Thursday, 29 December 2011

The Somewhat Infamous and Hideously Polarizing Argentinean Steak House Night

Last Thursday I was subjected to one of the most gloriously decadent dinner parties since the fall of Rome. With one of our team leaving us to return to Rosario in Argentina and an Irishman going on holiday it seemed a pretty good opportunity to let loose with the boys. Organizing was left to Hector who in his infalible organizing capabilities left things until Thursday. Unfortunately the really pimp steakhouse in Barcelona was fully booked. Hector found another one in a more vivacious part of town and measuredly told us "its good eh". In retrospect this more family restaurant was far more appropriate for our gang.

Sam and I arrived on time and after some circumnavigation we arrived to find Martin and Mario inside. The restaurant was multi roomed and we entered the main part through a small passage way. We were put in the back in a huge room which had a slanting floor. This was a first for me and (un)wisely I decided to sit at the foot of the table. Hector arrived soon after and I found myself in between Sam and Hector. Sam and Hector then proceeded to have an escalating fight which lasted 4 hours; started with napkins, continued with bread involved red wine and ended up in wrestling. Perhaps I get ahead of myself I should describe what caused this escalation.

Other members arrived and we soon had 14 very hungry men who wanted a lot of red meat. The waiters foolishly bought us menus and were shooed away by Hector and Martin who from the sounds of things ordered a whole cow in various states of distress and temperature. All I could hear was mas carne MAS CARNE(more meat MORE MEAT). The wine was soon flowing and talk soon flowed into how good it was there were no women to distract us, how good the wine was and how bloody hungry we are all were.

Over the course of the night everyone got progressively drunker except for our clever Nepalese engineer who elected to drink coke all night. Hector transformed from a somewhat cheeky fellow into a whirling dervish. I actually caught this transformation on camera.

When I talked about the cow earlier I was not joking. Over four hours we ate about 11 different courses of food and I am pretty sure we ate a good part of an honest sized cow.

an honest cows head

The amount of wine we drank beggars belief and the waiters left us to to serve ourselves wine, so loud and engorged we became. We were serenaded during parts of the night by the resident guitarist. We tried to put him out of a job by getting Martin to sing for us but he was not that keen on giving up his guitar.

My favourite part of dinner was the large and nitrogen enhanced steaks which only a few of us could put away.

Of course I have neglected what was going on either side of me the entire meal. What began with a bit of napkin slapping between Hector and Sam quickly evolved into the Falklands II and I actually sat back from the table for sections of the dinner when there was no food to limit the collateral damage felt.

With the food slowing down we entered a somewhat serious part of the evening where Mario felt obliged to dress up in a napkin and spout forth how he really felt about quite a few topics of which the gravity still escape me.

There was a flaming desert served. It tasted amazing and it probably did not need the alcohol, neither did we.

I left the table after 1am and before 2am. I arose to the worse hangover I have ever had and although I made it to work I was violently ill and have not drank a drop of alcohol since. I fear I have destroyed any love for red wine that I once had. Mario and Sam made it in. Martin woke in another part of Barcelona sharing his bed with a lady, I think he convinced her that he was a singer at a bar. Hector did not make it into work until late. He had lost his phone, cash card and bicycle card on his way home. No one saw him leave. I think he just whirled home like a tornado losing parts of his wallet as he went.

As you can read there were a few casualties in the war but it was an incredible night.

I will put up the details for the steak house at a later date. It really was a find and indicative of the wonderful eateries all throughout this city. Company not included.

Sunday, 18 December 2011

Adventures in Port Aventura

Last weekend I was lucky enough to take a weekend trip to Port Aventura, a large and sprawling theme park about an hour and a half east of Barcelona. I was doubly luck to be able to tag along with Sam and Nancy. Sam if you remember is my quintessential English friend who loves kebabs, booze and dispensing with pearls of wisdom. Nancy is his diamond, the foil to his sometimes odd ways.

