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Justin's Life

Welcome to my new blog. I plan to write about all sorts of things here, my life in Spain, ineresting things and ideas I've come across, places I've visited and so much more. Hope you enjoy it and please leave comments as your input is always appreciated.

Wonderful Christmas Lights in Malaga
06 December 2013

Well, it looks like it's been quite some time since my last blog post...oops!

Anyway, just wanted to mention that the Christmas lights are now up in Malaga and they are, as always, really fantastic!  They always seem to go a bit wild with lights and this year doesn't disappoint.  I took some photos but they aren't great.  I'm waiting for my friend David de Biasí, who lives in Malaga, to send me some better ones and I'll add them in here when I get them.

I love the chandalier look of the lights in the main street, Calle Larios, they look great.

I always think that Malaga is a really underrated city.  There's so much history there, it's alive with people and activities and it's a great place to visit during the day or at night.  If you haven't been then there's no better time to go than now whilst the fabulous Christmas lights are up and lighting up the centre.

Here's a couple of photos that I took (awaiting better ones!):

Malaga Christmas lights in Calle Larios

Malaga Christmas lights in the main square

 



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Estate agents doing it Gangnam Style
14 December 2012

I love this!  My good friends at Hamilton Homes in Manilva have been very creative this year with their Christmas video.

You've just got to love this



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Fires, floods, what next?
01 October 2012

On Friday morning all the parents were frantically pulling their kids out of school early.  They'd been told that all hell was going to break loose as a big weather storm was coming.

Now, generally, the Spanish are somewhat averse to a bit of rain so I though they were all just exaggerating.  Nevertheless, I went to the school and picked up my kids early so that they weren't left there as the last remaining unwated children!

Although the storms never really hit our area at all, this time they weren't exaggerating.  There was massive devastation from the rain in the Malaga province, particularly around Alora and further afield in Almeria and Murcia too.  Many home destroyed, bridges torn apart and as far as I know there is still a British woman missing.

Watching the terrible scenes on the TV it made me realise that we had quite a lucky escape this time around.

We've had a bad year in terms of fires and now these terribly heavy rains and floods, it's definitely not what this area needs right now in these incredibly tough times.

Bring on an uneventful three final months of the year.



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Is it that you want to clean my car?
19 September 2012

I often harp on about the fact that I see so many people just hanging around obviously unemployed but not appearing to be making any effort to get out there and just do something.  The missed smurf opportunity is a case in point.

For example, being in Manilva during the day, there is nowhere here to get your car cleaned, you have to go down the road to Sabinillas where you book your car in and wait a couple of hours for it to be finished.  I don't have that sort of time to waste in a morning so I end up driving around with a filthy car most of the time as I just don't get round to getting it cleaned.  Why does no-one offer a home car cleaning service?

Well, today I came across a flyer advertising such a service.  At last!  But it made me laugh as they have obviously used Google translate to translate the Spanish flyer into English.

It's time to give them a call so I just hope their cleaning skills are better than their English ;)

I love the fact that I don't have to move house to get my car cleaned:

Car cleaning Manilva



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Aventura Amazonia in Marbella - Great fun!
12 September 2012

Aventura Amazonia Marbella
 
Kids in Spain have the longest summer holidays in the world.  Well, I can’t really prove that but it’s got to be about right.  They are off for nearly three months.  That’s a long time and many parents go up the wall during that time trying to keep the kids entertained.
 
After a while beach and pool become a bit boring and you end up craving other things to do.
 
So with that in mind, along with some friends, we all took our kids up to Aventura Amazonia in Elviria, near Marbella, for a morning of “adventure Marbella”.
 
This place is relatively new on the coast, I think they opened up last year, but what a great place to go to for the kids and adults included.
 
Essentially what they have is a load of bridges and zip wires between trees and you make your way along completing each section.
 
There are four different levels depending on how brave you are.  You start on the basic one which isn’t too high off the ground and then work your way up to a level that you feel “comfortable” with.
 
We started on the first stage but after that jumped straight into the third level.   If you’re scared of heights like me then you will be petrified.  Even this level is very high and although you have your harness on and should be clipped onto the safety wire at all times, I still found it very unnerving.
 
