Gibraltar. Two and a half square miles of England on the Southern Coast of Spain. The English acquired this little parcel after the War of the Spanish Succession in the early 18th century. Not that any of us Americans have ever heard of this war because we don't learn about wars we didn't cause....er, I mean weren't involved in. I've never had the desire to go to England, but Gibraltar is only one turbulent pukalicious ferry ride away from Morocco and we have a long weekend so what the hell right?
We got a late start from Morocco and didn't arrive in Gibraltar until 8pm on a Saturday night. Or it was 8pm Morocco time, but 10pm Gibraltar time. Apparently by this time Gibraltarians have had lots of time to enjoy the pubs. I think any time after breakfast is acceptable. Jade asks "is everyone in Gibraltar drunk?" And yes, everyone out on the streets is careening with a familiar inebriated saunter and is loudly sprinkling their colorful language all over the streets while we search for a restaurant that is still open. Welcome to Gibraltar kids! And if I EVER hear you say what that man just said, well, let's just say that the consequences will be DIRE and you won't be able to poop for a week! None of the smoky pubs are serving food at this time of night, but there is one take away spot across the square still open. Fried chicken strips and the greasiest chips (fries) I have ever eaten in my life. Now to sleep in the world's tiniest hotel room that we have squeezed all six of us into with the bathroom conveniently located down the hall. This is all reminding me alot of college.
Since we only have one whole day of sightseeing we try to cram everything in. Really, there isn't a whole lot to see so this is quite doable. The one thing that you must do in Gibraltar is take the cable car up to "the rock" and see the apes that live up there. Apes makes them sound regal and intimidating in some way. Really they are menacing tail-less monkeys. We have strict instructions not to feed them or eat in front of them. The real challenge will be Jade not eating for an hour and a half while we're up here. The monkeys are just acting casual, eating the bugs off each other, doing yoga moves, carrying babies on their tummies, teasing each other and of course having hot monkey sex (which strangely only takes like 5 seconds or less). Think about it. You're a monkey, you have a whole day with nothing to do, but have hot monkey sex and it's literally over in the blink of an eye. Really? I do not want to be reincarnated as a monkey. Jade is staaaarrrrvvvvinnng. I did suggest she look for bugs on her brothers and sister like the monkeys do. Then it happens. A monkey jumps on River and starts eating his hair. They look at each other and there is a moment of true understanding. Will he choose to go home with us or stay up here among his kind? We have a wii. So River chooses us by the narrowest of margins. The rest of the afternoon we walk through the caves and eventually hike back into town for lunch.
The kids are thrilled there is a subway (the restaurant, not the transportation) and this seriously is the best food we eat while we are here. Sandwiches have never tasted so good and you all know that subway is nothing fantastic, but it's a bit of America that we haven't had for months now. Oh and I forgot to tell you about breakfast. It was included at the hotel and it was a traditional English breakfast of white toast, runny eggs, bangers (not a monkey sex term, but a disgusting sausage), ham and baked beans. Yes, baked beans. I was hoping for oatmeal because it was incredible in Ireland and Scotland. I know it sounds weird to say oatmeal could even be incredible, but when you put butter and real cream on it how can it not be? I inquired about the possibility of oatmeal. No oatmeal. Right. I'm not in Ireland or Scotland, I'm in England.
The rest of that afternoon was spent checking out the English bookstore (YAY) and the toy store, both of which you can find in Morocco, but English bookstores are scarce and their stock is scant and the toy stores are ridiculously expensive. So this is a great treat. Before you know it, it's time to eat again. Do we have to? We head to the Horseshoe which is a nice smoky pub near the hotel that serves dinner. The table has the largest array of condiments I have ever seen. I'm excited that they serve pork since we can't get it in Morocco. I ask the waitress what is in the yorkshire pudding that accompanies the roast pork and she says it's like soft baked pastry dough. And why would someone eat that? Gross. But I'll try anything once. Our dinners come. Jade eats the most disgusting lasagna known to man. Really, how can you screw up lasagna? I thought that was impossible. My dinner arrives with the pork doused in a gravy completely void of engaging my taste buds to its presence, peas, carrots, cabbage boiled potatoes and roasted potatoes and of course the yuckiest pudding. I mean yorkshire pudding. Now the condiments make sense. If you want to imbibe your meal with any kind of flavor that is remotely good you must condimize (not condomize). After the meal I feel like smoking a cigarette would be the English thing to do until I realized that we've second hand smoked a whole pack already. Maybe we should just order some nightcaps for the kids instead.
The next morning I decide it would be memorable to have the kids first official non-mom haircut by a professional here in Gibraltar. Luckily there is a place right around the corner from the hotel. We walk in and I start going on and on to the hairdresser about how this will be their first "real" haircut and ooops I'm sure their hair is a mess because I don't really know how to cut hair, blah, blah, blah. She looks at me weird. She doesn't speak English. We're in England right? Well the kids won't forget it for sure and they get to practice some Spanish like it was a pop quiz or something. Memorable and academic....bonus!
1. They still use pounds in England. Who knew?
2. The English have loud salty mouths with lousy salt less food.
3. Monkey sex isn't satisfying, but screwing with the endless tourist/voyeurs totally would be. (Wait, maybe I would like to be reincarnated as a monkey.)
4. Man DID evolve from apes. Or at least River did. No, he hasn't exactly evolved yet.
5. Memorable moments can be even more memorable in Spanish.
6. If you ask for a banger in England, you will get a sausage. Just not the one you might expect.
7. At least one must go through Spain on the way home and buy mandatory provisions of Rioja. (At least that's what I understood.)
8. There is a reason why there is a barf bag in the seat pocket of the ferry.
9. I was right. No need to spend the airfare to go to actual England.
10. Thank god we Americans started the American Revolution or you'd be eating and baked beans for breakfast and yorkshire pudding!
I hold these truths to be self-evident. Now who's with me?