Home Sweet Home

The best thing in a vacation is when you get back home, zzzzzzzzzzzzzz

A friendship day

Tuesday Aug. 16th, 2005
On this day we were supposed to go shopping, Buddha del Sol and then meet our friends for the last supper. But as usual our day started lazily and by the time we left the apartment it was late already, and since we did not know how to get to Buddha del Sol and as our friends have mentioned that it would take time to find it since it’s on the southern outskirts of Valencia, amid the fields of El Saler area, we decided to head towards Buddha del Sol directly and postpone shopping for another time.

Surprisingly we did not get lost except for a short distance in the fields and that was when we got very close to the location. The place opens for the sunset at eight PM and we were about ten minutes early, no one was in the vicinity except for two dogs which guarded the place; one huge black dog and another smaller champagne color. The minute we parked the car the black one stood on alert and the other started barking, I found myself uttering; I’m not getting out of the car, and Elegance echoed; neither am I, and out we drove towards the huge lake of Albufera taking pictures of the rice paddies and the boats, then back to Buddha del Sol where the dogs were gone.

The place was a joke; it was supposed to be a combination of Buddha Bar of Paris and Café del Mar of Ibiza, but it was none of the above. It looked like an old children’s park that was renovated to give the tranquil atmosphere for watching the sunset in the fields, then at night it would transform into a restaurant and a night club. The decoration was lousy; a mixture of oriental ala Middle Eastern with a children’s pool that did not belong and deprived the place from its specific character, and all you see of Buddha was his head. A water slide that did not go with the place at all was still there, all beds and hanging sheets (the one thousand night and one style) were old and dirty although the place was brand new, and although this place advertised for its cocktail varieties, it did not have any except for the light San Francisco that we ended up drinking, and the chill out music that was supposed to go on mellower as the sun goes down was hip hop and started mellowing after dark. And atop all that; the day was cloudy and the sun was shyly peeking through the clouds as if it was giving us an unwelcome gesture, but the lazy atmosphere in the fields was quite nice, and we had come all the way to this place, so we had better enjoy it. And we did; the minute we finished our first drink, we did not even wait for the waiter to bring our bill, we went to the cashier, paid him with the tip and hurriedly fled out to join our friends for dinner. Our friends told us that the restaurant in Buddha del Sol was supposed to be good and the night club is awesome, but who would in his right mind drive all the way into a no man land for that?… forget it

Now the dinner was another story; we were introduced to other people on a large table and the new guys we met were hilarious, we did not stop laughing all night; some would speak Spanish, some English and others Arabic and we all understood each other, we took some caricature style pictures making faces to the camera, they all kept making fun of me and my camera saying that I must be half Japanese. And when the dinner ended some of us cramped up in two cars to go to other places for a drink and some left for home after bedding us the last farewell.

The car ahead of us was driven by Ramon, yes Ramon I told you I’ll mention your name on my blog and wait till you see your picture posted 😉

Ramon is out of this world crazy character with his long hair gelled to the back, who looked like a typical Spanish Flamenco dancer, he was our guide who gave us a spin with his driving, he’d circle each roundabout two, three times causing others to cuss and shout at him, and since it was a Tuesday night, no place was open, so we ended up in Manel’s restaurant who was also with us in Ramon’s car and his restaurant was closed that day but he opened it up especially for us, we spent the rest of the night joking, belly dancing and taking shots of rum liquors of different brands and ages, and ahhhhhh… you should’ve seen Ramon belly dancing… LOL, too bad my battery died and I could not take more pictures, but Elegance took some shots with her mobile camera. The night ended with the dessert we brought from the winery we visited in Benicassim few days back; an awful tasting cherry marinated in alcohol, yuk.

At five AM, when we started driving back to where our cars were parked, Ramon; our guide started his game again, taking us in circles, back to where we started, and out of the car he jumped, welcoming us to Manel’s restaurant again, and that was when we realized what he was doing, this time we did not shout at him, we only cracked up laughing.