I began this micro adventure on Saturday after a Friday evening watching over my 80 meter baby. Sam and Nancy were indisposed at 10am and suggested we leave at 12. I found an open Irish pub and skyped home to a Christmas party full of my friends. This is the first time in two years that I have not been working and I relished in an early pint of cider and the warm and effusive glows of everyone back home. I was told to take a lot of photos of my excursion so this post will be littered with them.

I subsequently wandered the streets of Barcelona for a couple of hours drinking the first of many cafe con tardo and taking photos of the Franco railway station.

Somewhat handsome chap in the railway station.

At 12pm Sam and Nancy arrived at the railway station. We had a bit of time to kill before the next train so we went to a mexican restaurant which was not serving food but had somewhat drinkable margaritas.

Mexican Christmas snow man

Two festive chaps.

At 1:40 we began the 1.5 hour train ride west to Port Aventura. It is here I must big up the Spanish train system. Not only is it far cheaper than bus, the trains are well looked after and nearly empty. The train ride west hugs the coast and it is not unlike the Riviera from Menton in France into Italy. 

By the time the train ride finished we were quite excited and we leapt off the train and hurtled towards the park gates. There were quite a few hawkers trying to sell dodgy tickets. I know better than to try and talk with them, and left Sam and Nancy to parlay polite refusals in Spanish. 

Dumping our luggage at the gates we entered the park and began our ascent into carefully cultivated psychologically modified theme park heaven. After a quick stop to have a fortifying drink we made the foolish decision to ride the most terrifying ride at Port Aventura. We named this ride the penetrator. It uses the same mechanism that aircraft carriers use to catapult planes off so they can take off. We all felt somewhat shaken up afterwards. If you listen carefully you can hear me saying "Jesus"

We then began a 3 hour meander through the various sections of the park and partook in various rides. There were four distinct sections open.


The Wild West & Mexico

Sesamo Adventura

 and China

Obviously there is quite a lot of park to wander about in and I think you would be hard pressed to see it all in one day. Especially in Summer when the queues are invariably longer and there is a whole other section open, Polynesia and it's water park. 

After the unnerving Penetrator we chose a very sedate and very wet river ride. Thankfully my carefully chosen clothing offered some protection.

There are a few things that I noticed unique to Spanish theme parks. It is very easy to get and drink alcohol. It was not easy enough for Sams liking but given that you could buy beer every 500 metres or so and there was a wine bar which was selling hard spirits I was more than happy. Check out this beer we bought.

There was a very shakey ride called El Diablo de la Mina in the Mexican section of the park. If you think carefully back to my lessons from Hector this is a perfect example of his unified feminine masculine rule. 

I also noticed some very latin graffiti. These two pieces actually are two nicknames given to different crew members by the Mexican mafia. 

In the Mexican section we rode a large and mildly terrifying tower which also doubled as a spine shortening device.

I am not sure how far you need to fall before you hit terminal velocity but we were all glad when the tower engineering slowed our decent.

We had one more ride left in us. The underestimated and very comfortable Pirate ship. We found it very reassuring to scream voluminously when the Pirate ship was hitting it's straps. It was also quite therapeutic. We wondered about the untapped Pirate ship holistic therapy industry.

By now it was starting to get dark and a bit cold. Spain afforded us a lovely sunset and we retreated to the nearest town Salou.

Salou is apparently quite busy in Summer time. I have heard people wistfully describe it as a continental Ibiza. In Winter it is a lot less busy and the streets afforded the same ambience as a post apocalyptic future minus the zombies. The hotel we stayed at deservers mentioning. The Regente Aragón was a great one and my decision to get a superior room baffled Sam and Nancy. The reason of course was having dragged my Traktor all day it needed an airing. 

I gave my Traktor such a thorough airing it was well past 12 when we retired to sleep. I think we talked at length about how amazing Port Ventura was and we may have snuck in a couple of episodes of a tv show that is not for the faint hearted.

It is fair to say we consumed a fair bit of alcohol the night before. So the buffet breakfast the next morning was attacked with relish.

