We are still here in Empuriabrava waiting for the boat to arrive, but we are hoping it might be here this weekend. Once it gets here, we will need to unpack and buy groceries, towels, etc., so it will be a day or so before we set sail.
There are worse places to spend a couple of weeks, though. Frank said last night that he had never stayed at a hotel which worked harder to please its younger guests. I might have mentioned before that Max loves going to the Mini-Club. The Mini-Club is staffed by two great people--Anki and Ivan--who play games with the kids, do crafts, take them swimming and to play mini-golf, etc. Max spends 3-4 hours there during the day and then he wants to go to the mini-disco every night.
The schedule of the mini-club is a little odd by American standards, but it works quite well here. Their morning goes from 10:30 until 1:00 and then the afternoon hours are 4:00-6:30, and it’s usually during that time that they hit the pool. The mini-disco starts about 9:30 and runs until 10 or 11, depending on what else is going on (more about that in a minute). Since the weather has been so nice lately the kids can spend time outside without being too hot. The bad thing about the mini-disco hours is, of course, that by American standards (or at least by our standards) Max is up ridiculously late. He loves it, but we’ve told him that these hours will change once school starts. The other bad thing is that Frank conks out before Max does, so we can pretty much kiss our evening goodbye.
Last night was funny. The kids danced for about half an hour and then Anki and Ivan started handing out saucers and beans and bingo cards. Bingo! I haven’t played bingo in I-don’t-even-know-how-long! It was hilarious. I felt like I was at a nursing home except that the games went much faster. When I was in graduate school I worked on weekends in a nursing home called Sterling Place and one of my main functions was to call bingo. The most important rule was the you NEVER messed with bingo. Don’t start it early; don’t start it late, and do NOT change the order of the games. It usually took about an hour to get through about three games because there were so many people who couldn’t hear that I had to repeat everything ten times. Add the conversations going on and even the people whose hearing was perfectly fine couldn’t hear either. Last night was bit different. Also no one was wearing tight polyester, which is the other unfortunate thing I think of with bingo.
This was international bingo, in which the numbers were called in three different languages. Anki would take a ball out of the bingo wheel (I was envious of that thing--a wire ball which had all the numbers in it and you spun it around and got a number out of the neck of it; it looked like a big jar made out of wire--because we didn’t have anything like that at Sterling Place) and Ivan would say the number in Spanish, French, and English while Anki showed the number with her fingers so the people in the back could see. I figure that’s almost 4 languages, if you count her fingers as sign language. In any case, we stayed for one game and Max and I almost won on two different cards.
I know I had promised not to use this blog for things like: “ it’s a beautiful day here. I think I’ll organize my sock drawer,” but I do need to say one thing. It was time yesterday again to do laundry (oh joy and ecstasy are mine)! In any case, right next to the hotel is a self-service laundromat, so I went over there to find out that all the machines were busy. The upside of it was that the woman running it said that if I left my laundry they would do it for me for the same price that I would have paid myself. A pretty good deal, I thought! And it was much cheaper than the last time we did laundry, so it was a very positive experience as laundry goes.
There has been a wildfire not far away which has killed 4 people over the past couple of days, but it is now under control. The major highway from France into Spain was closed for a couple of days but seems to be open again now, so we are hoping that will not affect the expected arrival of the boat. Yesterday the air was pretty smoky because there wasn’t really much wind to blow the smoke away, but the wind did pick up some later in the day and today the smoke is almost gone.
Max has been very busy with the mini-club and he is also writing a screenplay for a movie and working on a short story. He has decided this week that he wants to be a writer when he grows up. It is unfortunate for fans of his blog, however, that he is so busy working on his creative projects that he doesn’t have time for the blog at the moment. However, I will keep after him and see if I can’t get him to post another entry soon.
We’ve been following the news here as well and were shocked and saddened by the shooting in Colorado, but gladdened by news of the NCAA’s actions towards Penn State. I am sorry that the current students have to deal with the fallout, but what was covered up there ruined many lives and cracked the entire foundation of the university. I hope that education there will not be affected and that the current administration there will use this as an opportunity to ensure that such things can never ever happen again.
It’s about time for breakfast here and I guess I need to close. We’ll keep you posted on progress with the boat and I’ll try and get Max to post another blog entry soon.