This is really what I like about Spain; it’s people. They’re all easy going, fun type, and life loving people, and moreover; they’re CRAZZZZZZY. Two of the ones who were with us had jobs to attend at seven o’clock in the morning, but they did not care although they all held important and sensitive positions, they’d still make it on time the next morning, believe you me, and I don’t know how they do it, and this night was not an exception for some of them, I mean they did not do that only for us; some Spaniards take that as a ritual, having fun all night, then a couple of hours sleep, work, siesta, work and back to night life. Ohhhh.. That must be trying.

Hey guys, life is too short, so you might enjoy it while you can, I know I’m going to miss my Valencian friends, and yes Ramon I will miss you too :p

If one day I decided to leave my country for good, I know I will end up in Spain coz I’m sure that I’d never get bored with such a marvelous company, and as I have always believed; my place is where my friends are, too bad I’m too attached to my friends and family back home, I miss them terribly

Adios Moncofa
Wednesday Aug. 17th, 2005
What a day, we had lots to do, yet wanted to spend a lovely day in this beautiful village, instead we ended up shopping most of the day in Valencia, neither me nor Elegance like shopping and that’s why we procrastinated all this time. Today we were in a race to finish our shopping as quickly as possible so we could come back to the village and enjoy strolling along its beautiful beaches, and may be get lucky enough to sit by one of its beach bars and have a drink before packing and cleaning the apartment.

The shopping which we had planned to be of two hours duration at its max, took us four hours and a half, the Valencians love to take their time when they do a job, the job that takes half an hour to finish would take double that time with the Valencians. So it was a real miracle that we finished our shopping list in such comparatively short duration, we were practically running up and down the streets, but that, off course, deprived us of the time we needed to spend in the village.

So we only had a short time to say goodbye to Moncofa; we walked a short distance along the strip then sat on the cool sands of the beach and watched the almost full moon that would shy out at times veiling its heavenly face behind the clouds.

Tomorrow we are heading back to Madrid…….

As the Time Goes by

Saturday, Aug.14th, 2005
A lazy day that ended unexpectedly
Not an active day, it started very casually, all we had in mind is to load the refrigerator before the coming long weekend; Sunday when all supermarkets are closed and same is true for Monday which is a Spanish holiday called “La Paloma”.
And as we were discussing what to do for our night program with our Valencian friends, nothing seemed interesting enough, but as we were talking about it we remembered a guy whom we met at the ferry going to Ibiza and he told us about the beach nightclubs located between Castellon and Benicassim, so we thought we’d try them out for a change.

The trip took us about twenty minutes and after getting lost on the way, we ended up in a beach bar near the tower of Saint Vicent, had a drink, then continued looking for the night clubs until we found them, and they were as awesome as the guy described them, we decided to stay one hour, at the most, in the clubs then go back home, but to our surprise we stayed there until six AM, if we had stayed longer till the sunrise we would have witnessed the morning party when people take off their clothes and dip in the waters, but we were too exhausted to do that, besides, we had driving back which we were worried about.

Sunday, Aug. 15th, 2005
Peniscola; a Spanish paradise indeed
We were supposed to wake up early and check Peniscola, a place which I have heard about a lot in the past and never got to visit. The thing is that everyone who advised us to visit had never mentioned what’s so special about this place; They’d all say go and see it for yourselves. So for us it was a discovery day, and we were planning to go and spend part of the day and leave the rest unplanned and come what may.
From the minute I entered the town, having a critic’s eye off course, I fell in love with it. Nature is all around, you see mountains, beaches and greeneries wherever you go in Europe, but the thing about Spain is that no place is like the other, the towns and villages could be fifteen minutes far from each other and may have the same nature yet they have a completely different atmosphere and landscape which marks as a landmark of that specific place, and that is truly amazing.

But, we did not get to go there as early as we had planned since we spent the night before out and hardly had anytime to sleep, Elegance was completely drained, but I was more energetic, I woke up, made a beans and oil dish (fasoliya bilzait; the Lebanese style) just in case we needed that, prepared all my things and was ready to go. When Elegance started to feel fresh again; I started feeling drained out of energy and slammed on the sofa, hesitating to go or not. So it was not until three pm when we lazily hit the road to Peniscola (which I like to call Pepsi Cola, btw), but I’m really glad we did.

