Monday, 30 June 2008

Tips for posing on the Beach

Here is my list of tips for all you due a vacation to the beach this summer.

Always try to look like you are looking at something REALLY far away. (Bonus casually points if you bite your nails)

Try not to let your camera person drink too much and collapse

Drinking beer on the Beach is pretty mansculine. Do it!

Standing this camp inbetween swigs is not advised.

Flexing muscles is good not just for passerbys but for those photos to hang on the walls too.

Finally, Big Warning now. Here is the one pose you should never, NEVER, adopt while on the Beach.

I call this 'The Lost-Camp-Duck.'
And I totally meant to do this pose just to prove a point....ahem.

Sunday, 29 June 2008

MAJOR Lizard Spot Update: Cockroach Edition

So Lizard Spot has had a bit of a quiet time lately. That doesn't mean that I'm still having the same problems of spotting them. The opposite in fact, I've spotted load's over the last few days. So much so that I'm going to start getting picky over what I count and don't count.

Also as about 99.9% of homes in Nerja are white some photos may look to you like they are duplicates, but you'll have to trust I wouldn't pull that stunt. (If you still don't believe me check out the time stamps)
Here are a few I wont be including.
These guys were too fast for me.

These guys decided they were too shy.

So it turns out that I've been looking for lizards in all the wrong places. Well not the wrong places, just the wrong times. The missus first started to spot them a few days ago but now we both know that lizards are far much easier to spot at night.

Wednesday 25 June
Can you spot this guy? Here is a clue 'X marks the spot.'

Or can you spot this one?

"Who you looking at?"
Photo2 Photo3

Almost the King of the Castle
Photo2 Photo3

Also spotted on our walk home which made the missus jump out of her skin was this guy.
It "nearly ran up her leg," so now she has adopted a walk of lifting her legs up high when walking at night.
Quite amusing really....

Thursday 26 June
Not the best at hide and seek, but points for imagination.

Lizard on Blonde

Friday 27 June
Just the one today. Although we had been out late so it's far past this little guys bed time.

Saturday 28 June
"Lies, lies from tiny eyes."

And finally, spotted by the missus so she gets full credit for this monster.
By far the biggest lizard we've spotted since being here.

There were many more that I've not included due to bad photos. Plus there were some I couldn't photograph for being too slow. Special mention goes out to the White Lizard. This lizard has scared the missus a little bit as it almost completely blended in with the white walls so looked really weird for a lizard.

So that brings Lizard Count now to
Lizard Spot Count:23

Also my waterproof camera is due back in a few days. I'm unsure what to do with Fish Spot as the last few times I've been snorkeling I've been swimming with massive numbers of fish in large shoals, up to a hundred I'd guess. And they aren't as scared of me as lizards are. So I don't want Fish Spot Count get astronomically high within a few days. Plus I'd never count them. I'll just wait and see how good the photos come out on the camera.

Thursday, 26 June 2008

Noche de San Juan

So we finally had the big party on the beach I've been looking forward to for weeks. Not only did we have a fun day out on the beach, but I think I spent more time on the beach in this one day then I had been to beaches in my life back in the UK. We arrived at about 9:45AM. We were warned to arrive early to get places. And we got back home for 2ish. A total of about 14 hours.

Noche de San Juan takes place on the 23rd June. From what I gather John the Baptist is supposed of been born on the 24th June, so the the night before his birthday all water is supposed to hold magical healing powers.
Tradition is that at the stroke of midnight everyone heads in to the sea/lake/river (only ankle deep, although some crazy fools went for a swim).
You're also suppose to wash your hands and face three times in sea and that means you will be blessed with good luck for the year. I forgot to do this.

Newer traditions are the local council allow camping on the beach for this one night only. People can light bonfires, BBQs, there is live music, parties, free food and plenty of drink.

This is what we got up to.

The missus has never put up a tent before. So I let her do most of the work.

Finished tent being modelled.

I'm told that the beach was quieter this year and that the nearby other major beach was a bit busy.

Some bigger boys were being pains so we moved to a quiet area. Where 10 minutes later a large party set up behind us. The missus wasn't amused.

But everything was pretty quite for most of the day, the main party really kicked off at midnight.
At which point everyone ran in to the sea.
The missus and a friend following tradition.

There was a firework show.

The lit a big bonfire. For some reason, that I don't know yet, they had a Titanic effigy.

And all the kids had parties.

It was a bit too much for us and after being in the sea and standing on our towels-cum-beds we got our beds wet. Plus as we had a beach tent and not a proper tent it was a bit chilly, so we decided to pack up and headed home for a far warmer and more comfortable sleep.

