Thursday, November 12, 2009

A birthday to remember (finally, a post from Tim)

So it was my birthday on the 9th, I was hoping something special would be in store. As it turned out it was a huge day! Just wait…. Let me expand on that. The day started out with a whole miscommunication from Marcos about what time we need to leave that morning. Apparently, we needed to be up and down for breakfast by 9am and then leaving at 10. Well we got up on time but the bathroom wasn’t available, so instantly I new we weren’t going to be on time. When I made my own way down for breakfast there was a concerned look on everybody’s face who were present (those who couldn’t speak English). I could tell they were wondering why Sal wasn’t there. How do you communicate to people when you don’t speak their language that we were running late because the bathroom wasn’t available??? Well it resulted in lots of arm waving and broken singular words that I don’t think I understood myself.

After everything was clarified we finally said goodbye to those who were present of the family we stayed with and set off for the day. Amazing to see that even in the Spanish culture the old men cry when they see people they care about leave and not know when they may see each other again.

Our first stop was a winery in the Rioja region (don’t remember the name sorry) where we had a tour and tastings. The cellar was built deep into the underground some by hand many years ago. Exciting times seeing how wine is produced in other countries! The wine tasting was good and would say it could give SA a run for its money on some wines.

We then made our way with Marcos, Adriana and the their good friends (who couldn’t speak English mind you) to the little town where we were stopping for the night. I must mention again that people here don’t do lunch and dinner at 12 and 6, hence the reason we were drinking vino (wine) and pinchos (Spanish finger food) right through to past midnight! We went from bar to bar in a horseshoe shape ordering pinchos and vino in each new bar we entered. On our bar hopping adventures, one bar was offering wine from a drinking contraption called a Porron. A Porron (pronounced pirrone) is like a small version of a decanter but with a long skinny spout for pouring directly into your month. A Northern Spanish tradition of drinking wine with no wine glasses involved lots of fun and spilt wine. The barman heard that it was my birthday and gave me a Porron as a gift - stoked! Lots of fun to be had with it when we get back to Oz! Not sure what I'd do if it got broken though....mmm. When we finally settled in the last bar for the evening, Sal had a couple of baileys and set of to bed as she is a light weight now days, while we carried on to the wee hours of the morning, carrying on the vino theme before moving on to some serious local rum and coke cocktails which made the communication thing a whole lot more interesting. With a bit of liquid courage into me I now thought I was a linguistic master trying to interpret everything and be involved in the Spanish spoken conversations… to no prevail, so it seemed.

As dawn approached we decided that we all should hit the sack as it was 3 am and we had another day of travelling ahead of us. All the guys decided that we would meet downstairs for coffee at 8.30 in what turned out to be a failed attempt of all other parties but me as they rocked up at 9 where I had already decided to go back to bed a long time ago. So much for being punctual.

Anyway, it turned out to be a brilliant birthday – certainly one to remember. To top it off, I got 30 personal messages on facebook to wish me a happy birthday! Thanks everyone!


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