The place was a pure paradise on earth; I have been to many places in Spain and Europe as a matter of fact, but like this place!!!! I have never seen.
It’s a mountain peninsula with steep cliffs on one part that feels like the mountain is cut into the sea, and flat with powdery sand beaches on another part, it is renowned for its castle which was built by the Arabs, and visiting the castle is another experience. All around the curvy rounds that leads to the top of the castle is restaurants; café’s and gift shops with their special artisan pottery that speaks of a real talent. And as you go up these roads you can see different parts of the city that feels like earth surrounding water in the most beautiful landscape articulated by nature and man. Well, I can’t say more about it, you have to see it for yourselves.

We spent the rest of the day there and we did not get back home until midnight.

Monday Aug. 15th, 2005
The sports day
After spending a magical day in Peniscola, we had a very good night sleep and woke up fresh and dandy, and got ready for drafting which we had planned with our Valencian friends. It took us about an hour and a half from Valencia to reach Venta del Moro where we purchased the tickets and another 40 minutes drive to River Tamayo where the rafting was supposed to take place, and since we had three hours till our activity starts, we pick-nicked in a shady area (kashta), sunbathed and dipped into the freezing cold river.

There were two tunnels through which water drifts from one side of the river to another, so we challenged each other to go by the small tunnel with less drifting water and swim against the current to the side, so some of us held hands and helped each other to where the drifting was at it’s max and then each was on his own, some others would wait at the tongue of the river to pull out the ones who could not make it. The game was really exhilarating, and we all took turns.

Then we got confident enough to try and do the same only this time we would go on the other side of the tunnel and drift through the small tunnel, then out and swim against the current where some of us stood to shoot pictures and pull us out.
Well for me it was a bad experience, because the minute I dipped into water, my foot got stuck between the rocks and as I tried to free it I lost balance, one of the guys asked me to swim to the side before the current takes me, and when I did, I found myself drifting towards a broken tree with sharp edges coming out of the water between the two tunnels, the current was so strong that I could not avoid the crash, but fortunately the guy swam close to me where there was less current and pulled me away just before the collision. And with the pull we both ended up drifting in the big tunnel which we were not supposed to go near since the current was enormous there and no one was waiting at the top to pull us out, every one with their cameras were at the end of the small tunnel. I swear to God I almost drowned in there, but luckily I swam against the current and made it through and Elegance managed to take tiny photos of only my hat above the water.

The rafting though was another experience; some of us including me have never tried it before so we took the beginner’s trip. Our group consisted of three boats journeying through the drifts together, and each boat had it’s guide. The Spanish people are really crazy, it was not only rafting that we did; the guides would pretentiously collide us with rocks asking us to raw quickly with the current where we ended up hitting what ever object was on our way, at the beginning we did not know what we were doing, but after few collisions and us flying into air and into the waters, we realized that the guy was doing this on purpose. We started hitting him with our oars, throwing him into the water; the collision was not only with rocks, we did that with other boats as well.
In one incident the guide of another boat pulled Elegance to his boat then threw her into the water she held on to the side of the boat and drifted with it far from our boat. Our guide started cussing him and telling us that he is the rescuer who is going to save our queen. He swam to the other boat that was close to the boat that Elegance was holding to and held her life jacket trying to pull her up, the other guide would not hear of it, so he pulled her legs towards him, the scene was so funny, Elegance looked like a sardine in and out of the water between the two boats and her face exploded with anger, I wished I had a camera with me, but with this tripping of the boats in most of our journey, I don’t think my camera would have survived.

As we were putting our gears on, a guy took off his clothes completely and was naked to the public, and would you think that would escape my camera? 😉

It’s Best to be Left Unplanned

An Energizing Day
Wednesday Aug. 10th
We had a wake up call from our Valencian friends who said that they were on their way to our village; we had a plan to spend the day in Montanejos; a place amid the mountains known for its vast natural swimming pools. The history of these pools goes back to an Arabian prince named Abu Ceit who excavated the mountains to build a swimming pool for his mistresses. The water coming from these mountains pass through rocks rich with minerals that makes it an ideal treatment for different malfunctions such as improving the digestive system, the kidneys and nourishing as well as treating skin problems. These swimming pools, which are also known as El7amamat El3arabiyah, flow into Mamoun River (also called River Mijares). It is also believed that when the Crusades fought the Arabs in this region, the prince preferred converting to Christianity than leaving his properties, and his mistresses I assume :p

So we all packed ourselves for a pick-nick atop the mountains, loaded both cars with water melons and honey due melons which this village is famous for, and added to that other fruits, nuts, and sandwiches just in case there is no nearby restaurants. The trip was about 40 minutes drive from our village in a very curvy road but nevertheless it was worth the hassle for the place was a true heaven.

