The Kiwis Take It!

Valencia Travel Blog

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Happy kiwis.


Well, after all that walking, I ended up back at the port in Valencia with Jeff.  I got there just as race 5 of the Louis Vuitton Cup was finishing.  And once again, the kiwis handily beat the Italians.  They needed to win 5 of 9 races and they swept them.

There were a suprising number of New Zealanders there, given how far away NZ is and they all went freakin´nuts!  I saw more NZ flags than you do in Auckland!  They were utterly elated.  They now get to try to win the cup back from Switzerland, in the final series of races starting in two weeks.

It was so fun to be in the middle of all that joyous madness.

Afterwards, Jeff and I headed back to the apartment.

More happy kiwis.
  I napped.  Carlos was working that night.  We desperately wanted to eat paella in Valencia.  Carlos wanted his dad to fix it for us but that wasn´t going to work (plus, it turns out it´s a lunch dish more than a dinner dish). He finally found another place he was willing to recommend and made a reservation for us.

He dropped us off on his way to work about 9:30.  There weren´t many people in the restaurant but we ended up sitting next to a couple from NYC.  They were a lot of fun to talk to and helped us explaining our needs to the waitress (we´d forgotten our phrase book).

The paella was just delicious.  Lima beans, snail, chicken, all manner of stuff.  Even better than Jeff´s and I love Jeff´s cooking.  We also finished off a bottle of wine between us.

Crazy happy kiwi.

From there, we wandered to a cafe that Carlos really wanted us to try.  Really cool place.  Dark wood.  Playing opera on the sound system.  If the bartender isn´t gay, he´s missing a great opportunity to be gay!

We tried to order sangria but he explained that wasn´t a Valencia drink.  Instead, he suggested "Valencia water".  In his wee bit of English he explained it was some kind of Spanish alcohol + some kind of Spanish alchohol + some kind of Spanish alcohol + some kind of Spanish alcohol + orange juice.

Hey, sounds good to me!

It turns out it´s made in a blender and also includes ice, if that makes a difference.  I told Jeff if they served it with little umbrellas I wasn´t drinking it.

They delivered a pitcher and champagne glasses.

Digging the NZ flags.
  Oh my, it was yummy!  And potent.  And did I mention yummy?  I was trying to steal Jeff´s glass when mine was all gone. 

Yuuuuuuuumy.  Later, we discovered it´s sort of a doctored up mimosa.  Don´t care. Way yummy.

Then we decided to, ah, stumble to the bar where Carlos was working.  It was only 10 or 12 blocks away. We had a map.  And we even managed to find it without walking into traffic.  Not too bad!

They were having comedy night, which is extremely hard to appreciate when you don´t speak the language but what the heck.  Everyone else was laughing so I figured it must have been good.  I joined in the laughter (did I mention the half bottle of wine and the 1/2 pitcher of Valencia Water?). 

After the show, Jeff bought me a coke (spoilsport) and we chatted with Carlos for a while.  We decided to take a cab home and Carlos called for one.  As we climbed in, we remembered that we didn´t have Carlos´address.  Which is just about the time Carlos came running out to the cab since he remembered that we didn´t have his address and couldn´t explain how to get there even if we did have it.

Good man, that Carlos.

As you can imagine, I slept really well that night.

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Hold your head up proud boys (even if you did get your nautical butts kicked).


I spent most of today walking.  I walked about 12 miles.  I was feeling pensive and a little sad and spacey.

Today would have been my dad´s 74th birthday.  He died two years ago while I was in Japan. It was a shock, though his health was poor.  Ever since then, when I travel I feel a little superstitious fear that I´ll get another phone call like that.

He was not an easy man to grow up with, especially in my teen years. He was career military and I don´t think that prepared him for teenage daughters.  :)  But beyond that, he was a difficult man for me to get close to.

That was, until the last 3 or 4 years of his life.  Something changed and we were able to connect and I enjoyed those years enormously.  I was never not grateful for them.

I thought about him a lot today.  No one else in my family loves to travel the way I do.  I think I inherited that directly from him.  He left WV after high school and joined the military.  He wanted to see the world.  Other cultures and peoples fascinated him.

He was very outgoing too.  He chatted up strangers all the time, sometimes to my mom´s enduring embarassment.  He especially loved to goof around with little kids. 

He thought he was an excellent traveller. In fact, he really sucked at planning, especially trips.  He figured as long as he had a clean pair of underwear in a brown paper bag, he could go anywhere.  Well, sure, because my mom was usually chasing him down with all the stuff he also should have had in that brown paper bag!  He tended to forget that part.  ;)

So, what the hell drives me to travel like this?  For the money we´re spending on this vacation (damn that strong Euro!), we could do a lot of other things.  So, why?

I need to see the world too.  I need to remember that my way of seeing and doing things is not the only way of doing things.

I need to see how differently other people live and appreciate that.

I need to see how similarly we all live and appreciate that.

I need to see history and touch it and understand where it took place and how it happened.  I need to move history from the pages of books to the world in front of my eyes.

I need to see the things I can´t see at home -- Rembrandt and Rubens.  Towering Moorish palaces and Japanese battlements.  Olive groves and rice fields.  Houseboats in Amsterdam and sidewalk cafes in Paris.  The tombs of Henry VIII, Columbus, and Napoleon.

I want to eat food where it comes from and was first loved -- paella and chocolate and frites and tapas and bratwurst and beer and marzipan and sushi and wine.

I want to hear languages in their home, where English is foreign, and maybe even my skin color doesn´t fit.

Sometimes, I need to also walk away from my day-to-day life so I can see it better. Sometimes I just need to forget it for a while.  Sometimes I need to re-charge my batteries by the new and the exciting.

I want to keep up my adapting skills.  I sharpen my mind by having to function in a new environment, learning new metro maps, figuring out new street signs and alphabets, learning the new phrases that will get me fed and help my apologize for my big feet.

I want to have respect for the visitor in my town.  I want to know what it´s like to be in their shoes and always be motivated to help them. 

I love to tell stories and travelling lets me do that.  I love to show you what I´ve seen, heard, smelled, and tasted.  I want you to be able to see it through me if you can´t see it on your own.

I want to see the wonder of this planet -- the people, the land, the history, the oceans, the cultures.  It is the glory of God to me some days.

And I guess, in the end, I dedicate it all to my dad.  Raymond J. Bowers.  1933 - 2005.  I miss you dad.

Happy kiwis.
Happy kiwis.
More happy kiwis.
More happy kiwis.
Crazy happy kiwi.
Crazy happy kiwi.
Digging the NZ flags.
Digging the NZ flags.
Hold your head up proud boys (even…
Hold your head up proud boys (eve…
photo by: spocklogic