After a break from being tourists, during which we got the kids back into their homeschool (Torture. Torrrrture.) and did unglamorous things like cook pork n’ beans for dinner and watch Deep Space Nine, the Burnetts got out and saw Gibraltar a bit today. This little bit of land dangling off of Spain like a stray bit of shredded cheese that couldn’t quite make it to the mouth is sure unique. You are just as likely to see people conversing in Spanish as British English, and skin color here runs the gamut from transparent/pasty (Mel’s particular shade; she is home!) to deep-bronzed Spaniard to Belgian chocolate African. As Mel got a haircut from someone who was (finally!) nonplussed about dealing with her reddish, fine, curly, abundant hair (which is everywhere here – at last!), she heard Air Gibraltar discuss how cool Scotland is about not wanting to leave the EU, and how all of the cool kids need to stick together.
We’ve already had a fun food shopping trip, at an awesome place called Morrison’s, which is huge. One can learn a lot about a place from its grocery store. Morrison’s had just a tad bit less yogurt and cured, mysterious sausages than Portugal (this means they took up only half an aisle instead of a full aisle each,) but it had a whole section of various prepared puddings and meat pies, even in cans. Did you know you can buy custard in a can? The people here apparently need a lot of it. And ever since we have been within 300 nm of the Med we have seen at least half an aisle of small, canned fish – sardines, herring, anchovies! This is confusing to Mel; who would eat that many things with little, beady eyes looking up at you? The Brits also seem less averse to liquids in boxes than Americans, who have arbitrarily decided such things are gauche – but we don’t care; we have bought tons of room-temperature OJ here! You can store it forever! Oh, and they put hotdogs in jars filled with liquid and sell them. Seriously. Like little anatomical specimens. Mel bought one just to gross Greg out. “American style.” It doesn’t expire until 2018!
We took the cable car up the Rock today, and we had a brilliant plan to walk all of the way down, seeing the sites. There is a lot of stuff up there on the rock, a natural consequence of people realizing that, for the last 1000 years, “Hey, this is a good location. Other people might want this. But look – we have nothing but sea on three sides! Bummer…” Greg in his infinite wisdom found a “nature trail” down the rock, which produced a constant stream of …negative commentary from Allie… and reactive toughness in Tommy. If you want your son to suck it up and become a man, just have him hike the Rock with a younger, delicate sister.
Our legs are throbbing. Lactic acid, oh my! The walk down the Rock is actually quite…long. Okay, time to walk 50 feet and order some awesome Indian curry! Yum!