Here is the slideshow

There are a few quiet festivals over the next few months but the next major one is the feria. Which is a week long. And the last one I went to ended in a Bull Run.

Wednesday, 25 June 2008

A well held secret

So last Thursday I had a big surprise.

After the missus made me help tidy up the house, she took me out for something to eat. We headed down the beach to meet our friend, nothing seemed that out of place.
That was until I walked in to the bar and spotted my dad.

I had to do a double take. At first I didn't recognise him. Then I did and I wondered if I where in some wierd dream? Or had I walked back to England? What the hell was going on?
It turns out my dad saying for a while that he had to get his passport sorted first and would hope to visit as soon as he could was all a lie. He and the missus had been planning this since I last visited Runcorn before leaving for Spain over 2 months ago.

Dad at the bar. He made sure he was dressed warm enough for Spains mild 30 degree weather.

Alot of fun was made by the fact I had converted to half pints (canas) since moving over. My dad and his friend would soon start drinking them themselves.

While my dad was here it was his birthday. Unfortunatly Spain wasn't agreeing with his belly so he was off tapas, food and beers for most of the day.
(A very rare photo of my dad drinking something other then beer in a pub)

We had a great night on his birthday. There was tapas, food, much of which my dad missed out on. There was chatting

Lots of drinking and even some dancing.

Everyone enjoying dad's last night of his visit.

And then it was all over far too quickly.

It was great seeing my dad and Mike. And I had a fantastic time showing them around Nerja.
Although I'm not pleased to learn that the missus secret keeping skills have increased an awful lot from the last time she had to keep secret.
And from what I gathered from my dad, he was very impressed with my new life. And the bars. And he seemed to be able to jump to half pints rather too easily.

And I look forward to his next visit.

Here is the rest of the weekend.


Although I recommend you check out the missus photos, as they are much better.

(Also dad if you're reading this, you'll have to get me the videos and photos Mike took emailed to me when you can.)

Next on my family visits is my niece Megan, who I can't wait to see.

Things not to do on the beach

OK, it turns out that I have about 150 odd photos of the last few days to tag. This could take some time.
So while you wait more for what I did at the weekend, here is an example of what not to do on the beach.

1. Do not read a book all day

So close to the all over tan...

Tuesday, 24 June 2008

While you wait

So I have some photos to upload before I can tell you about my great weekend.

So while you wait I'll show you how my new hair is looking. It's been nicknamed "The Cockatil" by the missus.

Sunday, 22 June 2008

meeBOX and the weekend

I had a great weekend this weekend. On Thursday I was lead down to the beach and to my complete and total surprise my dad was in the bar.
It turns out him and the missus have been planning this secret trip for a few months,...but more on that soon.

In other news, if you are in the UK this evening and have access to BBC3 (or just go to the BBC iPlayer website) you HAVE to watch Adam Buxtons meeBOX tonight, at 1145pm. You get to see videos like this.

Here is my other favourite clip from Adam Buxton.

Wednesday, 18 June 2008

Feria de San Anotnio

I know back in England I often wished for a country where the Nanny State didn't rule. Health and safety didn't ruin everything and that people could just get along with their life threatening days out.
Thankfully I have found that in Spain.

So yeah, the weekend. The Bull Run. I had a really good time. It was fantastic.

The whole Feria took up 3 days. There was a travelling fair, shows, all kinds. I kind of missed all of that and went just to the Bull Run. Which was a shame as it looked like a lot of fun.

On the way up to the festival I spotted that there were not that many people heading that way in cars. I was expecting there to be far more many people heading up. But there just wasn't that many.

Also, some advice. If your planning on going to a Bull Run, make sure it's a Bull Run in your own town. Or that someone can give you a lift up. Don't, whatever you do, leave a little too late and rush 3 miles up a mountain to a tiny town. That'll just tire you out.
Lucky for my when I was near the top a friend drove past going the other way, turned around and give me a lift up, saving me time and giving me chance to catch my breath back.

So when I arrived I found out why there hadn't been that many people passing by. It turns out the about 70% of the people watching the Bull Run where still out partying from the night before. I don't know how these Spanish kids can stay out all night.
Anyway so when I arrived I hadn't a clue where to go for the run. I could just see crowds of people around fences. I figured the run was heading this way, but I didn't know how to get to the start. So instead I thought the best option was to scout out this run, in preparation for next years.
Yeah that was the line I was going with as to not run with the bulls.