Our second day at the theme park was to be just as good as the first day. Getting there at lunchtime allowed us to take things a bit slower. We started our day with a ride on the pirate ship. Nancy mentioned that she would like a Pirate Ship shower that she could use every morning.  From the Pirate ship we made our way to the tea cups and then feeling a bit peckish we entered a Mexican cantina.

The Mexican cantina was one of those small gems that was tucked away. It was large and cavernous and there was live entertainment. For a moment I felt like I could be in a sanitized version of a Mexican Christmas.

From the Cantina we took time to take some photos with a safely inanimate cow.

It is here that my memory starts to get a little hazy. I know we rode this ride because I have a photo of it.

I know we started drinking an incredible beer called Vol Damme

I know that we rode the penetrator again because the footage at the start is actually from our very last ride. I invested post humorously in a pair of scuba googles which have a camera and video recording option for the next time I find myself in such an exciting place.

It is safe to say that  by now we were pretty spent with all of the intense excitement that the weekend had provided us with. We made our way to the nearest hotel foyer and waited for the 7:20 train back to Barcelona.

In Conclusion......

Port Aventura is a great theme park one which can only be more awesome in summer time with it is open till midnight and gets 50% larger. There are three themed hotels on site and I think it would be a great hoot to stay in one of those.

As with all trips it is often the company that makes them and I am very lucky to have made to great friends in Sam and Nancy. I hope we can go away somewhere else soon.

Tune in next time for tales from a very Argentinean dinner party.

Wednesday, 16 November 2011

A Perfect Saturday Spoiled by Magic

So I just had one of the best Saturdays I have had in a long time almost completely ruined by Magic. How could this happen? What could Magic mar? My perfect saturday went something like this.

I arose at approximately 10 minutes past 8am with a slightly fuzzy head and fuzzy mouth that attending a dock BBQ the night before bequeathes. I had a lovely if sporadic chat with my wife via Skype and then ate a healthy breakfast and rode my bicycle to the gym. My ride to the gym or work is wonderful. We had a stunningly clear autumns day here on Saturday and my ride was not at all that different from this.

Media prepared earlier, been waiting to use that one. This blog entry is all about the media, multi even.

After exercising and swimming at the gym I returned home and pottered about on the internet for about an hour or so. I then went to the nearest Japanese restaurant and dined on some fine Japanese food. I learned an incredibly handy Spanish phrase. Cafe con Tardo this gets you an Espresso with a dash or milk. I engaged in some shopping, unfortunately like large sections of Asia Spanish people have small heads so finding suitable caps is hard work. Thankfully Spanish surfers have larger heads than the football players or runners.

I returned home 3pm in time to turn myself around and get ready for one of the standout epic performances of my life.


Somewhere in my childhood I developed a taste for monster trucks, probably around when I used to play with radio controlled cars. I have had a latent hankering to see a real life monster truck for at least 20 years. Seeing Monster Trucks in the Olympic Stadium in Barcelona was a dream come true. There was a reasonable posse from our boat who went to have a look. One of the Engineers took his mum who had come to visit. Another one of the Engineers took his girlfriend he had not seen for a month. Engineers always on the look out for horsepower.

We got reasonably lost on the way to the Monster Trucks. We abandoned our taxi in the heaving traffic jam which was people trying to get to the Monster Truck Jam. We scrambled up a hill gouging ourselves on thorn bushes and dodging broken bottles. We then, after getting warned not to, got in a cable car which proceeded to take us away from the stadium.

Thankfully there was a wonderful Swedish couple in our cable car who stopped us going to the panic. I had exhausted all of my social Swedish before we had left the cable car and it was another mad dash to the stadium and the monsters!

Actual panoramic photo of the stadium. Told you I was going all out.

Sensibly you might not think you can make three hours family entertainment out of 10 Monster Trucks some earth movers and a few motorcycles. Well that is where you are very wrong. The first section of the evening were a series of time trials around the oval course. Two Monster Trucks would square off and try not to destroy the track or each other.

Unfortunately Bigfoot was not in attendance but dirty old Grave Digger was there looking scary and menacing.