We learned from the local tourist office that the main swimming pool has a resort where people around the world visit for medical reasons, and there are special body treatments using the natural ingredients of the pools if one wants to pamper himself, but it’s only done by appointment, so that appointment was on our list for another date. The main resort which we could not use was the swimming pool in which the prince’s mistresses bathed. ya bakhathom. But we did get to use the thermal waters of the other pools and my friend Elegance swam from the pool into caves where the water temperature stays at 25 degrees centigrade through all seasons, but unfortunately, I could not go that far because of my tattoo, for I still have one week before I could completely dip in water.

As we were heading towards the thermal waters, we noticed an opening in the heart of the mountain where water was bursting out with high pressure as if it was controlled by a pressure pump, the sight was astonishingly amazing.

When we got back to our village we strolled down the beach for a while, and I spotted a couple of love birds against the sinking sun, in a karma Sutra position, and do you think that this scene would escape my camera? Nooooooooooo

So I immediately grabbed my camera only to find my friend fleeing away and saying: “I don’t know you”, but with my persuasive tactics I talked her into pretending to pose for my camera while I did the shooting and she did, this picture turned out absolutely beautiful, and I made sure that the faces would not show for obvious reasons :p

The weather got cooler as the sun disappeared and humidity was so high that our bodies felt sticky with dirt accumulated from the day’s activities, so I told my friend Elegance as I was rubbing the black dirt shreds off my shoulders:” a hot bath sounds like heaven before retiring to bed” but to our surprise when we got home we had no water!!!

Elegance got furious and she ran downstairs to check and came back to me with a grave face announcing the bad news that the water company came earlier today and switched of the water valves from whoever did not pay. And since Elegance had authorized the real state agency to take care of all the formalities, she was burning with anger when she learned from the neighbors that the lady who was taking care of her property did not do her job properly and moreover she was on vacation and no where to be reached.

That called for another cold shower in the open 😦
So we wore our bathing suits again and went down stairs with our shampoos, creams and gels, as well as towels and two buckets to fill it with water from the douches of the swimming pool downstairs. The water was freezing cold and we were shivering and cussing the agency lady all the time praying that she would have a disastrous vacation.

An Alcoholic day
Thursday Aug.11th, 2005
Today was a non stop drinking day; we woke up early craving fried eggs and since we still did not have water we decided to go have it in one of the café’s on the beach. Elegance was doing the ordering as usual but I noticed that the talking took a long time and Elegance left me on the table and went inside where she talked to another guy who looked like the cook and then she came back giggling, I asked her what was that all about, she said that believe it or not these guys were puzzled when I asked then for fried eggs, apparently they have never heard of fried eggs, they were more familiar with omelets and she had to teach the cook how to fry eggs, LOL

We had our eggs and it was good, then we went to the water company and solved the problem before heading to the town of Benicassim where we lunched on bear and artichoke sandwiches which Elegance experimented on me as her first cooking trial; it was delicious except for the leafs that kept sticking to our teeth with every bite and we had to pull them out. Then we headed to the early 18th century “The Bodegas Carmelitano’ winery; one of the most significant locations on the “Coata de Azhar” where we had a tour of liquor processing in 5 rooms and ended in the 6th which was a wine-cellar where the wine testing ceremony took place. The rooms looked like caves entering from one to another. And although we hardly filled our tiny glasses, by the time I finished the shots my head was spinning. We then went strolling on the beach of “the Tower of Saint Vicent” to photograph the tower and the town’s renowned historical houses, and except for the house that was completely covered with trees and greeneries that you could hardly see the building, the rest were not a big deal, when we got tired we rested in a nice coffee bar beach restaurant.