So instead I got aload of photos for you all.
Bull Run
1. IMG_1890, 2. IMG_1893, 3. IMG_1951, 4. IMG_1965, 5. 15062008299, 6. IMG_1915, 7. IMG_1923, 8. IMG_1969, 9. IMG_1933

It took quite some time to get the bulls in. There was even a point when nothing happened for about an hour. The guy even had to go get his rope as everyone was getting bored.
When all the bulls where in the truck everyone headed off in a big crowd. Now I didn't want to walk all the way back home. I mean I had only just got here. So I decided to go see where the crowd where heading. It turned out that they were having a bull fight. Which was even better.
And I'm still unsure about the whole Bull Fighting and where I stand on it all. I only found out recently that the bull gets killed during the fight.
But in these fights the bull's were more just annoyed. Like when people play fight with dogs.
So I had to get more photos.
Bull Fight
1. 15062008308, 2. 15062008346, 3. 15062008311, 4. 15062008345, 5. 15062008343, 6. 15062008335, 7. 15062008322, 8. 15062008344, 9. 15062008318

Created with fd's Flickr Toys.

Here is the whole side show.

Direct link

Monday, 16 June 2008

Ah so it feels like this

I'm starting to settle in more with Spain.

I had my first "Spanish" haircut. The whole coversation the hairdresser went like this
ME: Habla ingles?
HD: Poco
ME: Hmmmm, vale. Queiro, .... erm haircut? (I wasn't sure if she knew what I was saying? But I was in a hairdressers, I was going to bet on she knew.)
HD: Now?
ME: Si.
I sit down and try to think what was the best way to say "I want a kind of mullet at the back, much shorter then now though. A mohican kind of thing on top. And all very choppy. What I said was.
Me: Um.....Er,....Tiene libro? (close my hands and fold them out) Um...magazines?
HD: SI! (It's good to see that it wasn't just me who was happy that they had magazines.
A few pages later and couple of dozen minutes later and I have a much shorter haircut that doesnt trap heat as much. Although the missus did comment "she didnt do much" It appears that I was able to find the one haircut, one described above, that I ALWAYS have.
Although she did style it different. She kind of had my hair all shaggy and sticking up and to the side. It looked good. Except she stuck about a tub of gel on and my hair all stuck together and looked like I had LEGO hair.

Also, after a previous evening out with some friends I now know some tapas places. Tapas bars in Spain are far better then English places. You get half a pint of beer, free tapas and for just €1,50. Some, I'm told, are cheaper still. You can have a few drinks, have a few dishes and still have change from €5.
And there is loads to chose from, gambas (prawns my favourite), gulash (I think it was called, but reminds me of a stew I used to have back home), pasta, chicken curry, fried potato in tomato sauce. And it's all lovely.
Whats better is there is a great tapas bar around the corner from the missus work that has a great atmosphere and music. It's just nice to be in either with friends or if your on your own.

And one more thing. After I alost bumped in to someone today I automatically said "lo siento" which basically means "I'm sorry." I've bumped in to a few people while in the Supermarket. I'm a very bumpy person, but I've always said sorry. So to say lo siento without thinking about it was huge for me.

There is so much other great news though, like how I've started work now and how I enjoy each morning by going down the beach to do some snorkling, but I have to get ready as I'm meeting the missus for more tapas now.

Sunday, 15 June 2008

Auto Post Lizard Spot: Missus Credit

If your reading this then that means I'm not back from the Bull Run for whatever reason....*

So it turns out after a few weeks of being disappointed the missus isn't totally rubbish at spotting lizards, she is quite good at it.
She even has an advance skill at spotting them in the dark, something I haven't done yet.

So this Lizard Spot is creditted to the missus, well done

Lizard Spot Count: 14

In other news I got me a snorkel
And I've already spotted loads of fish. Even one big fish. Like the size of fully grown Koi Carps, except not as orange.
And I've been told my waterproof camera has been fixed and should be making it's way to me at the end of the month.
So next we will have Fish Spot along with Lizard Spot.

* This isn't really a magical post. I am in fact back from the Bull Run. All went well, I'll tell you more about it soon. I'm just sorting out some photos.

Thursday, 12 June 2008

Training for el encierro

With the Bull Run just a few days away I have been doing some training.

This video is a bit lengthy, at just over 8 minutes. It took me a day to recrod and an hour to edit, have a look at my training technique.

My training for the upcoming Bull Run

Bull Run Swimming montage
Bull Run Swim Training
1. 11062008209, 2. 11062008207, 3. 11062008206, 4. 11062008211

Created with fd's Flickr Toys.

