Monday, January 11, 2010

Spaniards, Mullets and 20Kg of bacalhão

Just back from two rainy, cold weeks in Portugal.
Family gatterings, lots of comfort food and a couple of pounds more... it's all good, if only both the airplane trips weren't so horrible.
I would like for whoever comes by, to read this one thing and that it should be taken as a friendly advice:
Do not travel Iberia.
Money is tight, deal seems alright, the airport is any designer's wet dream and sure enough, Spain is by all means a most excellent country, but this is where it ends. Once you pay, you are in for a treat: cramped old airplanes, bad food (long flights) or none at all (short ones). Complementary peanuts are now a far far away memory.  Service sucks!
I was sitting for 45 minutes and that airplane didn't bulge. I was starting to run out of air. I mean, seriously, there was no ventilation at all and it was starting to get unbearably hot and stuffy in there. I dared asking for a glass of water and was presented with a bottle for which I had to cough out 2 euros. If this is not enough, none of the crew spoke English or even tried.
Once arrived at Madrid, you are ordered to put all your belongings, shoes included into a box and wait in line. Don't get me wrong, I'm all for security measures these days, but for some reason, this all seems like a sad and unnecessary parade, a bit like if they are trying to let us know that they meant business (we all had just come out of a plane for God sake!). Unfortunately, with a connecting flight leaving in 20 minutes, the barefooted crowd started to get unruly and police arrived. Things finally moved along. I squeezed my way out of there, passed the hordes of wacky green costumed Spaniard  help staff and ran like hell! Which reminds me that an unsettling number of them bore mullets. But it could have been my eyes.
Or was it...?
A quick google search turned out this most interesting first person experience on this curious phenomenon (with pictures).

Anyhow, I'll hopefully be back shortly with some interesting Portuguese recipes, specially since I brought about a whole suitcase of salted dry cod with me.
(They apparently opened my luggage at some point during the trip. That must have been priceless.)

Cheers all!