I won’t bore you with all the work related details of my first few weeks in Gib. Besides, as many of you can tell from reading the news I landed in a very crazy professional situation so I’ll leave that for other posts. As my first installment on Gibraltar let me share with you some of my first impressions and observations of The Rock.
If you go into a fast good restaurant, no matter what you try to order, you’re going to get what they give you. After sampling some of the local eateries I was jonesing for some American food. I have a weak spot for those Burger King onion rings. They’re disgusting but I get a craving for them every once in a blue moon. I order a Whopper, onion rings, and a large drink. I get a Whopper, onion rings, and a small drink. A few days later I go back determined to get what I ordered previously and order the same thing. I get a Whopper, fries, onion rings, and a large drink. Third time I went back I ordered the same thing and got a Double Whopper, onion rings, and a medium drink. Get used to it. That’s just how it works in Gib.
There’s only one supermarket in the entire country, Safeway.
I’m paying about 20% more for an apartment in Gib than what I paid for my place in Los Angeles.
There’s only one movie theater in the entire country. It shows the same movie all month. Thank god I decided to ship all my DVD’s. I just bought a nice big flat screen.
I get to catch up on a lot of American television shows I never got to watch the first time around. Nothing like watching 2 year old South Park.
I emailed my Gib banker because my rent is due before I receive my first paycheck and I needed to find the best way to get money from my US accounts to my Gib account. No problem I’m told. Just make an overdraft and we’ll settle up when your direct deposit payroll arrives. No fees other than the interest for a week. Try that in the US.
Gibraltar has no postal code. Try telling that to Neteller. I couldn’t change my address on their website so I clicked on the Live Support option and started chatting with a CSR. The CSR tells me that I have to have a postal code because every country has postal codes. I point him to the website for the Gibraltar postal service and they don’t list a postal code in their address and the CSR quits chatting with me. Stumped him, I guess.
There’s a pub across the street from my apartment called the Duck and Firken. I started going in there for a few pints each night and have met quite a few good folks. They introduced me to a part of Gibraltar I didn’t know existed. Well, technically I knew it existed but I had no idea any of the places around there were open. After the Duck closed at midnight the bartender and a few folks invited me to join them in Castemates, a little town square about 10 min walk from my apartment. We went up there and had a few more pints and then a few more and I look down at my watch and it’s 3:30am and the place is still going strong. I left shortly after but have been told that on the weekends people party there until 5am and then head across the boarder to Spain where parties can go well into the morning. It’s like Vegas with Euros. They even have what the locals call the Walk of Shame which is when you see women coming back over the boarder, looking like hell, still in the clothes they went out in the night before.
No matter what time a business says it closes at, it closes whenever it damn well pleases. I went to go get a haircut from this place near where I’ve had lunch a few times. I carefully noted the weekend hours and arrived about an hour before the shop closed. Not a soul inside the place except for the two stylists. I ask if I can get a haircut and I’m told that they’re closed. I point to the hours listed on the door that state that they’re open until 1pm on Sat. and then at my watch which says it’s 11:50. I was told to come back during the week. .
When I noticed that the Duck had two bottles of So Co open behind the bar I told them the legend of Al Can’t Hang and dial a shots. With a 6 hour time difference between Gib and the East Coast, Al may be in for a surprise.
I went to lunch the other day and watched an older couple in front of me ask the guy behind the counter how much their order was in dollars. The guy figures it out in dollars and then the woman pulls out a 10 Euro note to pay the bill which was in British Pounds.
I went to the local casino here in Gib. They have no poker except a tournament on Wed nights. I played black jack and they asked me to remove my hat. I bought in for Â£200 and worked it up to about Â£1400 before giving it all back.
My apartment is six floors above a Thai restaurant. Interesting smells are the norm.
I’ve yet to go on a tour of the actual rock. I haven’t seen the monkeys.
More to come . . .