In the bar there was this huge Africana sitting on the bar with her different shades of green national outfit that blended nicely with the maroon decoration of the place and the tall palm trees around, the lady was dozing on her high chair and I took advantage of her sleep and shot a photograph, and to my horror, the nosy waitress saw me do that and she went to her, woke her up and told on me. My heart skipped a beat; I was expecting that at anytime the lady would come to me and break the camera over my head, just like what they do to the paparazzi LOL. Instead the sweet lady looked at me and gave me an angelic, approving smile, oooooffff…… that was a relief.

In the bar we had Jamaican coffee which consists of Tio Pepe licqour, coffee and cream and sweetened our tooth with Tiramisu soaked in Rum and headed back home completely buzzed, we showered (thanks God the water was back) and then hit the road again to Valencia.

Although I had my digital Sony camera for a year now, I never read the manual. I preferred playing with it in a trial and error fashion, the discovery of new features are much more exciting to me this way. So on our way to Valencia I discovered a program in the camera that can capture the beautiful color contrast especially with light and shade effects. And since the sun was going down at the time and the sky had this awesome multi color panoramic view, I tried and took a few shots and was exhilarated by my new discovery, all pictures would be posted on flickers later on BTW, my friend Elegance is encouraging me to take some photography courses to learn the proper techniques because she thinks I’m talented, it was only few years back when another friend encouraged me to write poetry and now Elegance is pushing me to take up photography, and who knows I might do that one day, wanaaaasssaaah

In Valencia, our friends took us to a nice restaurant for dinner and wine and then we went out clubbing all night till the little hours of the morning and I can’t remember how many classes I had because our Valencian friends were very generous with us, and before finishing the glass in my hand they’d slip another in my other hand. Thank God Elegance was doing the driving and she was in control.

On our way out of the first bar someone grabbed my ass pinching it in a sudden jerking motion, I jerked back expecting to see a guy, instead, I found this lady who looked like a man wearing a white dress right behind me, she pretended as if it wasn’t her and continued talking to another lady on her way out, my Valencian friends who were all around me when this happened cracked up laughing and told me that I had asked for it by showing my tattoo off, why does this always happen to me? Why meeeeee?

Elegance had to control her drink off course; she was driving and sometimes we ran into check points, but when we were at the safety of our home at about five AM, she suggested with glittering eyes and a mischievous gesture to end the day with a shot of Magic’s; a spirit made of blueberry, the one we bought from the winery, wi ana ma sadagt khabar, ihya kharba, kharba, and as they say in Arabic: wa khitamoho misk” the minute I finished the shot I dropped like a dead meat.

Adventurous Day

Tuesday 9th of Aug,
It’s one AM, and I’m sitting on the balcony with teenage Spaniards gathering as usual on the doorsteps of one of the neighbors holding water bottles filled with alcohol, and this has been their ritual ever since I got here. And since the neighborhood gets really quite at this hour, you can hear their voices magnified three folds but surprisingly no one ever complained or even tried to hush them down, Valencian’s are known for their cool tempers, but to this extend? I mean, we have older people and kids that retire early in this neighborhood; don’t they get bothered with the noise? And remember that it’s not like having air-conditioning here, and all windows and balconies are wide open to natural air.
Their gathering starts around one and ends around four in the morning every day of the week except for the weekends when you usually find them in one of the four beach night clubs of the village. How could the neighbors get to sleep? Beats me !!!

I just woke up from a nightmare; I dreamt that for some reason I found myself wearing only a T-shirt (the same one I had on when I hit the sack) and holding two small flags; one Spanish and another British and was lost in the streets of Tehran, I was struggling to find whoever can guide me to the Kuwaiti Embassy so I can go back to my country, but unfortunately everywhere I looked I saw Mullas with long beards and I had to hide myself since I had nothing to cover me up in this highly reserved areas, I finally found a decent guy who sounded pro western and after bribing him with my flags he sneaked me in an official building and asked me to hide behind a door till he could manage my escape. I waited for a while, then peaking through the door cracks I saw the guards detaining the guy who tried to help me and I knew that my turn would come soon so I had to find my own way out; first from this huge, massive building which was full of the Islamic guards and then from this country.

