Monday, 21 December 2009

Off to Meet Family in Spain

In February, I will be going to Majorca in Spain to help my mother celebrate her 90th birthday. It will be a great opportunity to meet my two sisters, whom I haven't seen in years, together with my son, and his two children whom I haven't seen at all.

From 2001 until 2006, I visited Majorca for 6 months of every year, setting up my stall in various local markets to sell bead necklaces that my team of ladies made in my backroom here every 'winter'.

You can see the sort of stuff I was selling, to the right, in the Sunday market in Pollensa, a very old and charming town. I think its name might be translated from the original Latin as 'Chickenville'.

I bought the materials in Cebu, in a small street entirely taken up with small shops selling beads and other artefacts. I always enjoyed the experience. It was the only place where I've ever appreciated a karaoke bar, because genuine friends were singing (as was I) and I always spent too much.

Business went well until 2006, when the bottom suddenly dropped out of the market, and nobody, but nobody, especially men, wanted 'ethnic beads' any more.It was a sudden sweep, unannounced, that saw a 40% drop in 'ethnic' bead sales, coupled with increasing competition for junk jewellery from China.

Well, the fashion biz is fickle. In 2004, wide jeans belts were very popular. Everybody had them for sale, except me. So I designed and my ladies made a lot for the next year. I sold precisely 6 of the 300 I made.

But my trip to Spain won't be a doddle. I will be staying there for two weeks; but the visit will take nearly a whole month, including travel time. My itinerary is as follows:

Saturday morning - 4 Hour ferry trip to Surigao City. I will set off  early in case there is bad weather, or some other insurmountable obstacle, and because there is no ferry to Cebu on Mondays.
Sunday night - Ferry to Cebu
Tuesday night - Flight via Hong Kong and Doha to Gatwick, England.
Wednesday afternoon - flight from Gatwick to Palma, Majorca

The best part of the trip will be the layovers at Hong Kong, Doha, and Gatwick, each of which is exotic, expensive, and redolent of romantic travel. I have spent enough time in each to love them all.

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