Wednesday, 11 June 2008


What is it all about?

When a plan comes together

I have recently been playing a lot of Wii Fit. And now that we (think we) have access to the pool I've been doing a few laps swimming each day.

I thought that my recent spurts of exercise were to keep me fit and healthy.

It turns out it's not. It is in fact to prepare me for the Bull Run I am taking part in this Sunday that I only found out about last night.

So who can run faster? Me or a bull? Found out Monday.

Tuesday, 10 June 2008

Keeping up with the Jones'

It's not just the missus that's fell for the mosaic feature at Big Huge Labs.
It does have a simplicty about it that could be abused.

But before I start to use the feature I might as well start with how it all began, I believe the questions are:]

1. What is your first name?
2. What is your favorite food?
3. What high school did you go to?
4. What is your favorite color?
5. Who is your celebrity crush?
6. Favorite drink?
7. Dream vacation?
8. Favorite dessert?
9. What you want to be when you grow up?
10. What do you love most in life?
11. One Word to describe you
12. And, here’s me!

So here you go
Keeping up with the Jones
1. Robert Belly, 2. extra cheesy salami and mushroom pizza:), 3. Hidden Place ..., 4. ♫ YO Yo yo, there's no place like a green penthouse... so i told the genie i wanted to be well hung. ^o^ ♫ nah... wildlife from singapore♫, 5. Karen O, 6. UrbanArchaeology II, 7. Akihabara (Electric Town), 8. Toffeeee Cheesecake, 9. The view out the porthole, 10. IMG_8118, 11. He's up to something look, 12. 01062008157

On a side note, I've now updated my blog to include who is on my 'blogroll.' It lists the 10 most recent bloggers. If you don't think you've seen yourself and should be included I apologise, just leave a comment and I'll resolve it.

Monday, 9 June 2008

Breaking the law

A few people have told me horror stories about the policia in Spain. How not to cross them as they don't seem to have the same touchy feely approach as the police back home.

But I have found that some don't care about law as much as others...
The only thing missing from this photo is a basket of flowers and football by his side.
Photo 2 including partner in crime.

Wednesday, 4 June 2008

It should all work out

So if you have been watching my Tweets you may already know a little about this next entry.

On Monday I quit my job.

It just wasn't working out. The original job I was doing there I did enjoy. It was working in sales face to face. We were told that we had to do a two and a half to three hour presentation with people about the product. A holiday club.
When I did my training I almost bought one of the memberships myself. It was a great deal. It looked fantastic.
So I felt good with what I was doing.

Unfortunately there wasn't enough people visiting the sales deck so I was recently moved to telesales.
I was told this was pretty much the same thing, just with a differnet club.

But the whole set up was totally different. Plus you only had a few minutes once someone picked up the phone to get it sold.
Obvioulsy there were some advantages to this picth, like it cost a tiny fraction of the other sell. But this one just felt wrong.
I just always thought if someone phoned me up with the same pitch I wouldn't go along with it.

So I just couldn't do a good job. Which meant that the manager was always having a word with me about how to improve. Which just made me feel rubbish.

Anyway on Monday I walked in and told them I was leaving.
Don't get me wrong there was one product that I didn't like but the office were very helpful and good with me. They gave me a job as soon as I moved to Spain. Plus the people that work there are really good people and I hope that I spot them outside of work.

But I do have another job lined up thankfully. The missus brother-in-law told me about a job listening to telephone calls and ranking them. It can all be done over the internet so I can do it from home.
At first I was unsure that I would get the job. I sent off my application form and hadn't heard anything for a few days.
Plus I thought that the brother in law was only putting my name forward as a possible applicant.
Then the missus tells me not to worry. The in-law is in fact a huge deal at the company and owns quite a few shares. I thought he was just one of their best sales trainers.
Then I get an email which I have been copied in to, which is of my CV sent from the in-law to the HR team. I'm told that the in-law has put himself on my references. I have a look and under job title it says 'Director.'
Then I stop worrying and think, "if a director is going to try and get me a job then it might go through."

So now I am just waiting for some log on details and I'll soon be able to work form home.
I really do hope I don't pick up any bad habbits, like reading blogs all day.
Plus I've promised the missus I'll stay away from the pool of a morning.
I'll still be looking around for any bar work/waitering just for some extra cash/hours. The season here has just started and I have seen a few adverts in restaurant windows. Only problem is they are in Spanish or you have to be able to speak Spanish. So that's how I've been spendning a few of my hours. Getting back to learning my Spanish.

