The Translator and the Town
Aguilas Travel Blog› entry 4 of 23 › view all entries
This morning Ian had a community meeting of his apartment block and Monica, his translator, came over for it. She was a sweet and plumpish woman with glasses and a broad Yorkshire accent.
"Which part of England would you say Monica's from, then?" Ian asked.
"Well, Yorkshire," I replied, a bit bemused.
"Nope," Ian grinned. "She's Spanish."
I stared at her, the typical archetype of an Englishwoman - even down to her fair skin.
"I moved to Cheshire when I was 16," she explained. I'd thought it a bit odd when she'd mentioned that she's got family in Barcelona! Once I was properly listening to her speak, though, it was possible to hear her careful pronunciation and the slight Spanish twang behind her words. I was utterly fascinated - and amazed!
So once the meeting was over, Ian and I headed into Aguilas. Its name means "eagles", so-called because when you look out from the bay, the rock formations look like an eagle perched on the rocks (or so Ian says - we haven't been for me to see it yet!).
Having walked along the beachfront, we had lunch at a little place called Bar Velero (see photo!). The food was just amazing; simple fare, but well-cooked and delicious. We had paella mixta, filled with chicken, prawns, crab, baby clams, mussels, pork and fresh peppers, then a pastel or light flan of hake and prawns with a buttery sauce. We got a basket of bread with each course (some of which I used to feed the semi-tame sparrows hopping around the tables - that's why there's hardly any in the UK, they've all moved out here!) which we ate - bread that is - with the olive oil and white wine vinegar of the region. After dessert (very creamy ice cream!), the 3-course meal including drinks came to around 14 euros each, or just under £10.
After lunch we walked back to the car, which Ian had parked in a rambla, a dry river bed, which although bedded with concrete, was still a "working" river! There are a lot of ramblas throughout Spain; signs pointed them out all along the motorway on the trip from the airport. Once back from Aguilas, we headed up to El Cocon (a 20-minute drive) to see Mandy and Andy, friends of Ian's who were having a party. Having been introduced to 2 of their 5 cats, their dog Lulu and half of the British ex-pat community of Almeria (=oP), as well as keeping 6-year-old Tayne (the daughter of 2 of the guests, Mark and Silke) entertained in the swimming pool until 10pm, I was shattered by the time Ian and I left and took a walk into San Juan!
The atmosphere here in San Juan in August is very busy and lively. Spain is very child- and family-orientated, and in the bars children sit with their parents, drinking mineral water or flavoured ice slush. The antics of a pair of small twins in the town square kept us amused!
At one end of the square a man sat on a large stage, playing tangoes, waltzes and other dances and rhythms whilst groups of people danced below him. One gravely dignified older couple were sailing around in a small circle, her in a vivid orange sundress and him in a bright yellow shirt, whilst around them several teenagers - and their parents! - bopped to the music. Somehow the sight was strangely touching.
We wandered towards the beach and walked past several market stalls selling jewellery, clothes and accessories, and where prices were decided by haggling! I picked up a pair of embroidered three-quarter length trousers and a prettily decorated/embroidered shoulder bag for the princely sum of 14 euros - £9.80!
After a rest on a bench sourrounded by the white husks of sunflower seeds (the Spanish eat the roasted seeds as a snack and then spit the husks out), we headed back up to the apartment and bed.
30C nearly all day today - as soon as you step outside you can almost hear the tan!