Here they are, Masum and Anjuman who own and very expertly run M & R Supermercado in Avenue Joan Miró
I kick off the year's writing with a homage to the best little supermercado in Palma: M & R. When I lived in Hong Kong and wanted to buy anything other than beer, potato crisps and batteries, I had to get on a bus and travel for ages. Sometimes I had to get on a bus AND a ferry if I had to get something serious like dumpling skins.
Now - all I have to do is cross the street to get almost anything I want, including fresh fruit and vegetables! Yes, M & R has everything I need for a reasonable, healthy and convenient life. And it closes at 23:00!!!
The owners, Anjuman and Masum, are from Bangladesh and we communicate in my crap and their excellent Spanish. They are so kind, helpful and friendly, and they were open on Christmas Day AND New Year's Day. What a relief, because everything else was closed on these days. I was still a little Hong Kong in my head this Christmas, whereas I should have been Norway. Closed. Everything closed.
The supermercado was closed for 1 1/2 months this summer, and I suffered greatly. I had to walk several meters further to shop, and make sure I got in there before 8 o'clock at night. How easily we get used to the easy living eh?
M & R Supermercado
Joan Miró 114
Tel: 637 623 817
I can't remember where in China I took this photo, but it's so descriptive, I think. In front is something they want you to see, but it's not real/no longer exists. Then comes the reality that can't be hidden slightly sticking out behind, magnificently dwarfed by a high-rise. But that's not what I wanted to talk about today. I actually really wanted to post a photo of my lovely friend L who visited last week from Hong Kong, but she would kill me if I did.
L is so kind that instead of mocking me for being a Luddite and telling me to get an Apple TV like everybody else, she swung around our favourite fake DVD shop in Shenzhen (a Chinese city just across the border from Hong Kong, known for its excellent tailors, inexpensive foot massage and other physical well-being related services, and fake handbags and DVDs) last time she was there, to pick up the last season of four series I had started following when I lived in Hong Kong.
When I say "fake DVDs", by the way, I don't mean that they aren't DVDs. I just mean that they don't cost several million dollars for a box set, but around 1 euro per disc. In other words, much LESS than subscribing to QuaxBox and FlaxFlix and whatever they are called. Also, I brought my DVD player and little TV set, from RASONIC, with me to Spain. They have become my friends! Why throw away something that works perfectly? Like my printer bought in Hong Kong, for which L also very, very kindly brought me some cartridges of ink? (Yes, Asian-bought Canons use different cartridges from Europe-bought Canons DON'T GET ME STARTED)
Anyway, she brought the stuff and I was so happy, I danced around the living room, stubbing my toe on an up-sticking floor tile from 1890. But when I started adding up the prices to pay her back, I found the ink was about HK$690 (reasonable) but the DVDs ... about HK$320! WHAT? But, but, Chinese DVDs are cheap! That's the whole point of them! It's not as if they contain bloopers or ads for other films or anything. Then it dawned on me. Because she is so kind, L had bought BlueRay. But I can't play BlueRay on my friend, the Philips DVD player from Fortress in Hong Kong, bought in 2008 for HK$300! Ahhrghhhh
"I'll take them back and change them," the ever-helpful L said. No, come on. That would be taking the kindness too far. I would buy a DVD player for BlueRays here, dammit, and watch my long-awaited season finales. I started googling BlueRay-compliant DVD players and if I could get one second-hand. Then I had a thought. "Let's try to play them on this ol' player anyway", I said.
And guess what - they worked. They were FAKE fakes! They weren't BlueRays at all, but just your normal fake DVDs with different covers! Ha h ah ha ha ah ah ah ah a China wins again
Last Saturday it felt like ages since it had been sunny - it was two days. Help! Have I become that person? Anyway, the returning sunshine couldn't have been celebrated better, because some friends took me to Bettina Papenkort's Indigo Spa in Alaró. It was one of the most beautiful places I have ever seen - the house, the garden and the rolling hills with the Mediterranean gleaming silver far out in the distance. I was in paradise, for as you know, I came here primarily looking for beauty.
In a little room at the bottom of the garden, Bettina had set up a spa room, where she gives facials and massages using products that she has made herself! I admire people like that so much. The work that goes into it is so incredible, and all using herbs, flowers and other natural ingredients. AND the packaging is beautiful.
I expected everything to be really expensive, seeing it's all hand made and hand wrapped individually, but no. The most expensive item I saw was 60 euros, and then it want down all the way to 10. Guess which one I bought! Ohhhh, the smell alone was so heavenly that when I came home I thought there was another, rich woman, who had suddenly moved in with me. But no, the fragrance came from my own hand, from the product demonstration!
If you love luxury, exclusivity, well-being, yoga and calm, AND have a car, this is the place for you. The place and view alone are worth your trip. Oh, and Bettina is so lovely, warm and welcoming; one of the many super-creative and hard-working people on this island.
And her daughter is an excellent cookie-maker! And her dog Jasper is the best dog evah. So as you kind of guess by now, I recommend a visit to Indigo Spa.
INDIGO DAY SPA
HOLISTIC TRAINING & TREATMENT CENTER
Camino de Son Fiol J
Mallorca Baleares Spain
TEL +34 609 812 511
Here is my good friend Ellen from North Carolina. We met in Hong Kong when I was teaching her and her husband Cantonese, and then became friends over a shared passion for Chinese food and adventure trips to China. When she was brutally torn away from Hong Kong after only four years of adventures, it marked the gestation of a new thought in my head: Why can't I be the one who's leaving for a change?
This week was her second visit to Mallorca in a month, and what do you know - Ellen went straight into adventure mode! This time it was tile related.
Why don't you have a personal documentary made when you're next in Mallorca? I'm here every day with my video camera and tripod, ready to show you all the adventure things! Yes, not only tiles!
I thought my new house had high ceilings, but that was before I visited Palacio Can Marques in Palma's narrow and mysterious Carrer de Apuntadores. Apuntadores! It was the first street I went to when I came here last May for reconnoissance. The name sounded so interesting, but do you think I looked it up? Oh no. I thought Punt, maybe means bridge? Something like guys who raise and lower bridges? But there are no... Never mind. I just looked it up . An apuntador is a prompter in a theatre. So... pretty close!
Anyway, last month my friend Mariette was here, and already other people are more adventurous than me, for it was she who dragged me into the beautiful lobby to check out the hotel, which had just opened. A kind receptionist showed us around, but I wanted more and sent them an email asking if I could take a closer look. The lively and knowledgeable hotel director Mariya took me around the Palacio, which used to be owned by the family Marques. And get this: The ceilings are 11 metres high!
AND! The rooms have books! Real books. That's all I need to know...
Each room is a suite and they all look different, with lots of lovely art and objects sourced all over the world by one of the owners herself, who also happens to be a designer! By the way, the room above overlooks one of my favourite plazas in Palma, the Plaza de la Drassana. There you can find Bar Arenas where they have the second best tapas in Palma, after Hostal Corona of course, because they (the tapas in Arenas) are made by Chinese! There is something about that Chinese touch that makes all food better.
And just to seal the deal - the bathrooms! Ohhhhh. Me, I'm a firm shower taker. Firm. I don't lie around in baths. What for? Just lie there, to get clean? But I would make an exception if I could stay in this suite in Palacio Can Marques. I really would.
Next time: The restaurants.
PALACIO CAN MARQUES
C/ Apuntadores 15, 07012 Palma de Mallorca