|Anytime, anyplace, anywhere...|
I was off for a long weekend in Malaga - somewhere, it seems, that all of the Hen and Stag parties fly to en-route to Marbella and Benalmadena - and I was amused...and a little proud. We sometimes beat ourselves up about things in this country but we've a lot to be proud of and, for me, our ability and commitment to having a good time is second to none. When it comes to 'fucking having it' we are numero uno!
My fellow Britons I salute you - and mine's a Kronenbourg 'Captain Fanny Hound'...
Know what I like? When you order a drink and it comes with a free bit of scran. Olives, nuts, anything you like. Love it me. Know what else I like? That's right -Tapas. The Spanish custom of picking at different bits of food while you're drinking. One of the best inventions ever I reckon. Luckily, I'm writing this in Malaga.
|You don't get this in the Stags Head mind!|
I'll set my stall out immediately - I'm a fat, greedy Northern bugger! So the vast amount of tapas bars, cervecerias, restaurants, cafes and general eating and drinking emporiums pretty much suited me right down to the ground. I'm bang into tapas with a glass of the local beer me. It's a habit I picked up whilst working on a building site in Barcelona in the early nineties (I know what you're thinking - cosmopolitan as fuck that lad - and you'd be right an' all - sometimes I even have my wine in a proper glass...) I also picked up a bit of the lingo. It was my first time abroad and I quickly realised that no-one spoke English (although as a Byker lad neither did I..ho hum...) so I learned enough to get by and used it every day for the months we were there.
Now obviously that's stuck with me and whenever I go anywhere that has Spanish as a main language I'm straight back into it (negotiated a taxi tour of Panama City a few years back for instance and didn't get robbed - get me eh!) but this is starting to cause me problems. I'm so confident in my pronunciation and diction of the smattering of Espanol I know that I have to preface whatever I ask for with a plea for them to speak English otherwise they think I'm genuinely Spanish and reply in kind which, frankly, leaves me knackered and usually with a plate of chips rather than the olives I wanted!
Anyway, I digress, Malaga is mint. We even discovered a bar that brewed and bottled their own cider on the premises (Bar Cidre - strangely enough) the barstaff came and poured it for you by holding the bottle well above his head and your glass below his waist and then tipping the bottle. Apparently this puts air into the cider so it's more drinkable. It's a proper cool place; little groups of locals chatting away and sophisticated, intelligent conversation abounding - mind you there's always one drunken knob who lurches about insisting on getting the barman to do it again and again until he can get his camera shot in focus...
Me head was bloody killing the next day!
It was only a long weekend rather than a big holiday so our time in Malaga was soon up. We'd seen the sights, luxuriated by the rooftop pool, enjoyed the quality Gin and Tonics in the many cocktail bars (hint: try 'Mombasa Club if you like a dry one. Don't say I never tell you nowt!), sampled each and every tapas variety available (Bulls-tail croquettes - weird yet lush) and, of course, tried the famous Malagan sweet dessert wines and now it was time for home.
Getting the bus back to the airport could have been problematic - luckily I'm an old hand at being abroad and doing shit for myself and had got us to the stop about fifteen minutes before the bus was due, it turned up two minutes later and once we were on the driver took off again. Like I say...I'm an old hand at this game. The airport itself was big, modern and efficient - particularly once I'd gone into my 'I can speak Spanish but don't speak any back to me' routine - and we were checked in and through security in about ten minutes. result.
On the plane I was in my usual position of having my knees in my chest (cattle-class, it's the only way to travel you know) but consoled myself that there was a spare seat next to me and everyone was on board so I'd soon be able to spread out when...oh bollocks!
And then hen party from Birmingham that so boisterously flew out with us (and pole-danced whilst waiting for their baggage) turned up. They filed on straggled and bedraggled. Broken from smoking and shrinking from drinking. The roses of England that were so vocal on the flight out, knocking back the alcopops and telling all and sundry about their plans for the 'do' - illustrated with a pelvic thrust and a rasping laugh so dirty you couldn't clean it with bleach. The law of inverse proportions never fails on these occasions, as they sought to outdo each other vocally on the way out now the loudest and most desperate for attention sought to become invisible. Melting into their seats, the identical T-shirts proclaiming their individualism long since discarded, they clutched lemonade in shaking hands, avoided eye contact with their fellow 'pussy posse' and mentally practiced the report of the weekend they'd all agreed to give their other halves
|Like a working class Michael Palin...|