To my relief I found a group of western officials accompanied by their own show girls with their demonstration clothes on; more or less the Moulin Rouge style, which hardly covered anything (imagine in Tehran LOL), they were passing the gates that lead out of the building, so I sneaked myself out with the girls, and although I had both flags still with me, no one questioned me and I passed safely out. And believe it or not even in a dream I regretted not having my camera with me to take pictures of the girls passing through the Islamic guards LOL.

Outside of the building was another story; I was running and hiding and all I could see around me were Mullas with disapproving faces whenever their eyes spotted me, and as I was running I kept telling myself that this is only a dream and I only have to open my eyes to the safety and comfort of my own room in Kuwait, and after several failed attempts I finally succeeded to open my eyes, and the first thing I saw was what it looked like a strange room and the same T-shirt on me, my heart sank for a split of a second but then the room started getting it’s familiarity back; it was my room in Spain, so I breathed deeply to that realization but chickened out when I thought of going back to sleep.
Hmmmm, the teenagers left their gathering tonight, it looks like one of the neighbors had finally talked to them, what a relief; they were so noisy although they were just chatting, but when the Spaniards talk they seem as if they all talk at the same time and no one listens.

Last night we visited our Valencian friends in their house located close to the center of the city, where we had BBQ and wine in their nice garden, we also met others there and made a plan to go as a group to Buddha del Sol later on, but the BBQ lasted till the wee hours of the morning and our conversation got heated up, not to mention that we had about half an hour driving back home to take care of, so we decided to postpone it to another time.
Our friends advised us to go check out a close by village of Ain; they said that it’s a small village with little white houses and blue painted windows amid a natural reserve in the mountains which inhibited only 300 people, it only had one Bar that served as a restaurant during the weekdays and as a pub during the weekends where all the locals would usually gather.

So when we woke up the next morning Ain was the first to check on our planning list, the village was not too far from where we live; about 20 minutes drive, but the circling of the mountain made the trip much longer, my friend Elegance got so excited especially when she discovered that our rented car’s title was Elegance which she interpreted as a sign, and thinking she was driving a cart in The Entertainment City of Kuwait, she snaked through the roads with a speed that nauseated me, but since I did not want to show my weakness to heights, and wanting to overcome my phobia at the same time, I said nothing and let her have her joy.

In the middle of our trip up we saw a sign directing to the peak of the Spadian Mountain so we decided to change course and check it out; it was a mistake though, the road up was not paved and was wide enough for a tiny car to pass although it was supposed to be a two way road and it hardly had any emergency lanes; the land would steep down at one side of the road which was my side 😦

Half way up, about a half hour drive, I got tense and asked her to make a turn back down, but finding enough space to make a u-turn was another problem; we had to drive some miles up to find that space and return, and woooooooh, Ghaaaaaaali, was that an adventure.

We did finally reach Ain and found it as beautiful and unique as our friends had described, but to our surprise we found the name “El bin Ali” hung on the door of one of the houses, and as I know that this is a Kuwaiti/Bahraini known family, which means that we were not the first from this area that discovered this tiny place :p

And on our way back we took another road leading to Segorbe where we discovered a heavenly resting area on a strip of a running river and surrounded by mountains in almost all directions, so we took out our yoga mats and meditated for half an hour on the concrete benches facing the river with fifty faucets of running mountain waters behind us before heading towards Navaja, but while driving down the mountains I started to have a headache that I think was caused by the height’s low pressure, especially that I have not completely recovered from my flue, and there was another reason for cutting our plans short: it started to rain, so we decided not to stay long in Navaja and missed it’s landmark; the water falls, and we headed back home where we had dinner and I slept right after and woke up with the nightmare I mentioned earlier.

The good news though is that the skin where I had my tattoo done is pealing off, which means it’s healing and in about a week’s time I can go dip the sea again showing it off this time :p

My, my, my beautiful Sunday

Sundays Aug 7th, 2005
I woke up this morning with a congested throat and a clogged chest, Elegance’s condition was worse than mine, and since it’s Sunday and, except for restaurants and coffee shops, all other places were closed, we had decided to take it easy and relax on chill-out music around the apartment all day. But as it got closer to noon time, the weather gots really warm and there was no draft although we had all the windows open. This called for an immediate change of plans, so we took out all the tourist’s attraction booklets we got previously from a traveling agency and checked out the outdoor areas in the nearby villages where not much physical activities were needed. At the same time we thought we’d ask around and may be get lucky to find farm houses that sell natural honey to help cure our flue, since we have heard that there are plenty of those in mountain areas of Spain.

