I have to confess that I intended to spend the afternoon watching Arsenal demolish Blackburn via the Internet, but as illegal streaming link after illegal streaming link were being taken down, and with the sun shining on a glorious October afternoon, I did what I should have done in the first place – head down to Bogatell beach for the Red Bull Air Race 2009… the last in the World Championships!
Allegedly 799,999 other people had decided to do the same, but nonetheless I was able to hustle for a pretty decent spot on the sand and arrived to see the last 8 battle it down to the last leg – a final of just 4 pilots. It was pretty exciting to see these tiny planes roaring through the gates and doing spectacular loops just metres above the sparkling Med. Best of all, before each took to the track, they were introduced by the commentator with the cheesy rallying cry of ‘Smoke on!’, which kept me disproportionately entertained. As it was the final race of the series (other Red Bull Air Races took place in Budapest and Porto for eg.), not only were the podium places at stake but also the overall championship (bit like final F1 race of the season if that helps). Paul Bonhomme (British, but with a suspiciously French name! I called him Goodman throughout) was points leader going in and despite being beaten in most of the heats he clocked the fastest time in the final to win the race and the championship. Fellow Brit Nigel Lamb (good honest name) came second, and got me feeling all patriotic. Defending champion Austrian Hannes Arch(-villain) came fourth, after sneaking into the final four by the skin of his sharpened incisors. He did at least rip up one of the inflatable posts so credit for a bit of extra entertainment value.
All in all a surprisingly good day out, and the other aerial displays of fighter jets and one physics-defying helicopter display (ever watched a chopper drop out of the sky turn and turn a back flip?) were also well worth catching.
To cap a profitable afternoon I discovered a really fascinating cemetry on the way home in Poble Nou. Really weird set up, with tombs stacked in blocks on top of each other. A good photographer could get some really fascinating pics here. I meanwhile took the chance to bolster my ‘footballers in photos’ collection… expect an update soon. Here’s a pic or two of the cemetry, and a particularly sinister black cat…
A quick update on domestic life. My housemates have provided heroics above and beyond the call of duty recently with Albert (Catalan pothead) buying a new washing machine out of his own pocket (landlord has gone AWOL) and Andrei (Romanian guy – definitely not a thief) getting it working when it seemed Big Al had bought a dud. Good joint effort guys. I bought the economy washing liquid from Lidl.