The highlight of the time trial section was Maximum Destruction rolling his truck and landing it upside down. There was a palpable silence and thankfully the portly driver emerged unscathed. He then proceeded to pick up a bit of the destroyed bodywork and wave it triumphantly at the crowd. He was given a bottle of champagne for his efforts.

There were a few intervals during the Monster Trucks. The first couple of intervals had a monster golf cart enter the stadium with a jet turbine which made an incredible noise and had impressive flames billowing from it's engine.

A troupe of motorcyclists were bought out who did some very impressive jumps and tricks. But the crowd were all waiting for the main course of the evening. The freestyle. The trucks were each given 90 seconds to drive around the course doing jumps, smashing cars and doing doughnuts. They were then marked by three judges. A lot of the trucks went upside down in this section with maximum destruction coming out with half of his body kit missing only to lose all of his body kit.

Three trucks went upside down in this section with the drivers egging themselves and each other to do more and more crazy things. The crowd favourite El Toro Loco did this unbelieveable manuerve and ended up getting the most points. It was magic and not the kind which was to surface seven hours later.

With the monster trucks over I left the stadium at breakneck speed and without breaking my neck I descended the what felt like a mountain and hailed a taxi to take me home. Pausing to change my clothes I then went to Sam's place to wait before we started an evening of his choosing. Sam is a good natured Englishman that works in our team  Being English I have latched onto him as someone to banter with in my own tongue. Strangely enough he is from Guilford where James Lovejoy was from. He also has a strange attraction to mirrors.  

Sam was eating a dinner inside with his girlfriend. What they were eating is anyones guess as the day before his water and gas had been turned off. I think they were eating kebabs. English people love kebabs. I sat down under the trees drinking cider from the local bar, the black horse. With Sam and his girlfriend ready we made our way to Marmalade bar in Raval. It turned out Sam had kludged his plumbing so he did at least have water and did not smell much.  

Marmalade bar was convivial enough. It served very passable mojitos but its real talent lay in its proximity to Barcelona's very famous Bar Marcella. Bar Marcella has been open since 1820 and has had some famous patrons over the years including Dali, Picasso, Gaudi and Hemingway. Naturally I was quite keen to add my name to the list. What greeted me in Marcella was the very pungent smell of Absinthe and a decaying Dali'ish roof. Immediately I noticed that people were always in a hurry to leave. Sam got us a round of Absinthe and I was interested to see that Absinthe is an amber coloured liquid in its natural form. It is not until you have added molten sugar that it turns green. I think we all turned green soon after and we were soon barelleling out the door much like the people who had greeted us on our way in. 

It is worth noting that was now well after 12 my perfect Saturday was finished. With the liquid devil of Absinthe coursing through our veins we made a what turned out to be fatal decision. We would go to a bar that had been recommended by an increasingly dubious American. We would go to Magic Bar.

Up until Sunday morning I had been living in a delightful bubble believing Barcelona to be a truly cosmopolitan place with vibrant and exciting things to see and do at every corner. Magic Bar certainly sounded interesting, there was a healthy queue and we all felt anticipation and a bit queazy with excitement. That could have been the absinthe.

What greeted me was truly sad. I lasted about three minutes in Magic bar. It was a truly tragic place. I think it should have been called Anti Magic bar or Euthanasia. Deeply depraved people walking around and swaying dangerously. I wouldn't have been surprised to have seen someone fall over dead. It turns out my amazing taste in music has give me some Bourne Identity like conditioning. Hearing Crocodile rock being played over a loud PA system was enough to make me walk out without saying goodbye and get safely into a taxi.

Sam being English stayed around to drink his free drink and mine. He lasted about half an hour before he left to get another kebab. He has photos of weird people including a chap he named Snake hips the rapist. Magic Bar what a crock. On Monday we devoted vast tracts of the day trying to understand how Magic bar stays open. Our best theory is that people go there to kill a night. If you are actually having too much fun and need to knock a night on the head. Magic bar is the place to be. Maybe you want to ditch a date or sober up? Magic bar where your dreams come true.