And so we chose the place that we wanted to visit, checked the map, with Elegance being the driver and me the copilot responsible for the road map and direction, we hit the road and in about twenty minutes we reached San Jose Caves located in the town of La Vall d’Uixo.
In the town we made a 40 minute boat trip, actually it was more like a gondola trip to the center of the earth; an underground longest navigable river in Europe which is believed to be more that 15,000 years old and was inhibited by man at a time in history. The temperature of the caves stays at the constant 20 degrees throughout the year, we started a 5 kilometer trip on boats navigating through the caves and another 250 meters on foot to witness a dry gallery of the caves, and we also learned that there is a stretch of 1,932 meters that is not open to the public. And that despite the speleologists, neither the origin nor the end of the cave have been discovered.

We boarded the gondolas and our guide rowed us inside caves that narrowed so much at parts to a point that we had to stoop all the way down and widened to large halls of vaults with the breath taking, numerous shapes that have been sculpted by whirlpools over millions of years to tell the history of it’s evolution and it’s natural procession. The caves were equipped with a mellow relaxing music system and artificial lighting which were the only source of lighting that enhanced the majesty of the place; I even meditated at some parts, but what pissed me off is that we were not allowed to take pictures and there were some scenes that I really wanted to photograph but I couldn’t despite my sneaky efforts to outsmart the guide. I even wished I could shoot a video clip to meditate on when I return back home, but…. Tough luck

After leaving the caves we strolled down a pathway in the surrounding area of Sierrra de Espadan Nature Reserve that zigzagged and circled around the valley crossing dried rivers through the wonders of wild nature at parts and well groomed greeneries at other parts, we walked more than an hour in a completely relaxing atmosphere with my MP3 receiver in one ear playing Café Del Mar music and the other ear exposed to the sound of creatures of nature around.

When we finished our walk we asked some locals about a farm house selling honey. And to our surprise we discovered that there was one place, close to the center of the village that were renowned for generations for the quality of it’s different types of honey, each used for certain medication purpose, but the problem was that no one knew the street address of the house, but all villagers have known them for years and they have had customers from all over the globe, the locals had warned us that the address was not easy to find, but nevertheless they did describe it’s approximate whereabouts.

So we decided to give it a try anyway. And after some time spent in asking others in town center we finally found the place.
The trip was worthwhile because as soon as I took one spoonful of honey I immediately felt my chest clearing, I even got a jar of honey for my dad’s asthma, and another jar for relaxing my mom’s hard temper.

When we came back to the apartment, the weather was much cooler so we went out for a bite and again strolled along the beach, checking out the nice architectural chalets along the strip of the beach with coffee shops each playing their type of music pleasant to the ears of the wayfarers. I also got this sudden urge of photographic experimentation which started to irritate Elegance with my constant click-clicking at ever moving and rigid figure around.
Why do I keep comparing this to the long dull Fridays of Kuwait?

Back to Valencia

Aug 4th, 2005
Boarding the ferry back to Valencia, I think we had enough of Ibiza, last night I could not sleep at all, after having a couple of cervezas to put me to sleep, and that was in the morning after my last post btw, I woke up after less than half an hour sleep with slamming doors and loud noises out on the hotel corridor, it was our neighbors who were coming back from their clubbing out all night, and the noise from outside was not more comforting either, so there I go with all failed efforts to get some rest. But why am I complaining, I should know by now that rest is the only thing you don’t get in Ibiza. I guess now I’m ready for the stillness of Moncofa.

And when my sleeping habit changes I become a bat, no, worse than that, I just continue with a restless body and wide awake eyes and the worst mood you’d ever imagine me, the cool person, in. No, I assure you that you wouldn’t want to know this side of my personality, and I guess that’s what’s happening to me now, so I decided to have a couple of beers to calm my agitation since the pain killers did not do their job and I’m still suffering, it’s not much pain really, it’s the discomfort I get from the plastic wrapping around my waist that makes me feel like a roasted chicken, but hey, the bar tender in the ferry seemed to like me that he started a conversation and offered me the second beer for free, actually he’s not a bad looking guy at all, and his English is not bad either, but if only he could see beyond my T-shirt LOL.
I’m really exhausted, ya nas, abiiiiiiiiii anaaaaaaaaaaaam.
I came back to my place hoping to get some sleep and instead I got a bloated belly and an activated kidney, and here I am writing my diary and taking a break only to visit the bathroom. And as if I needed that, my friend started the count down, she just mentioned to me that we only got two more weeks left and then back to the heat and gloom of Kuwait; shut the f*&k up.

