Gold Medal Recycling or Gold Medal Drinking?

Did you know, Tarifa recycles more glass per capita than any other town in our area.  Isn’t that great news!

The various towns in “Campo de Gibraltar” are engaged in some friendly competition designed to improve recycling rates and provide more photo ops for the mayors during election season.

Have you seen our prize for reaching this distinction?  A big gold recycling container.  The eyesore enormous trophy is now installed in front of the tourism office for all to enjoy.

gold recycle

I hate to break it to them, but the high rate of glass recycling here is not due to our conscientious population.  It is due to the unusually high summer consumption of 1-litre extra-large beer bottles.







But hey, let’s celebrate that big ass garbage can while it’s ours.  Because if La Linea gets in gear and starts drinking more beer, they might win it back.

Google Translate (is) for Dummies.

Bad Spanish to English translations are so fun!.  I enjoy feeling smug, knowing that I seldom make such embarrassing mistakes any more.  Seldom, but not never.

We English speakers are not immune to Google Translate abuse.  There are some hilarious translations from English to Spanish.  I always wonder, before printing large expensive public signs, why don’t the authors just ask a native speaker?

Exhibit A: 


The author of this sign thought they were politely asking people to turn off the showers, instead they instructed people to “turn around in a circle far away from the heavy rain”.

Exhibit B: 

wash tag

Following these instructions, you would “wash your hands, not fall down, and notice that the iron (as in the heavy metal) was arrogant”.

How many thousands of these tags do you think they printed?

Exhibit C: 


This smoke free facility is promoting the “ease of setting tobacco free.”

Google Translate is not your friend.

Chi Chi

There are so many good signs in Spain.  I mean so bad that they are good.  Here’s my favorite of the day.  It deserves a little translation and explanation.

Oferta Semanal:  Depilación Púbica (ChiChi) 7 Euros, varios modelos.


Hmm, a few worlds you can probably guess.  DepilaciónPúbica. 

Let’s start with the word “ChiChi“.  Sounds jaunty doesn’t it. A bit like “ChaCha”, like there should be some dancing involved.  Well,”Chichi” is a take off on the much loved Spanish word “ChoCho” which refers to the female nether regions.

I still have not gotten used to hearing Moms calling their daughters “ChoCho”.  In English it doesn’t sound so cute.  “Hey Vagina, dinner’s ready”.  Just doesn’t have the same ring to it.

Far more overused than “CHoCho” is its male counterpart “Picha”, which apparently they do not wax in the establishment above.  My husband refuses to admit it, but he refers to his brother as “Picha” (penis).  More common still, guys here refer to each other as “Cojones” (testicles.)  Insert “Conjones” or “ChiChi” anywhere that you would have used “Dude” in 1988.

I hear this in the street all day,

“Got a light, Cojones?”

“Love your Hello Kitty nail extensions, Chocho”

“What’s up, Cojones”

So the sign says, “Special of the week.  Pubic hair removal.  (vagina variety).  Various styles.” 

Although they have various styles, apparently none of them are suitable for your picha or cojones.

And that, ChiChi, concludes my short lesson of street Spanish.

Redefining Bull Fighting

Bull fighting is controversial.  It is deeply respected tradition in Spain, not to mention a money spinner.   But killing animals for sport is bloody, cruel and seen as barbaric in these times.

There is hope.  I think these freaks just nailed the future of bullfighting.   And a new generation of tumble-tot classes in Spain surely will help rebuild the economy.

Jump ahead to 0:39 seconds to get to the good stuff.




Redefining “Air Mail”

I have many stories about the snail-mail here in Andalusia.  Packages disappear.  Strange taxes appear.  Our mailman became the Mayor.   But our new mailman in Tarifa has taken bizarre to new heights.  3.37 meters high to be exact.

When I arrived home from the school run Friday there was a large package on the ground inside my locked patio.  How exciting. How strange.  How did it get there?

No one witnessed this mystery unfold so I can only assume this chain of events:

  • Mailman arrives to deliver a package.
  • Mailman rings bell, no one answers.
  • Mailman decides carrying package back to truck would be labour intensive and unsatisfying.
  • So, mailman throws large package 3 meters and 37 centimeters over the wall where large package drops onto the cement floor of my patio.

I measured. He threw it 3.37 meters in the air. That’s a little over 11 feet for those of you who don’t speak metric.

I can picture Mr.  Mailman looking at the wall, looking at the package, looking at the wall.  He probably turned the box around, searching for clues of its contents.  He gave it a little shake, muttering, “Doesn’t sound breakable”.  Then he took one last glance for witnesses, declared,  “F@&% it” and he pitched it over the wall.

