friend about the mess the binmen made this morning whilst completely holding up traffic in both directions.

2. You have thousands of Euros stuffed into a mattress and decide to invest some of it in the property market. There is a minor problem in that the land has no permission to construct. Do you?
A. Engage a good lawyer to work for you and wait patiently for 7 years whilst the relevant licenses are obtained from the Town Hall.
B. Invite your uncle and brother in law, who is the Mayor (and also the owner of a large construction company), and your cousin, who is the Chief of Police, out for a few bevvies, so that you can build your house without the inconvenience of paperwork.

3. You have popped out to the supermarket to buy a packet of sunflower seeds. It is the busiest time of the week and it is heaving, all the cashiers bar one are on an hour's break drinking coffee in the bar. You eventually find yourself at the head of an enormous checkout queue. Do you?
A. Say a quick hello to the cashier and have the correct money on hand to make your purchase and get out as quickly as possible
b. Notice that the cashier is your next door neighbour, who you haven't seen since this morning, and then hold a long and animated conversation with your long lost friend about the mess the binmen made. Then forget where you've put your purse, fumble around looking for the correct money and eventually hand over a crisp 100 Euro note, and then wait while your old friend packs your sunflower seeds into a bag.

4. Your Casa in the Campo (see 2) is finally built. Do you?
A. Call your house "Dunroamin" and spend your days relaxing in peace and tranquility in your well-tended garden.
B. Call your house "Perro Peligroso", dump an old delivery van and numerous rusting domestic appliances in its grounds, and purchase half a dozen Doberman dogs which bark incessantly, day and night, at the end of their 1 metre long chains.

5. It's the middle of August and you notice an extremely damp patch in your underarm area. Do you?
A. Take a refreshing shower and reapply that all-important extra strong deodorant.
B. Slap on a bit more cologne as bath night is still two weeks away.

6. You are on one of Ibiza's numerous car parks. You spot the one remaining space, but it is 50 metres from the exit. Do you?
A. Park in it, grateful that you have found somewhere, and walk stoically those tiring extra 50 metres.
B. Decide against the space as it's too far and block the car park exit with your Jeep Cherokee as your errand shouldn't take more than an hour.

7. You own a large construction company and you have a wagon load of old tiles, bits of concrete, aluminium ducting, asbestos, and 300 kilos of toxic waste. Do you?
A. Pay a fee to the council to dispose of the rubbish safely and unobtrusively.
B. Drive to one of the few remaining unspoilt areas of the island under cover of darkness and dump the lot over as wide an area as possible

8. You are visiting a friend who lives on the sixth floor of an apartment block. Do you?
A. Press the door bell belonging to your friend and go in when the door is opened by the entry phone.
B. Press every door bell on the panel and then stand in the middle of the street tooting your moto's horn and bellowing and shouting, "Jose, tio, Jose! Abre la puerta!"

9. You have purchased a puppy. Do you?
A. Feed it. Groom it. Take it for regular exercise, and enjoy a long and mutually enjoyable relationship together.
B. Get fed up with it after its first week crying on the balcony, then drive out to one of Ibiza's unspoilt toxic waste dumps and boot it out of the car to fend for itself.

10. You are an under-employed housewife. Your family (all 28 of them) ring to let you know that they'll be round for lunch next Sunday. Do you?
A. Give up one of your coffee afternoons to make a trip to the butchers with a list of everything you need so that you have ample preparation time.
B. Completely forget about lunch until 11am on Sunday – the one time when people with jobs can get to the supermarket – and then stand in front of the butcher's stall with no idea at all what you want and so buy 30 of everything they have.

If you have scored mostly A's then you've obviously never been to Ibiza. The odd B denotes a need to get off the island once in a while. If you failed to answer any questions then you are the mayor of Sant Josep! Good luck in your many court cases.

I Like it Like That

It was our big village fiesta yesterday. I say yesterday because that's the official celebration when we all get a day off work and everything closes, (just like Saturday afternoon and all day Sunday) though the events actually started on March 1st and will finish with next Saturday's 'Flower Power' fiesta.
So this weekend we've had 3 big concerts in the church square of the village and the main street has been lined with stalls selling barbecued food and lashings of alcohol. Jaki and I went out on Saturday to see Peter Colours but one of the band was ill so they couldn't make it so The Blues Mafia stepped in at the last minute to save the day.
The village was packed and chaos reigned as only so many cars can squeeze into the limited spaces available. Fortunately our local police and civil protection were out in force gabbing to all their mates so motorists could pretty well do as they wished - just like any other day.

So, last night Los Fulanos came to town, an eight piece Latin Soul outfit who kept the crowd warm on a bitterly cold night (no less than 14 mountain passes are closed today because of snow) when the wind howled down clear across the Med from the Alps. Just to make sure I sank 8 fingers of Dr. J&B's anti cold remedy as an antidote to the ice cool beer I'd drunk from a wet glass!

It was too cold for Jaki last night so I recreated it for her this morning by opening the window wide to let the howling wind in, put Tito Puente's 'I Like it like That' on the stereo and gave her a slide show of the photos I took.

You can actually listen to the band via their own blog

Thursday, 15 March 2007

Travelling Back in Time

This morning we were plunged into the dark ages when our power went off for a whole 4 hours. Courtesy of our local electricity supplier we travelled back into the past to a time when we had no computers, no TV, no heating, and because our water comes from a well via an electric pump, no water.

It was a time when poor people were forced to flush their toilets with buckets of water from their swimming pool – yes, two weeks ago, when torrential rain also left us without leccy!

Anyway, as our well water is so full of calcium that it can't be used for anything other than watering the plants, we decided to go to the big water filling station in San Rafael to buy some water to make tea and coffee.

The plan was to have a picture of a smiling Jaki, filling carafes with clean fresh water, but when we got there we discovered it was closed and with no sign of opening in the near future.

We're just going to have to drink wine with our spag bol tonight!

Talking of time travel, i had a few predictions about the future pop into my head this morning. I reckon that Spain will win the Euros 2012 by a large margin against Italy, Elton John will play a concert in San Antonio (and so will Lenny Kravitz, but probably to a different crowd) and SHM will split up!

Wednesday, 14 March 2007

Why 'View from the Villa' as a blog title?

A few years ago now I used to write an irreverent column for local free newspaper 'The Ibiza Sun.' Its title was indeed View from the Villa as it purported to be the ramblings of a rich villa owner in Ibiza and every week seemed to grow more and more absurd.

Now I really am a villa owner, however not yet rich, though my real ramblings have grown even more and more absurd. Having nowhere to vent my grumpy anger and frustration about the more ridiculous minutiae of daily life in Ibiza, I decided to write a blog.

All I have to do now is fathom out which buttons to press............

Meanwhile, hopefully, here really is a photo of the view from the villa. We're in the centre of San Jose and the view is across fields of almond and carob trees to the main road into Ibiza town.

El Ste