Only in Ibiza
Don’t know why, but in spite of all this, I started thinking of my first visit to El Divino, sitting on the VIP terrace that feels like a deck of a yacht amid the sea, enjoying the sea breeze watching Miss MoneyPenny on large screens that were playing live inside, that night I was so taken by the atmosphere that I did not notice the crowd that got bigger by the minute until I had to go to the bathroom.

It was on my way to the restrooms when I realized that there was a wave of crowd going in and another going out, and as I passed with the flow, I felt some deliberate touches on my shoulders and hair but I totally ignored them until I got beyond the terrace door where there were about three steps up that I did not see from the crowd, in my haste, I tripped over the first step and landed palms down on the third, it was then when I felt a hot slap on my butt, and heard a roar of laughter, and since my head was still down, I spotted the guy who did this.

Now that made me furious and I had to get back at him, so I rowed my way through the crowd back to where he was pretending unsuccessfully to be chatting with a bunch who could not hide their bewilderment of me coming back for revenge and showed their excitements for the coming battle.

I patted his shoulder, and when he jerked to face me I pointed an index at him gesturing that I knew he did that and asked him with a sign language to stoop, and he carelessly did with a wide smile on his face only to get the most powerful slap on his butt that made him painfully scream, honestly, I did not think that I was capable of doing that and the slap did not only redden his but it also swelled my palm. I turned around without looking at his face or his friends’ who cracked up laughing; it was a technique I used to veil my hurt from the sour palm that the act had caused. But, in about a split of a second I felt a harder slap on my right butt cheek, hmmmmmmm, shasawi feeh al7een, I decided to pass on that and continued my way to the bathroom because apparently the guy liked his silly game and I figured that it would go on all night where I neither had energy to slap back with an already sore palm nor my ass could take more slapping, I could have used some techniques I learn in TaiBoxing classes I attended in the past, but my decoltee, short dress was not very practical.

Back to Moncofa 5/8/2005
It’s Friday night, the night for beach clubbing in this village, and although we were so exhausted from the wild night life of Ibiza, we missed the less glamorous, casual outdoors clubbing, so a bit of Salsa here and Merengue there was a nice comeback. And since this village is so small and almost everyone knows each other, in these places we looked like aliens since tourists usually attend the more posh places of Valencia; girls would search us head to toe, and guys were a different story; Why is it that the ones you really like are usually the bummers and the losers who would ogle you from a distant but never make a move? and the ones that you don’t find yourself attracted to gather around you like mosquitoes?
Speaking of mosquitoes; those creatures have something special for me, ever since I came here they have stayed in my company, although I have tried every trick on the book to drive them away, they never go close to Elegance although we are always together, why me!!! And the damn devils choose to kiss you in the weirdest places.

A Valencian friend came to visit with her two adorable daughters, her sister and her mother, the day was really relaxing and we spent it mostly on the beach, and although our visitors have lived most of their lives in and around this area, they have never been to this place which technology had not destroyed yet and it kept it’s old Spanish village style. The girls 5 and 4 years old were an excitment for me, it has been a while since I’ve been around children that age, they were following me around with their curious eyes and angelic smiles checking out every move I made,
At night, their mother and aunt made a considerable effort to put them in bed, they sensed that we were up to something and they did not want to miss the fun, so after making sure that they were both sound asleep we had a girl’s night out where we went to a Cuban bar which is renowned for it’s best Mojitos in Valencia and then we went to a trendy Valencian pub where we spent the rest of the night but unfortunately I came back home with the most detested company you’d like to have on a vacation; the flue. Yes, Elegance transmitted her germs to me and that predicted bedding for the coming three days, that’s if I was lucky enough to recover by then.

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