by Sinclair Newton
I was not having a drink the other night in Ibiza when I had this great idea for a new children's programme on the BBC to be called "Watch with Mullah."
It´s time everyone - even the tiny tots who've not yet suffered anthraxiety - learned how to do their Sunnis.
Religion is everyone's business now, even here. Paperback Korans are selling in millions, which is more than can be said for both the Bible and non-alcoholic beer in San Antonio.
By the way, I can see the sea while I labour away at these puns and try to figure out how to get across it. While I gaze out despairingly I've just come up with another - how about Islam-approved low-strength Kaliban.
We shouldn't laugh really because my Mum has just told me on the mobile that America's redundant passenger planes are being stockpiled in the Mojave Desert. That could explain why I can't get home just yet (that and the promise of a barbecue at an old finca tomorrow).
Trust the Americans to park planes in the desert. Don´t they realise, as I once discovered on a holiday romance, that sand gets everywhere.
I did promise to report on the LiveIbiza inaugural get-together at Rias Baixas and it was what the Yanks would call a bonding session. Louise, our hotshot newshound, tells me that the glamorous restaurant's name means low water. Well I drank lots of that while the rest of them downed what I would once have called just a few.
Nevertheless it was a joyous gathering. We laughed until I thought the soufflé would collapse.
I shared a big fish with Gary called a Roja and I'm not going to comment on that at all except to say the roasted head came separately. I had spent all afternoon with Kirk watching videos he shot of the original form of bungee jumping in Vanuatu and all evening talking about the relative values of pick and mix religions with Emily.
I had spent the morning with Louise talking to an artist whose husband was the architect of the biggest literary hoax of the last century and what puzzles me is why I never even thought about a drink either during or at least after a day like that. Even a large Kaliban on the rocks would have gone down a treat.
And now I have to figure out how to get home and be in time for my Christian church ensemble on Sunday where no doubt they'll be praying for peace everywhere.
Not drinking clearly has its virtues. Sober Christians, Jews, Muslims and Tallymen go to great places and get to party with terrifically interesting people and I've not even mentioned the others at the feast, the captivating Eco warrior Jose, and the indefatigable webmaster Toni. I even had the cheek to ask Gary for some of the Roja´s cheek.
And without a drink I can not only savour but also remember it all.
P.S.: The presents. Louise´s is in the post (if I ever get home). I didn't know she was a veggie, so I've had to rethink the Moroccan anchovies in a tin which has been nurtured and turned every six months for five years; Gary's is the 2002 Campaign for Real Ale Good Beer Guide in an attempt to make him homesick; Jose's is Food For Free, by Richard Mabey, the definitive guide to the native store of wild things in the English countryside published by Collins; Emily's is Prehistoric Cooking, by Jacqui Wood (Tempus) which includes salt mined in Cheshire; and Kirk´s was a caddy of Crabtree and Evelyn´s afternoon tea which we supped looking out over Portus Magnus yesterday. There was nothing for Toni because I didn't realise he was going to be there, but I´ll think of something even if it´s only praise for his extreme patience, skill and diligence which is the best present of all.
I´ll tell you about the Ten Things I Took Home from Ibiza.
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