Welcome to Paradise

Trip Start May 31, 2006
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Wednesday, October 18, 2006

You know those days you wished you had stayed in bed? This was definitely one of them. Ed's mom, Pat, arrived in Porto Petro anxious to see her sons and husband, looking forward to a relaxed holiday with her family. Tired of the hectic routine of Buenos Aires, we promised plenty of outdoor activities. We were in for a surprise.

Once she was settled in and we were up to date on our lives, we all decided it would be best to rent a car for the length of her stay in order to tour the entire island, north to south, east to west. We selected our part of the island, the eastern side, to debut our tour, choosing Portocolom as our first destination.

Apparently it was a nice port town, much larger than Porto Petro, where taller buildings and busier streets were seen. The weather wasn't too friendly today since the sky was hung over after a harsh storm the day before. Guided by a silver clouds, we arrived in Portocolom after a forty minute drive, where we managed to find the marina in no time. Everything was arranged around the port: restaurants, buildings, shops, bars, etc. From little traditional Majorcan cafés to significant trendy restaurants, Portocolom seemed to have it all.

On our slow drive encircling the port, we noticed a dirt road leading somewhere away from where the action was. Since we didn't have an agenda to comply with, and our curiosities were greater, we decided to venture on the mysterious road, not knowing where it might lead.

After about five minutes of driving through thick thorny bushes and clouds of dirt we finally reached a clearing. We were greeted by the olympian sight of a rocky cove, adorned with sharp cliffs plunging down into the angry ocean, whose curvy waves were fiercely breaking on the rocks. A majestic sight to be enjoyed in silence, as we did. Far away waves were violently crashing into the cliffs, exploding in midair and floating down into the water again, only to continue the agitated design. The tempest brought in sea and salt in invisible droplets, and after a few minutes of watching the spectacle, we found our skin and hair moist and sticky. Meanwhile the clouds churned in the sky accompanying the turbulent mood of the seascape, fighting back the angst of the sun, wanting to break free and temperately tame the land.

The spiraled surface of the water charged and recoiled upon the rocks as we moved to and fro, trying not to get too close, fearing we might get devoured by a hungry wave. We walked along the rocky coast jumping from boulder to boulder, unable to stop admiring the wrath of the ocean, yet venerating and respecting its temper.

Slowly but surely, the battle high above between the thick gray clouds and the sun was finally coming to a resolution. Some thin sunrays were beginning to peer out, and bit by bit, the entire sea coast was illuminated. Taking advantage and relishing on the new light, we abandoned the rocky shore and walked towards the limestone hills gemmed with thick evergreen pine bushes, like pompons sprouting randomly across the hillside.

Ed and I walked among the pines in awe of the strange vegetation, when we suddenly heard something rustling from within one of the bushes. We both instinctively grew still and quiet, and waited for something to happen. Finally the cutest tea-colored hare jumped out from inside the bush and scurried across the hill, faster than our eyes could keep up with. We lightly shook some surrounding bushes to see if we were lucky enough to encounter a family of hares, but apparently that one was a lone hare.

We continued to walk, curious as to what lay over the hill, following the narrow sinuous paths through the piney shrubs and the pumice rocks. Expecting to find a marvelous lighthouse or an olden widow's wharf, but instead we found more moors spreading across the horizon, with a hint of the town through the haze. Small empurpled flowers sprouted from the soil below our feet. Instead of bursting from a stem or a shoot, the flowers were growing directly from the ground, from the cracks of the soil. We were so marveled by tiny buds that we found ourselves watching our step, trying not to trample on them.

The sun was now shining with all its brilliance through the now thinner silvery clouds, but the air was still damp and heavy and hot, so we started to move back to the car, trying to decide what would be our next stop. Once inside the car, I grabbed the map and scanned Eastern Mallorca for a beach we had not visited but had heard of. All members of the crew unanimously voted that the next stop could not be made on empty stomachs, and so lunch it was.

