By TheOttawacker

You’re going to have to believe me on this one

I woke up this morning to the realization that I have three days left and I have a million things I want to do before I go. The novel can wait. So I lay there, desperately wondering whether my bladder could cope with me dropping off to sleep again or not, and thought I would go to Fuengirola and have a nose around.

So, I got up, dressed, washed briefly, packed my camera and went to the bus stop. When I arrived at the bus stop, I realized I hadn’t brought a mask, so was faced with the choice of going back to the apartment to get a mask, or doing something else. “Something else” won. I went for a walk. That’s right. Me.

I’d been communicating in a form of Quest for Fire grunt/sign language with my next-door neighbour since I arrived. Turns out she’s English, but her Spanish is as bad as mine (with less excuse) and she thought I was an idiot and I thought she was probably retarded. She was more right than me. She’s actually from Plymouth, and knows the street my step-grandparents grew up in. Anyway, there is a point to this. She began extolling the virtues of the boardwalk along the front (or the ‘Senda Litoral’ as the Andalusians insist on calling it). She’d already been for a run and she was so positive about it that I thought maybe I’ll give it a go. Not for a run, though.

I set off. It was very nice, as boardwalks go. I managed to do my 12,000 steps with very little problem, and there weren’t too many people around, so I could play my own favourite game and try and make eye contact with people as they walk. It’s astounding how many people refuse to make eye contact over here. The walk past you with a fixed stare, looking firmly into middle distance. Or they suddenly start examining their feet as you stride on by. Or look at flowers. No, no, no, people, this will not do. I, too, am a member of your species and I will be gregarious, damn you.

So, I have taken to staring at people from 20 yards out, smiling, and issuing a booming “Hola!” or “Hi!” (if they are typically English looking) as I walk past. Some of the poor old buggers nearly pass out. In fairness, I have been getting the odd response. (Odd as in occasional, not strange.) It becomes quite addictive after a while. If there are groups of people straggling along after each other, they get a bit of advance warning, and this increases the odds of a response. So, I have added in an extra layer of trickery. If there are three groups of people, I make sure I give a big “hola” and a smile to the first two groups, and then I completely ignore the third one. I just blank them completely. “Hola”, “hi”, silence… It’s brilliant. It is causing havoc among the geriatric population of the Costa del Sol, and I am absolutely positive I saw one old dear try to adjust her hearing aid. “It’s not working again, Cyril. I didn’t hear him say “hola” to us.”

Oh, the steps flew by. Eventually I grew weary of this game and stopped to admire the view. As I was admiring the view, a youngish lady walked by, engrossed in her iPhone. Now, when I was a boy, all those years ago, my gran used to do the football pools. And there was a separate competition called “Spot the Ball”, which you might remember if you are of a certain age. You were presented with a photograph of a football match, with most the players involved: but the ball had been removed from the photo (blanked out, not cut out, that would have made the competition too easy). So, you have players looking in a certain direction and you have to try to guess where the ball is by putting an “x” in the correct place. Of course, the players might not be looking in the direction of the ball or an eagle might have swooped down at that precise moment and stolen the ball (as happened in the 1967 Barrow versus Scunthorpe game), which makes the whole concept much more difficult. I don’t think anyone ever won the competition. H.J. Slattery from Ilkley came close one year, and he got a £5 book token or something, but that was it. There were never the really big pay outs like you got with the pools.

Are you still there? Good. Back to the story. As I was watching this person wander through various rock pools with her eyes only for her iPhone, I began to realize with horrible fascination that something was going to happen. Now, can you look at the picture and mark with an “x” the exact position on the cliff you think she is going to walk into? (The extra, which has been straightened, might help.) For that is exactly what happened. She just carried on walking and the next thing you know there was a scream, the iPhone was dropped, and the girl was looking around to make sure nobody had seen what happened. This, of course, was the moment I chose to shout “Hola!”, waving manically from the boardwalk. “You OK, love?” I asked. “Do you need a lifeguard?” She merely pretended to be Swedish and walked off, examining her foot.

I carried on walking, making friends as I went, until I realized the boardwalk went on up to Valencia or something, and I had a plane to catch on Thursday. So I turned round, meeting a lot of the people I had said hello to earlier as they made their way back to the charabanc or whatever vehicle the home uses to transport them and their hearing aids to the beach, and walked back to Chambao Beach, where I had a sparkling water with Fran and found out Liverpool have drawn Real Madrid in the Champions League. Again.

Home, shower, bit of writing, then back to Chambao for dinner. A good day.

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