Thursday, 11 August 2016

Majorca day 5

Finally worked out where to take our rubbish, and just as well - this week our villa has been the venue for several episodes of “Man V. Watermelon”, and not even my boys will eat the outer skin so we had a large quantity of ant-food to get rid of. The resident notes warn about the dire consequences of leaving rubbish in the villa too long (rotting smells, more ants, cockroaches) or outside the villa (rats, wolves, wolverines, vampire bats, komodo dragons) and that it’s our responsibility to get rid of it, but doesn’t say exactly where to dump it. Eventually found a site in the lane leading to the villa’s drive, with a choice of three skips for the environmentally conscious: landfill, landfill or landfill. Seems the Spanish don’t share our anxiety about removing the cellophane window from an envelope before placing it and the paper part in correctly colour-coded bins, shortly before the whole lot is landfilled.

Hopefully they won’t mind me dumping the copious quantity of broken glass we’ve generated this week, taking full advantage of the unforgiving tiled floors throughout. Emma first dropped a high-ball glass, then hurled a tumbler across the kitchen, and then for good measure Michael shattered a nice pot pourri jar thing in the bog. Each incident had a wider scatter pattern than the last; maybe if we coat the entire floor of the villa they won’t notice anything. Certainly we need to ensure that the the damage is symmetrical, so the other pot pourri jar has to go.

I volunteered to make lunch, using up stuff we had in the fridge: some chicken breast portions, spuds, tomatoes, an onion and some garlic. Guess what we had? That’s right - chicken, spuds, tomatoes, onion and garlic fried in some Spanish version of Stork margarine the last tenants left behind. It’s like Ready Steady Cook in here - there are theoretically enough utensils to cook with, but somehow it’s just too difficult unless you can fit it inside the tiny microwave oven. I reckon the villa owners have shares in local restaurants. Anyway it went down well enough, due mainly to a jar of ‘Pollo’ seasoning - fresh food just doesn’t work without artificial enhancement.

Bad weather forecast today (only 26 degrees, slight chance of some rain at 5pm for half an hour or so) so opted to visit the Cuevo del Drach, the sweetly named show cave at Porto Cristo an hour down the coast. Another thing about Mallorcans - they’re schizophrenic. Everyone is nice as paella to your face, but put them in a car and they turn into Jeremy Clarkson on a day when there’s no hot food. Driving a rental car, you might as well have a bumper sticker reading “Abuse me please”, as evidenced by the git in a small Fiat who reacted to my overtaking him doing 40 by speeding up to 70 then tailgating me for several miles. Thing is, I knew he would do it, but couldn’t resist taking the bait.

Porto Cristo is considerably less genteel than Pollença, as evidenced by the preponderance of lurid fascias advertising ‘Self Service’ restaurants. I was also unimpressed by the novelty penis-shaped carved wooden bottle openers, hanging from a large penis-shaped wooden stand, to be found in several/all of the gift shops - Majorca’s version of the classic Blackpool hat with a turd stuck on the front, with the strapline “Shit head”. Of course the place was rammed with coachloads in for the day from Alcudia, unmistakably British: all tats and texting.

Turned up in good time for the start of the cave tour. About 200 people arrived after us and the queue was backing up onto the car park, so the staff asked everyone to form two additional side-queues which fed into the, er, same gateway, prompting that unedifying spectacle of folk quickly calculating whether they should stick or twist. These Johnnies just don’t understand the beautiful and ancient art of queuing, the joyous feeling of success when you get in before other people, even though it makes no bleeding difference.

The caves were of course breathtaking, awe-inspiring, jaw-dropping etc. at first, but after you’ve seen 5000 or so stalactites you’ve seen ‘em all, and stalagmites are just wannabe stalactites. It’s especially difficult to achieve a meditative state when you’re chivvied along by a stream of bloody tourists. However this tour has a nice touch - at the bottom of the cave you are treated to a short but mesmerising classical concert from a quartet in a boat, yes in a blue-lit rowing boat, floating gently past you on the underground Lake Martel in the dark. A genuinely touching moment, broken only by Michael dropping a large water bottle on the floor which then rolled under the seats in front of us and hit someone on the back of the leg.

Over dinner Emma asked how I was getting on with the book I’m reading about Facetime. I eventually worked out she was referring to Why Does E = mc2 by Professor Brian Cox (and some other bloke) about relativity, and - well work it out. Michael was asking what it would be like if cats could breath life back into dead humans, and suggesting a title for a new series of films: “Lord of the Roast Chicken”. I think we’re all going a bit villa-crazy and it’s just as well we’ve only got one day left.

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