We stopped by a supermarket close to the town's limits to buy the ingredients for our picnic. We were in and out in about 10 minutes, on our way to Cala Murada, further North on the Eastern shores. The sky had closed up again and was threatening to downpour any second. We weren't really preoccupied though as we had the shelter of the car and the will to keep driving and sightseeing, even if it meant in the rain.

   Half and hour and few wrong turns later we arrived in Cala Murada, where the hotels and summer houses were perfectly aligned on the rocky slopes facing the voluptuous curve of the seacoast. The ocean here was raving mad: rolling, charging, crashing, breaking, and bursting upon the shore or the rounded cliffs. The first few drops of rain started descending but that didn't stop us from having our outdoor sandwiches with olives and pickles on some benches near the sand, as we watched the frothy opus of the waves. Some of the far away explosions of waves on the rocks were so large that I'm sure the tide withdrew for a few seconds from the amount of water raised in the air. Never seen anything like it.

  After lunch and after the light drizzle stopped, we decided to jump start our digestion by taking a short stroll through a path that apparently led to some caves which made an interesting watch point. While Ed ventured into the high caves, I admired the staggering view with Ed's parents on a stone platform overlooking the sea.

It was time to move on, so once back in the car we decided to move further north and see what we came across. We drove through a few little towns, some very traditional while some others more urbanized, prepared for the hoards of German tourists. As we were driving in the main road, we saw a sign pointing to Cala Romantica (Romantic Cove). The cheesy name deserved at least a quick look, so we took the exit.

The town of Cala Romantica was more run down than other places we'd visited (no wonder it wasn't even on the map) with a few old and dirty restaurants and a small souvenir shop in the center. Some houses peeped out from the high hills surrounding the town, its terraces and balconies all facing the same direction, indicating where the sea was. We drove across the town and finally reached the fairly decent beach, where people were now agglomerating celebrating the sun's end to imprisonment.

As we parked the car to take a stroll through the beach, Ed's mom noticed her handbag was missing. We looked inside and out the car but it was nowhere to be seen. Retracing our steps, we concluded it must've been left in the supermarket in Portocolom where she paid for the groceries. We quickly dashed in that direction, hoping some cashier found it and kept it in case someone came back to claim it. It was then Pat announced that both her passports, her credit cards, her airplane tickets, driving license, and ID cards were in that purse. Money aside, it was imperative we find the purse because of its important contents.

When we got to the supermarket, we all looked around for the purse while Pat went inside to talk to the supervisor and see if anyone had kept it for her. As we feared, her purse was nowhere to be seen. Growing more nervous and anxious, we began to search the premises and its surroundings for any evidence of the purse, thinking someone might have found it and taken it. Sure enough, together with the help of the supermarket's supervisor, two of Pat's medical insurance cards were found folded in two by the back exit of the store. So it had been stolen.

We rushed to find a police station which, oddly enough, was closed. So we decided that we could not waste anymore time: the credit cards had to be canceled before we sped out to find another police station in some other town. Everyone put together the coins we had for the pay phone, and when I went to get my wallet from my backpack, I realized it was gone. I searched everywhere inside the car, thinking it might have fallen out, but it was gone. Stolen aswell; which was strange because the car had been locked at all times and there was no sign of forced entry. I hadn't even taken my backpack out of the car....this was just getting stranger by the minute.

As Pat and I frantically called Visa, Mastercard and Diners for our respective card cancelations, night started closing in, while our moods tensed by the minute. We each had to call our banks in Buenos Aires for the cancelations who then, in turn, referred us to the appropriate international offices of the credit card companies.

After all this was done (an hour and some later) we sped off to Felanitx, the nearest city, to the local police station to file a report which took about 2 more hours. Physically and emotionally exhausted, we drove back home in silence. After being robbed, one feels a little violated, specially when you've been robbed twice in one month (the Ibiza incident was the first).

Even though we had enjoyed ourselves during the first half of the day, the bad side always outweighs the good in situations like these. And as positive as you try to be, there's nothing that can make you be more at ease than your head on your pillow, anxiously waiting for the next day to come, hoping it'll be better than this one.
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