That was my mighty Saturday. May there be many more minus the Magic. 


Thursday, 10 November 2011

Lessons from Hector

Hola, estas bien!

For the past two weeks I have been spending more and more time with the somewhat shadowy figure of the Mexican Mafia, Hector. Hector says very little at first but now I have trouble finding spots when he is not making a noise of some description.

Hector has only been too happy to further my Spanish education with many manageable morsels. The ultimate so far has been his explanation of feminine and masculine nouns. The pro-noun el or la is put front of them and it trips up many an English speaker. Hectors  rule works very well and I can not fault it. It is quite simple.

Suppose you are a man.
Could you have carnal heterosexual abiet quite kinky relations with the object?
Yes, it is feminine.
No it is is masculine.

Upon learning this rule I looked about the room attempting to break it. Spying a roll of electrical tape I said.

El Cinta?

"No" said Hector, see its obvious characteristic. That is feminine.

I then looked at a screwdriver. He smiled and said "that it is el desarmador"

A ladder turns out to be feminine. I asked Hector about this and Hector was only too happy to demonstrate the various positions a ladder can be posed in.

Spanish truly is a language of love.

My other Hector lesson comes from a direct translation of his Argentinian tongue. Instead of saying Don't Panic. Hector says,

"Don't go to the Panic"

I love this. It makes panicing out as a dark place that one has to go to to experience. I think this is true and when I start to lose my head I just think "Don't go to the Panic"

Hector even took time out to txt me "Don't go the Panic" at a random time yesterday.

Smart man.


Wednesday, 2 November 2011

Que Pasa Sopapa?

In an all to familiar cycle up until last night I had forgone traditional language lessons for full immersion Bullfighter Spanish lessons. Much the same as Cowboy Italiano, I have been learning on the job. What makes it different here is that I am working with the Mexican mafia. Martin in particular has been a great teacher because he does not speak any English. I have been learning all manner of crazy Espanol.

Cinta = Electrical Tape
gyea = Small line for guiding cables
Escalera= Ladder
Jabón = Soap

As you can imagine learning bundles of words like this with the occasional swear word makes retrofitting what I have learned back into every day life difficult. Thankfully I can also say.

Vale = Ok
Que Pasa?= Whats up?

On Friday I learned that a small suction cup or sucker is called Sopapa. Naturally adding Sopapa onto the end of Que Pasa is the best thing I could think of. Hence the title. Whats up suckers?

Thankfully last night I attended a more formal and infinitely more useful Spanish lesson. My teacher Jackie knows how difficult for English speakers to learn anything let alone another language. After being in tears at a Spanish lesson in Barcelona she vowed to learn Spanish and teach useful Spanish to gringos like myself.

After two hours of leisurely learning structure, telling stories and getting a feel for Barcelona and Spanish. I think I am ready for my second lesson. Jackie thinks I will learn quickly and is quite ready to introduce me to some of her Spanish pupils who are learning English.

Be Afraid.

PS There are probably some spelling mistakes in the Spanish above. I apologize profusely and blame Martin. 

Monday, 17 October 2011

Spanish Tapas Moments

Counting Ibiza & Palma, driving across Spain and last year in Barcelona I have lived in Spain for about two months. The difference this time is that I won't be moving cities every couple of days, holidaying or living aboard a boat. I also shouldn't be drinking a mojito every day like I was in Ibiza. Spain remains nicely different and endlessly friendly. As always with a protracted amount of habitation it is the little things that stand out and not what you would automatically think. Fittingly I like to call these tapas moments. 


The people of Barcelona speak a dialect of Spanish called Catalans. I had a lengthy discussion with a French expat last weekend and she described Catalans as a sped up version of Spanish where words are truncated or just left out all together. To the untrained ear it sounds like everybody says mojito a lot. Maybe it is just our shipyard people. Maybe there is a guy there called mojito. Maybe hurry the hell up in Catalans is mojito?

Thanks to some networking I have the phone number of an American English teacher who teaches Spanish as well. What makes these language lessons very welcoming is that she likes to teach Spanish in bars. By ordering drinks from the bar tenders and interacting with the patrons one learns Espanol in a very relaxed setting. I will probably say mojito.