Just one more thing about the office. I was watching an episode of the American version of the sitcom 'The Office,' when Dwight (the US version of Gareth) was giving help to another character on how to do god in sales.
The advice he gave, "K.I.S.S - Keep It Simple Stupid," was the same advice I was given to me when I first start selling face to face.
I'm not sure whether that means that this office have been getting selling tips from The Office.
Or whether both offices are using the same sources for all of their material?

Tuesday, 3 June 2008

Lizard Spot: Walk in the Hills Edition

Here is a special edition of Lizard Spot.

During my walks I must of spotted about TEN lizards. There were loads of 'em! And I'm sure I heard a few more walking about in bushes.

Luckily I did get to photograph some of them. But a few didn't turn out as I had hoped.
Firstly the one from my previous post.
This is quite hard to spot, but this was the first lizard I spotted of the day. I had just turned back from walking up the wrong hill and seen this guy run under a tree. I was stuck on top of a rock and any movement I made was going to scare him. I was pretty desperate to get a photo of a lizard so I just took my chance.
If you look carefully you can see his wiggly body in the centre of the photo. If you still can't see him, here is a soft focus of the shot so you get a better idea.

I also spotted this next lizard. The battery on my camera was dying so I was using my phone now. The zoom isn't great and the lizard wasn't staying still very much. This was the only shot I could get of him.
This one is much harder to spot. I forgot he was here when I first checked this photo when at home.
But if you check out this edited photo it will highlight where he is stood. You'll need to pan across to just below and right of the centre to spot the focused part of the photo.

The lizards do get much easier to spot from now on. I promise.

This was the second lizard I spotted on the day. It took a few minutes to get a good position and luckily when he moved he didn't go far at all. So I was able to get some very good photos of this guy.
There is also Photo 2 and Photo 3 of the same lizard.

The last lizard I spotted on my walk was probably the cheekiest. I thought I heard some movement from the bushes, so like always I stood still and checked to my left. I looked all around the shrubs and dirt just behind some massive rock and couldn't spot the lizard. I was almost ready to move away when I spotted this guy sat right on top of the rock with his head held high.
It was almost like he wanted his photo taken. I tried to get a second closer up but he ran.
I wish all lizards where a bit more like him and photo genic.

But at the end of the day I didn't care. On one days hike in the hills my Lizard Spot count had increased 50%.


I can relax now.

Lizard Spot:13

Monday, 2 June 2008

Walk in the Hills

It's been annoying not being able to take a proper walk in the hills right behind our house ever since the fall.

Hiking has been a favourite hobby ever since my dad got me practising for our walk across England. So when I injured my feet and could hardly walk it was annoying that I couldn't get up the mountains.

Fortunately my feet have been feeling pretty normal the last few weekends and last weekend I took the chance to go for a Walk in the Hills around what I belive is called Cerro Tragalamocha.

You can follow my walk by heading over here
Link to Sportstracker route or using this on Google Earth yourself

I only had a slight idea of where I was going. The smaller set of hills that the new part of Nerja is being built on. I thought I'd take things easy. I mean I didn't want to get lost or injured on my first walk now.
I managed, without realising, to take my walk on the weekly boot sale day. It's a pretty crazy bootsale they have here. Things range from VHS tapes to SEGA Master Systems. I haven't seen one of them since I was a kid.
I'll be heading back there with some cash another day.

After setting off it didn't take long for me to get lost. But I did have on my a GPS enabled phone and a decent explorer map of the area.
My first hurdle come when I realised that my phone only has the regular international coordinates and Spain has it's own local grid reference. This meant that although I could tell you exactly where I was on Earth, I couldn't find that anywhere on the map.
So straight away the map became pretty useless.
My next job is to see if there is a way of converting GPS coordinates in to Spanish Local map grid references?

So I ended up getting lost.
And heading up the wrong hill.
I wanted to be here.

But it worked out in my favour as I spotted plenty of wildlife
This I think is an Egyptian Grasshopper.

Although there wasn't much in scenary.

But I did get some good views of home.
It looks quite big from up here.

So I headed back. But spotted another route around the side of the Hill I wanted to be up.
So I decided to take this route and see where it went?

The dirt track wasn't terribly wide for most of the walk. And there wasn't much too see.

But when I got to the top I got to see where I will be heading next time!
But first I better get the GPS and map problem sorted out.

But I did have a very enjoyable Walk in the Hills. I got 4 hours walk out of it and climb to 470 metres.

But more importantly I spotted some lizards. And I'll have more on them soon.
I promise. There is a lizard there. ;)

But until then, check out some of my other photos.