The kids, however, totally loved it and didn’t seem overly concerned about how much it would hurt should you forgot to clip yourself onto the safety wire and then put a foot wrong.
 
The best bit though has to be the zip wires.  Some are very long and great fun as you let yourself go from one tree to the other.  It’s scary but huge fun.  In fact, I believe that this place has the longest zip wire in Europe, although our time ran out and we didn’t have a chance to try that one out.
 
Anyway, it is a great place to go with the family.  You don’t have to do the really high courses, you can take it a bit easier and do the two lower ones instead.  They are perfect adequate for an adrenaline rush.
 
Great place, highly recommended and a nice (hot) change from beach and pool.

 



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Here's something you don't see every day
04 June 2012

Postbox in Spain 

When was the last time you saw a postbox in Spain?  I stumbled across this one in Estepona last week and didn't know what it was at first 



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Why the property crash has caused such high unemployment
22 May 2012

 A rare site has appeared in recent days in the village of Manilva. A crane!

Crane in Spain

No, they are not building any new houses, they are working on a new “plaza” in the village, but these famous cranes used to litter the entire coastline. It was very strange to see one again, a few years ago you couldn’t drive one kilometre without seeing one. They became part of the landscape, a sign of a truly booming economy.

Today they are a rare site, apart from the few abandoned ones you see now and then.

But this one in the village today got me thinking about all the people behind the construction boom. We tend to think of developers and labourers as being the ones most affected, but the impact goes so much deeper than this.

A few years ago you would see lorry after lorry pounding the roads taking rubble away from construction sites. You’d see lorries bringing doors, windows, bathroom supplies and everything else that a property needs.

All the different service and manufacturing companies servicing the new developments have all massively suffered from the crash causing the current unprecedented levels of unemployment in the country.

Off the top of my head here are some of the types of companies which have been adversely affected by the crash (and yes, they will have done incredibly well out of the boom in the first place):

1. Cement manufactures

2. Brick manufacturers

3. Doors and windows manufactures

4. Bathroom sinks/baths/bide/taps manufacturers and suppliers

5. Kitchen manufacturers and suppliers

6. White goods manufacturers and suppliers

7. Crane manufacturers and servicing

8. Lorry manufacturers, importers, servicing companies, parts
suppliers, lorry drivers

9. Air conditioning manufacturers and importers

10. General construction equipment suppliers

11. Sign makers and advertising billboard suppliers

12. Brochure printers and graphic designers

13. Garden plant/ trees growers and suppliers

14. Plumbing equipment suppliers

15. Electrical equipment suppliers

16. Tile manufacturers and suppliers

17. Furniture manufacturers and suppliers

18. Garage doors manufacturers and suppliers

19. Lights manufacturers and suppliers

20. Post box manufacturers and suppliers

OK, I’ll stop now but when you start to think about all the different types of businesses that were growing in line with the construction boom, and employing more and more people, it does make you start to realise just how many different related industries have suffered with the collapse of the property market.

And where on Earth are all those hundreds of thousands of now unemployed people working in these different sectors going to find jobs now?

It’s a scary thought.



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I hate it when this happens
02 May 2012

You're walking along a pavement heading for wherever it is you're going only to find that they appear to have forgotten to finish off the pathway...

Dead end in Spain

This was outside IKEA in Malaga...and it may not be such a bad thing that they didn't finish off the pavement as it looks like it was going to end up in a busy motorway! 



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The state system in Spain, an hilarious insight!
27 April 2012

There is a great post on Nick Snelling's Culture Spain blog where he reflects on the system of how civil cervants are employed in Spain. and the very true-to-life and popular video which the Spaniards themselves say is spot on.

I've said plenty of stuff on this subject in the past but I recommend you take a read of Nick's post and watch the video:

The state system in Spain, an hilarious insight!



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Ladybird infestation
25 April 2012

I know, how can anybody get annoyed with sweet little harmless ladybirds?  But the thing is that there seems to be an absolute infestation of them at the moment.  They are everywhere.

If you walk around with your mouth open you're likely to swallow a few; if  you try and sit outside they fly right into your face every few seconds and walking around the garden is like committing mass murder!

Is anyone else seeing this problem?  There are just so many of them everywhere.  My kids are loving it though, they have been collecting massive handfuls of the things.

Ladybird 



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