08.12.2012 - 09.12.2012
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In the morning Muriel and I let the kids sleep and have a lazy start to the day. In the end they were quite industrious choosing to do a bit of school work while we went into Lagos to check out the Saturday market. The day was bright and sunny with the temperature easily reaching 20 degrees. The market is quite a busy place with an equal mix of Brits and Portuguese shoppers and sellers. There were all kinds of veggies, fruits, nuts and baked goods for sale along with the occasional live rabbit and rooster. At one stall we just wanted to buy a single onion so the farmer insistently waved off any payment for such piddlly amount. We were surprised by such an easy mix of cultures, you feel that at this time of year it is more a meeting of locals then a tourist event.
After spending a few euros for lemons, tomatoes, peppers, carrots, Portuguese donuts and a few other items Muriel and I strolled the promenade along the channel that connects the Lagos Marina with the ocean. At the mouth of the channel is the old fortress (or alcazaar) and a nice patch of beach with some unique rock formations. We were yearning to put on our shorts and flip flops which was at odds with what we saw: many Brits walking around in sweater vests and woolen dress pants and locals bundled up in expectation of sub-zero temperatures. We saw a young boy on his scooter wearing a toque, a hoodie and a winter coat over that and his dad wearing a thick wool sweater and warm jacket. It must get pretty hot here in the summer for people to think that 20 degrees was cold.
After our walk Muriel and I went to the Intermarche to get groceries to see us through until Monday. Muriel was feeling very adventurous and wanted to fulfill Hannah's desire to make an authentic paella. Muriel bought fresh mussels, clams, prawns and squid which amounted to only about 7 euros. We gathered all the other ingredients for our feast and headed for home.
After lunch we headed back to the beach in Luz with the kids. I put on shorts and we all were shod with flip flops so we could be ready to walk in the surf. We had a wonderful few hours strolling the beach and leaving evidence of Canada written in the sand. There were only a handful of people on the beach and a few of them were fishing in the surf and a very few were wearing shorts and short sleeves.
Muriel and Hannah started working on our paella feast when we returned home. When Hannah was getting things out of the fridge she got quite an electrical shock. She thought it was a bad case of static electricity (very odd in the current damp coastal climate). A little while later Muriel also got a shock from the fridge and then a big shock from the microwave sitting on top of the fridge. The timer on the microwave was broken so we had just been vigilant about turning it off when we were done. I moved the fridge from the wall and disconnected the microwave which seemed to address the problem. Just another of a growing list of broken or dysfunctional equipment (many light switches only work sporadically and a few light fixtures cast light only at a fraction of their potential). Undeterred the two chefs moved on with cooking. It was quite the production with Hannah peeling prawns and Muriel steaming mussels etc. In the midst of the labors the cold water line under the sink sprung a large leak and a flood of water suddenly cascaded out of the kitchen cabinet. I was able to turn off the cold water valve avoiding a flood and we mopped up and moved on with the cooking. Looking under the sink I saw the sink overflow was only connected to a plastic bag so a good thing we never overfilled the sink.
With only hot water available in the kitchen and the possibility of either death by electrocution, gas oven explosion or smoke inhalation from the soaking firewood in the stove, we decided that maybe we had put up with enough rustic charm. I tried to track down our landlord but she was out and her somewhat deaf partner/live-in/renter (found out she has recently divorced) could only say that has never happened before. A couple of hours later Ruth did pop in looking quite apologetic and forlorne. We told her of the latest happenings and she was quick in offering another microwave but said not much could happen with the plumbing until Monday. We gently told her that we would need to be moving on the next day to which she said that not everyone was cut out for the rustic setting especially in the winter but she could understand. We said we would let her know in the morning if we were able to secure other accommodation.
All the calamity did not overshadow the incredible feast that Hannah and Muriel prepared. We were totally amazed by the adventurous tastes of Abby and Hannah who partook in all the shellfish and showed no fear of ripping off the heads of their prawns and pulling off the feet. Hannah showed a particular liking for squid tentacles. I guess the fussy eater phase is passing.
I played a game of Wizards with the kids while Muriel rested. She seems to be coming down with something-I guess it was only a matter of time. Muriel turned in early and when the kids went to bed I stayed up and searched for a new place to stay. I was quite delighted with some last minute deals that I found at some local self-catering resorts. The prices rivalled the camping bungalows we were first considering. I decided to sleep on it and show Muriel in the morning. It was not the best night sleep for me, perhaps I was dreaming about what other calamity could occur before daybreak.
In the morning I showed Muriel the places on-line and we choose one just 1.5 km from our rustic farm accommodation. When I booked the price had fallen to about 124 dollars Canadian for two nights which was less than what we were paying for the rustic abode. We got not quite a full refund for our remaining two nights as Ruth said she did not have any more cash on hand. Fortunately (unbeknownst to her) it was equal to the cost of our new place so we didn’t argue.
We headed off to church before settling into our new home. We dressed warmly because we suspected the church would be cold inside. We sweated outside for a bit but were proven right by the chilly temperature but warm reception by the congregation inside. They were selling preserves before and after the service as a fundraiser so we now have some nice strawberry jam and a delicious multifruit chutney. It seems that this church has a preference for Canadians since their last vicar was from Canada and the new one they are expecting in a few weeks is also from Canada. We enjoyed the service which was very similar to a Catholic mass. The fact that the Anglicans share the church with a Catholic congregation and have some joint services accounts for the closer association with Catholicism than we have witnessed in other Anglican churches we have attended.
We headed off after the service to check in at the resort. When we got into our apartment we nearly fell over. Our place is around a whopping 1200 square feet and very high end with all the bells and whistles you can think of for less than 63 dollars Canadian a night (kids have separate beds, we have a huge room with full ensuite, there is a gourmet kitchen and posh dining room). The only thing we lack is in-room WiFi, but we are willing to rough it. The resort must have somewhere between 100 and 200 units but we think less than ten may actually be occupied.
It looks like we got here just in time as Muriel seems to be succumbing to some sort of bug and has slept the afternoon away. Abby stayed with Muriel to be a nurse and do some homework while Hannah and I set off to explore and climb the bluffs overlooking Luz. It was a very rewarding climb. The fresh air and vista was breathtaking and the together time was special. It is slightly overcast this afternoon so the temperature is closer to 15 degrees down from 18 degrees in the shade this morning.
We will have a late supper and a quiet evening. We might take in some British television that is available here. I will pop out to the reception area to post this write up and start searching for places to stay when we journey to southern Spain in the next few days (or not depending on health, moods and weather).