Robins Hood

Did you know Robin Hood was from Barcelona? He actually probably wasn't, but the relaxed apologetic attitude that Barcelonians have towards theft is quite strange. People will gladly tell you to move your bag closer, or keep your phone out of sight but the criminal element is very much tolerated. No one is telling the thieves to stop stealing. My new chief stewardess had her phone stolen out of her hand on Saturday night whilst she was talking on it. Surely there is CCTV here. Surely somebody cares! bicycle salesmen and phone shops do a roaring trade in the mean time.

Interesting design choices

Barcelona is famous for the stunning architecture but there are also small design choices that are unique. There seems to be a very accepting attitude to people sleeping in public over night. Park benches are comfortable looking. Subway vents heat cold spots. It even looks like stairwells going to underground car parks have been designed so you can have a windowed spot on the ground that sleeps two.

I joined a gym last week and the first thing that greeted me when entering was a large and prominent advertisement for a local beer. The interior of the gym was cavernous and vast sections overlook the Iberian sea. This is all quite distracting, thankfully there is a large cafe/restaurant which is just as busy as the gym and sells that beer they have on the door. I have seen a strange style of swimming here that has to have been designed. It requires lying on your back and kicking sporadically, as you start to sink to the bottom you should rotate both arms simultaneously in backwards circles. It looks incredibly difficult and counter intuitive but I shall try my best to replicate it as soon as I work out how to get to the pool. The final insult is that my gym also has an art gallery inside where you can buy art after you have had a few beers and almost drowned in the pool.

The Mexican Mafia 

I am working with a few Argentinian's who have been dubbed the Mexican Mafia. They are interesting fellows and once they have the measure of you show quite wicked flashes of humour. Naturally I find myself joking about with them a bit and here are some of our exchanges.

Sam: It is Sunday soon Hector will you be going to church?
Hector: No I do not believe in God
Me: Oh ok Hector (sensing it might be a sensitive subject)
Hector: I do not believe in God I believe in Maradona.

Mario is the second member of the Mexican Mafia. He was quite vocal in showing his displeasure at the way the All Blacks bundled the Argentinians out of the RWC. I felt remorse and consoled him telling him he should be proud of his countries achievement visualising him crying at home wracked with anguish after watching the game with his fellow country men. I should not have worried. Five minutes later a South African sat down beside us(South Africa were also put out)

Mario: hahahahaaha you lose!
SAFA: Shut up
Mario: hahahaah you loser
SAFA: We scored more points than you. Did you even watch and support your team?
Mario  No

Echoing my time starting out as a deckhand I have been largely working solo for the last two weeks. Whilst this is not ideal it is a good way to learn as you make plenty of silly mistakes and tend to make them only once. As a reward for my valiant efforts I was gifted the third member of the mexican mafia, Martin to work with. Martin is an endearingly cheeky young chap who speaks about three words of English. We have managed ok with a combination of hand signals, cowboy Italiano and shrugs. I naturally do not use ladders unless I really have to. I know Lungo is Long in Italian so with a bit of bartering I have been named El Largo Kiwi. Given some of the names given to other crew members by the Mexican Mafia I have done pretty well for myself.


Embarassingly and also quite sensibly I have eschewed almost all forms of the nightlife that Barcelona is renowned for. I did venture out for a crew dinner last Wednesday and was impressed by a few things. Firstly the restaurant we went to had people giving head and shoulder massages before and after your meal.

After being coerced to have a couple of drinks on the way home I was loudly ushered into a taxi and went as far away from home as I have been in Barcelona. We ended up in the shot bar. The shot bar only serves shots which I think is a great idea. I have learned that drinking shots by themselves is not that dangerous. It is when you are also drinking rounds along with or between shots that it gets a bit skeweth. This bar handily had the entire menu painted on the wall in case you had momentary reading problems.

