Wednesday, July 19, 2006

A Load of Meatballs and a Cathedral

Albóndigas (meatballs) was one of the first words I learnt in Spanish, forever etched in my memory due to a mix up during Spanish oral with albogodones (cotton wool balls). Since then, every time I find myself in a tapas restaurant whether in the UK or in Spain I insist on ordering the little meat treats with the loud confidence of someone with limited yet precise language skills (as beaten into me by Señora Scott).

Accordingly, our long weekend in Palma involved a hell of a lot of meatballs alongside heaps of pimientos de padrón. We spent most of our time between meals wandering along narrow cobbled streets, our walks punctuated by stop-offs for reviving glasses of Mallorcan rosé and pauses at shop windows to marvel at the whorish shoes that only rich women - and whores I spose - love. We also managed to pass Palma Cathedral at least three times a day but, am sad to say, never made it inside.

Tourists to Mallorca tend to be on a sliding scale from fluent golden yachties to fat pink men in England shirts shouting for LARGE beers. I would put myself and most tourists to Palma slap bang in the middle of the two groups. For example, I enjoyed smoking too many Fortunas, drinking too much booze, playing rummy and reading Jackie Collins' latest (Lovers and Players involves the Russian mafia, one of whom murders someone by suffocating her with a quite unorthodox instrument of death), but then most nights was to be found in dank cellar bars amusing the locals with my linguistic efforts. Grey meatballs with an insipid-looking gravy cooked by one patient abuela (in a tiny bar called Bregor, if you ever go) turned out to be the taste sensation of the trip.

Palma is reminiscent of Lisbon and Barcelona due to the gothic architecture and abundance of bars and restaurants, but with a more laid-back feel; somehow island races like the Mallorcans end up a bit less up themselves (I really tried to find a nicer phrase then, but it's late). And I am assured that the cathedral is well worth visiting - all good reasons for me to return.

For now, back to the reality that is Louise's Kitchen Nightmare - choosing cupboards and tiles and cookers not my idea of fun. On a lighter but nonetheless scary note, I have been much amused by the Blair/Bush exchange - the thing amazing me is that you could actually transport them into any corporation's boardroom and the same blokey wankish chat would fit just as well.

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