Doug McLean World Tour 1999-2000
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Date: Wednesday, September 01, 1999 5:17 AM
Subject: Aug 29-Aug 31: Ahhh...Ronda....and Lagos, Portugal

Editor´s Note: OK...obviously the bulk of my friends are either not art buffs...or don´t actually read my big journal e-mails...or both...hmmmmm...well, anyway...my Aug 16 e-mail about the Il Palio referenced the winning area of town receiving the winning banner that looked like Van Gogh´s The Scream...only one problem...my friend (Melinda, who was at the Il Palio) pointed out that The Scream was painted by Edvard Munch...hmmmmm...OK...that is my attempt at accuracy in reporting...thanks Melinda...I welcome all constructive criticism (Hrumph...nitpicking...#!#$"!... ;) It isn´t as if their works are so different...I ear that they are Munch the same...Gogh figure!

August 29, 1999: Ronda, Spain
I wake in the morning to go hike around the town...it is lovely again...hmmmm...this town seems to have the corner on quaint. Anyway, Tricia and Shoni arrive around 11:30 out of Seville (Note: They had stayed
in Seville to see more of the sights...hmmmm...don´t know what they saw...they said they walked around but did not even know what the Tower of Gold was...hmmmm...kinda fishy...oh, and also, they were there during one of the largest sports gatherings in the world...the 1999 Seville World Athletic Championships of Track and Field...the Marathon ran completely around their hostel and the entire town...and due to a misreading of a schedule, they missed the whole thing!!! Really...no kidding...I guess you can lead a
horse to water but you can´t make it drink...)...I walked them to our pension and then we walked the town.

Ronda was holding a Folkloric Festival...so we bought tickets to attend...hey, at 500 pasetas it was a bargain! The sunset over the Spanish countryside was awe-inspiring...I mean it...it was great! We went and had tapas, traditional Spanish dishes, which are like small appetizers bought individually...kinda the Spanish version of Chineese Dim Sum cuisine...except no chopsticks.

The Folkloric Festival was held in the Plaza de Torros (bullring...again, the oldest in Spain...bullfighting was invented here)...needless to say it was an awesome setting...watching the folkdancing and looking up and seeing
the stars...lovely. They had folk dancing from various parts of Spain (yes, the Spanish can freaking dance!) as well as Bulgaria, Russia, Mexico, Israel, and some other countries...it was WAY cool!

DOUG STAMP OF APPROVAL! OK...as you may have guessed...I am in Love with Ronda...it is an awesome place...if ya´ll ever get the chance to come to Spain...you should definately put Ronda on your itinerary...OK...OK...so much for my work for the local tourism bureau.

OH, yeah, by the end of the evening, Tricia was having a full blown allergic reaction to something...broke out in hives from head to toe...we gave her sympathy...and the nickname "Leper Girl"...which she
appreciated...hey, why be negative...always be positive!
 

August 30, 1999 - The Road to Lagos with a Leper
Shoni, Leper Girl, and I awake early to go to Portugal...Now, understand, we are backpackers...some hives and uncontrollable itching is not gonna stop us...but, if Tricia coulda called in sick...she would have...not an option!

Shoni took busses...being saddled with Leper Girl, we headed to the train station, connected in Seville, caught a bus to Portugal and arrived in Lagos around 6pm...

Arrived at the Pousada de Juvendatude (youth hostel) do Lagos...they did not have any room...but were very friendly and set us up with a room in a nearby hostel/pension for about the same price...me and the Leper took it...Shoni finally arrived at 11pm after about a 16 hour oddessy of pain and woe travelling on busses and missed connections...NOTE: There are no trains from Seville to Southern Portugal...this is most distressing...not an easy connection...cést la vie...

The Leper crashed...Shoni and I met up with the girls from Seville...and we raged in Lagos until the wee hours...Lagos is not a small-timer on the party map...it does go off!

August 31, 1999 - Lagos, Portugual
Tricia was feeling better and visibly improving...and hardly justified being called The Leper anymore...too bad. Anyway, after much talking with the guy at the Youth Hostel, I secured one bed for myself and the girls stayed at the pension.

Hit the beach with some of the folks from the hostel...now I am here to tell you...Lagos has nice beaches...I liked it...but getting in the water was painful...freaking cold! We are not in the Mediterranean anymore, Toto!

OH...I must tell ya´ll of a huge highlight...STEAK! I got a steak from a local butcher and cooked it in the hostel kitchen. Now, let me tell you, I have been having pasta, pizza, some paella, and more sandwiches than I care to admit...but have severely lacking in Steak consumption...so I practically went nuts cooking my steak! The other thing is that the other people were cooking pasta with sauce, stir-fry, and other way cool dishes...many of which are vegetarian...while I cooked only a steak for dinner. I sat down and just enjoyed the be-jesus out of that steak! I guess I added to the Texan stereotype...but hey...I needed that steak like a dung beetle needs shit! It was great!

We sat around talking after dinner...and I think I have convinced about 5-6 people to go back with me to Ronda to the Ferria de Pedro Romero (Festival of Pedro Romero (father of bullfighting)) this upcoming weekend...we´ll see...but we may have a group going! That would be a kick in the shorts!

Same old...same old...again raged until 3am...ahhhhh...yawn...travelling is tough work!

Later,
Doug