Finally turning in the right direction I started going home. We ended up in a rock bar which was very exciting. Spanish people love to grow a lot of hair and rock out at the drop of a guitar pick. This rock bar was decorated with well, take a look for yourself.


That is Barcelona so far. Despite myself I have been having quite an interesting time. It might be time to actually start looking for points of discussion. Till next time.

Monday, 3 October 2011

Back in Barcelona

Pretty much a year ago I began what was to be one of the hardest and most challenging periods of my working life. I actually have a large and exclamatory rant festering inside myself detailing the hardships and personalities I endured which was about to rupture last weekend. Thankfully things changed. What happened? Well I got back to Barcelona and started a new job. Not just any job mind you this is my dream job.

This new job is shrouded in secrecy. I have not writen much about my new job because,

A: I am not allowed to
B: I am not allowed to
C: I stil do not believe it is real

So given that this is probably a dream and not real I think I can write some thing about my new job and living in Barcelona. We arrived in Barcelona on Monday morning. We should have tied up my old boat at about 9:30am..... But the old girl in a show of mild protest decided to have a mechanical malfunction and we sat offshore for an hour or so pacing the decks and looking longingly at land. Thankfully after a show of engineering know how we got ourselves into port and I set about looking busy until I was given my passport and permission to leave.

I was quite anxious to see my new boat, in a show of niceness I had given about six weeks notice to my old boat and I knew my new boss had been struggling without me. After security fomaltities at the shipyard I called my new boss and we soon were aboard my new vessel. I am not allowed to show you any photos of the vessel but in a show of Spanish modesty the yard had draped this fitting drape of non non-disclosure over her.

As you can see it is quite a large Motor Yacht. I am not allowed to say how big but if you look closely you will see a small Lego man in the bottom left corner. My first impressions of my new place of work is that it is very large and there is a lot of things to be done before we leave in about five months.

I am an ETO(Electrical Technical Officer) on this boat which in addition to usual IT functions means quite a bit of electrical work. I have been wiring up plug points and fittings and although I do not have a background in this work I am very glad I spent hours racing radio controlled cars as a kid because I know my way around shrink tape and power blocks. That has not stopped me from stabbing myself with snips and screw drivers on a few occasions. To give you an idea of the amount of work we have going on. Our last estimate was we have 10 kilometers of new cabling to lay.

I may have taken a photo of some of this work strongly resembling mine.     

Obviously we have a lot of Spanish speaking workers on board and I have been learning some Espanol to add to my limited vocabulary. El Fuerte remains quite the gentlemen because these Spanish workers have all manner of inventive words which El Fuerte never taught us. It appears there will be enough interested crew to start some Spanish lessons soon. Bring it.

Other than that I have overalls to wear and it has to be said if you can not wear a man bag, wear overalls. Pockets for days Bro. My new crew is very nice and it is cool to be working with more Kiwis and some Irish. That being said if South Africa win the world cup I will probably quit.

One of my first tricks in Barcelona was to secure a bike. I payed for it at a sports store and went through a lengthy interrogation for a customer loyalty card. There are so many bikes stolen in Barcelona that shops know you will be back for another one. I enjoy riding around Barcelona, the city is made to roll upon and it seems easier to be on a bike than in a car or another motorized transport.

Please enjoy some very quick snaps I took on Saturday morning. This is some buildings on my ride to work.

My next foray into bicycle shooting will be mounting a tripod on my handlebars for video recording. Stay tuned. I might need to mount my GPS first. Much of Barcelona remains a mystery.

Thankfully my new Casa is fantastic. It is a large three bedroomed apartment in this very building.

Knowing I will have a home of sorts for a few months is very satisfying. We have a large sound system which has already been connected to the ironing board and although my room is quite small it is not a cabin! A nice surprise yesterday was finding out we have a rooftop complete with nice views, a small pool and jacuzzi.   

I have left out a section of the pool because it had two very topless women in it. Ah Spain.

Other than that I am very settled and I am proud to call Barcelona home for a while. I have plenty of things to write about and a nurturing workplace which should mean a bit more content for this very blog.  

Muchos Gracias!