My only question is whether the box made it over on his first toss, or if it bounced back onto the street a few time before clearing the wall.

Given my history with the Spanish mail service this experience leaves me elated.  The package arrived. It arrived in a timely fashion with no additional charges.  I did not have to stand in a line.

Thank goodness it was Lego and not a new laptop.



I’m back!

Happy Halloween.

Not So Spanish just won’t die.  This blog is rising from the dead in time for trick ó treat.

The school said the kids could dress up for Halloween.  The instructions said, “something scary”.

So they went as Spanish construction workers.  (Minus the ever-present cigarette).  Spanish construction workers scare the crap out of me everytime they enter the house.

This blog is in the middle of a messy remodel.  It could be months, I’m on Spanish time of course.  But I’m looking forward to clogging up your newsfeed again.


Dashing through the sand.

Boxing Day.  What is a good northern Canadian girl to do?  Take the family tobogganing of course!  No lack of snow can deter my cultural committment. Don’t fear, my little Canucks, we will have fun, like it or not.


“Ok troops, this is what real Canadians do on Boxing Day.  And we don’t even have to take off six layers of clothes before we pee.  So no complaining now and everyone UP THE HILL!”


“I saw her putting rum in that thermos.”


“Looks like the Mommy is serious about this tobogganing crap.  She isn’t even waiting for us!”


“Ok, now you just sit on the buggy board and slide down the hill.  And you laugh and scream and pretend you’re having fun.  Wipe that Spanish smirk off your face and start having fun, damn it.  I’m serious!”


The friction coefficient is all wrong, Papi.”

“You’re right son.  To make this fun we either need more slope, less clothing, or more rum.  I’ll check-in with your mother.”

“Hello down there.  Are we having fun yet?”

“Papi, I have sand in my underwear”

“I suppose it’s better than snow.  Let’s just humor her a bit longer and  I’ll buy you a toy bullfighter on the way home.”


“Who filled my thermos with sand?  Come back here, you little twerps!”

The Nativity Garage

Have you read the Pope’s new book?  Since I have never understood the Spanish nativity scene fascination I might have to give it a read.  Apparently he clears up big misconceptions regarding the nativity scene.

We’ve had it all wrong about the donkey.  There were no donkeys gazing lovingly at baby Jesus during the real deal.  So if your family prefers a realistic interpretation of the nativity, put your plastic animals back in the garage.

But a shout out to my Spanish family, I was excited to hear that the three wise men came from Andalusia!  How they managed to travel from Spain to Bethlehem on camels is unclear; obviously I need to read the whole book.

In what chapter does he discuss the Vatican’s official position on Hot Wheels?


We’re on form with official donkey doctrine.  Our donkey was crowded out by a Playmobile bus.  All the parking spots near the manger were already taken.


Baby Jesus has been stuffed under the sofa since this photo was taken.  Does the Pope really understand the ramifications of new nativity scene protocol?  Because this is what happens when three wise guys from Andalusia show up at your nativity scene.

Sticking around the Christmas tree – 2012

Christmas tradition time!   Here we go,  the third annual wonky Christmas tree extravaganza at the Santos-Fraser household.

I’ll remind you of previous entries.



Low tech, efficient, portable.



Perfect for encouraging a closet clean-out.

But this year the kids are older and we have new needs to fill. Banging for example. We are always in need of appropriate opportunities to bang that begeezes out of something. Sticks are also popular. And we  mustn’t forget the perennial toddler favorite, picking garbage treasures off the beach.  So we went beach combing for Christmas tree ingredients.

Cheaper than Walmart!


There was heated debate over how many sticks we could haul home on our bikes  the attributes of various components.


But I did all this just for the boys.  I didn’t have any fun at all.


Tada!  This is what we came up with.

Pros:  no needles to vacuum.

Cons:  no evergreen fresh smell.  Whatever.  I’ll buy an air freshener.

I put it outside for a week to annoy the neighbours, so the whole complex could enjoy our work.


Then we moved it to the patio to decorate it.

How long until one of those monkeys climbs it?

Things that make you go “Hmmmmm”

I tried to publish this post with a more explicit title but WordPress wouldn’t let me.  It tripped their pornography filter.  Ha ha.

Just a Mommy blogger with a few illegal kale plants and I’m on the internet shit-list.

These were washing up all over the beach last weekend.

Last time I saw something like this it was at a battery-powered “Tupperware party” for bored housewives.  wink wink.

What is it?