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Stef On Spain: The Miami Of Spain

As I attempt to write this blog, I realize I can only share about 4% of my thoughts and theories and experiences. Some don’t translate, some I forget, some are not worth sharing. Here are some I decided are worth sharing.

I’m on my second Renfe train ride right now. Stopped on the tracks just around sunset next to a wall filled with graffiti. Might as well be MetroNorth from Grand Central to Scarsdale, yea? No. Because there are Malaga mountains with pueblos of white townhouses in the background and farms and factories in the foreground and as I said before, no picture can remotely capture how awesome these views are.
I’ve just spent the weekend with my roomz and our ‘mom’ Ana in her beachside apartment in partycity Malaga on the southern coast. I had plenty of time to swim in the Mediteranean (casual) and lay out aka burn. First, I got stared at by Malagans for being so white. The next day, they couldn’t help but ogle my extremely sexy burn lines. Think waves of red and freckles on my arms. Now, on my way home, my arms have been complemented by a beautiful rojo coloration on the back of my left leg. No, I will not be sharing pictures and yes, I am steadily convincing myself this will fade to a non-awkward tan as I liberally apply aloe. How ‘geri’ (stupid American) I look.
So, Malaga is like Miami. It’s more diverse than Sevilla, which I didn’t expect. I also didn’t expect an obsession with fried fish or a eurotrash party scene or to burn. (I should’ve at least expected to burn.) Ana and her friend since childhood Loli greeted us at the train station where Courtney and I could barely communicate in Spanish. We were exhausted from the crazy week and the two and a half hour train ride from Sevilla to Malaga.

On the train we witnessed a strong fashion trend that has persisted to pop up everywhere: Japris. These are jean capris, typically whitewashed, and worn by men. They tend to be ill-fitting and flamboyant, but no one here would agree with that statement since the masses are donning them. However, since the train was about 2*C and Sevilla had been 45*C (translation: 107.5 to freezing), I was jealous of the japris because I was wearing shorts. Now, I have my on-fire skin to keep me warm.
So Loli came over and we had some carne de membrillo with fresh cheese and a baguette around midnight. Carne de membrillo is actually a lovechild of fruit leather and jelly, not meat as one might expect. I have been scarfing it down since Tuesday when we first met. The others enjoyed Murcia, a miscellaneous sausage item that Loli described as “like a hotdog, you don’t really know what’s in it, and you don’t really want to.” Loli also encouraged us to find Spanish men because the best way to learn Spanish in en la cama. Wise words from a 60-year-old Andalusian? Not my style, but thanks.
Loli was not the only childhood friend of Ana’s around. In total, we met 15 different people on the beach, all her cousins, or her sister-in-laws, and then her son’s girlfriend’s parents drove us to the train station today, after a long discussion of 9/11, American culture, and how we like (or don’t) life in Spain. Mouthful of connections there. Really exhausting.


This is so out of order, but that’s how my thoughts are. Jumbled and garbled like an Andalusian accent. So last night, Courtney and I started walking down the beach to what we thought was the centro of Malaga. We actually were totally going to go down the wrong street but the sketchiest man ever with a dog without a leash approached us and told us not to wear our bags at our hips because people might steal them. He also said if we went down the street further, we would be mistook for prostitutes. He then made a thrusting motion to explain just in case we weren’t understanding him. Flattering. Really, we were flabberghasted. He had long dirty hair, minimal dental hygiene, and a blind dog. Trustworthy, right? Anyway, Paco decided to lead us in the right direction. We maintained three arms’ length away at all times and did not pet his dog. We were bugging but had no other way to go and there were some other people on the street anyway. Courtney was silent, and I was yapping away because I felt more comfortable filling the air with words to assert myself.
Thank goodness for Paco. He showed us his parents’ home and introduced us to some random people as his cousins. He pointed us exactly where we needed to meet Ana and Loli for dinner. Too bad they were 95 minutes late. We had 2 drinks each waiting and then, much to our dismay and confusion, did not follow with dinner. Ana and Loli took us on a walking tour of the city. Right behind the center, a Roman amphitheatre, an Arab fortress, Picasso’s birthplace, a huge cathedral, and a Cheers bar to top it off. We’ll have to come back for all of the museums and tours because we decided to spend Sunday back at the beach rather than at mass. We were exhausted from a night of what you could hardly call raging at a place called ‘Club London’ where people of all ages (I mean ALL) and all nationalities were technically ‘together’ but failed to interact.
In Spain, people don’t dance. They just bob, drink, and stare awkwardly at American girls. If you dance close to someone, you’re implicating you’d like to go home with them. We were planning on going home to our apartment, so we danced alone and avoided eye contact, except for with two other foreign girls also having fun alone. As we bounced to American music from three months ago, we noted that all the men were wearing japris or equally confounding outfits. Even if we had wanted to find men, we wouldn’t have known who was batting for what team.
So we took a taxi home where the driver eagerly told us the two phrases he knew in English (“Oh yeah” and “Ohmygod”) and then repeated them OVER and OVER for the 10 minute ride at a euro a minute. Wonder where he learned those. Courtney was saved from seeing his thrusting motions in his seat. Second thrusting man in 7 hours. Sevilla is way less perverted than Malaga.

By Sunday afternoon, we were too again exhausted and entirely freaked out by Malaga culture. On the beach, women of all shapes, sizes, and ages find it completely acceptable to traipse around in just bikini bottoms. Why even bring tops.  Men walk up and down yelling “Cerveza, Agua, Fanta, Coca Cola, Tinto” to try to make you buy drinks to stave off sun poisoning and utter dehydration. Then, you go into town and are accosted by men who speak little English but have mastered global body talk.
So we hid in the house, made some tomato and olive oil salad, and watched 6 episodes of Sexo en la Ciudad. I’d say it was a winning afternoon after quite the adventure.

And now we’re going home. We missed Sevilla. We are enchanted(ish) by the incredible wealth of diversity in culture in Malaga. We’re on the train, watching the sun set behind the mountains, eating some omelette sandwiches. And yes, it does feel like we’re going home.

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