AKA Abraham Bacoln

A day in which nothing was truly accomplished
June 30, 2007, 5:46 pm
Filed under: Spain

Today felt long even though it wasn’t, or hasn’t yet been, but who knows when I’m going to go to sleep? Not me, that’s for sure! I’m a party animal!

And by party I mean studying.

There’s a test here at the school every two weeks to determine if you are fit to move up to the next level. Of course I consider myself fit to move up, I’m just as good as anyone else in the class, but it’s still troubling. It’s a test! It’s like the semester final, basically, with regards to how many credits I’ll get if I do it right. So yeah I’m a bit apprehensive and for this I didn’t go out tonight (and am not going out tomorrow night) but hey, I don’t usually go out anyway! I’m too old! Just like an old man!

I look forward to buying my first cane. I’m gonna get a good lightweight one so I can shake it effectively.


So anyway, today I woke up thinking I was going to go to Torremolinos and also to the house where Granddad lived which is between here and Torremolinos (near the airport if I have my directions right). Once I ate breakfast and started really looking at the maps I realized I had a problem. There isn’t an easy way to do the both of those things at once. There’s either a bus from Málaga to Torremolinos, or a bus from Málaga to Granddad’s old place and back, or a bus from Torremolinos to Granddad’s old place and back, but no easy way to do all three. They don’t make a good straight line.

Therefore I had to decide which trip I was going to take – to Torremolinos (to check out the area and look for the bar where Granddad used to hang out) or to his house. I ended up opting for the trip to the city – man I’m tired of typing Torremolinos already – because it looked like the bus ride from Málaga to his old house would be long, confusing, boring, and have nothing at the end except for me to walk quite a distance from the bus stop, take a picture, wonder whether or not the neighbors are the same, end up not knocking on any doors, and then walk back to the bus stop and go home.

Instead I took the bus downtown and looked around until I found the train station. I tell you what – they don’t want you to know it’s a train station. In Málaga the stop is underground, so it’s more like a subway station. I mean, sure, once you know what you’re looking for it’s obvious – the stairway with the big red sign! The big red sign that doesn’t actually have the word ‘train’ or ‘station’ or ‘stop’ or anything other than the words ‘Málaga – Fuengirola’! That’s perfectly obvious!

Okay, so maybe I’m being a bit harsh. All I knew from the map was that it was on a certain block. No one bothered to tell me it was underground or that the other end of the line was Fuengirola. AAANWAY the point is that I found it. I found it, I went down, bought a ticket from the automagic ticket machine, and boarded the train, all without misstep or misunderstanding or mistranslation. Therefore I was pleased.

While waiting for the train I ate the bocadillo that the Sra. had packed for my lunch (since she knew ahead of time that I wouldn’t be home to eat). A bocadillo is a type of sandwich, I guess, kind of like an understuffed po-boy. The mayonnaise was homemade though so that totally makes up for the one slice of ham on there, ha ha. Stupid American! I expect a TON OF MEAT and NO VEGETABLES!

I did not have fruit for dessert. I had already eaten all of the fruit she packed while I was walking to the train station. Instead for dessert I ate a small pack of chocolate-chip-and-hazelnut cookies that I bought yesterday at the grocery store. They weren’t anything to write home about – yet here I am writing home about them.

The train station was just like every underground train station I’ve ever used whether in Paris or Portland – you can feel the air shift before you can hear the train coming. It’s a fantastic feeling. I love it. It’s like some sort of physical precognition.

The whole train ride out something was bugging me about the landscape. I finally figured out that it was because there are so many run-down buildings out there, and so much graffiti, and the natural flora here is rather scrubby desert stuff, and overall parts of the view gave off a post-apocalyptic vibe. It was very strange. Apparently no one cleans up after building projects in this area because every empty lot was filled with construction trash. I should mention at this point that this was only in the unpopulated areas between Málaga and Torremolinos, not every inch of the trip. Regardless, it felt like … I dunno. Like the desert version of 28 Days Later. I found myself tensing up, waiting to see a rush of zombies running towards the Food Train.

I’m going to make this bit about Torremolinos short, and I’m not typing out the name of the city again for a while, thanks very much. It’s a super-touristy town and I arrived just as every shop shut down for siesta, so I ended up there with nothing but time on my hands and a bunch of closed-down stores. Okay, so not everything closed down, no, I got to visit some discount clothing stores while looking for sunglasses (two weeks now! two weeks I have not had sunglasses! I am entirely too picky) and then I walked through that … what do you call that area where people’s cremains are stored? Anyway, I walked through there. It was beautiful, and I’m not being sarcastic or creepy or something. Everyone (especially Isabel) seemed so loved. And sunny. And peaceful.

I looked over the beach, though I did not go all the way down, because I had no reason to. I wasn’t there to swim! I was there on a MISSION. The mission was to force myself to start conversations with strangers under the pretense of looking for the bar where Granddad used to hang out. This was made more complicated by (what I understand to have been) the name of the bar – Dad’s Bar. You know Spanish doesn’t work like that, right, no apostrophes to show possession? So first off we have the name of the place being a word in English, then we have an unfamiliar grammatical construction … this is not an easy thing to pass along without simply writing it down, which is what I ended up doing. The universal response went like this, “You realize this is Torremolinos, right? And that there are about 10 bars within arm’s reach of where we’re standing, right? And that the bars change name and ownership all the time, right?” meaning “What the heck do you think you’re trying to accomplish? This a fool’s errand.”

So I went and sat and ate dulce de leche-flavored ice cream (so good) while I waited for the used bookstore to open back up. They claim to be the largest selection of used books in all of Andalucía. If that’s true, then this place is in bad shape. It was pretty small, to be polite. Still, the lady working there was amazingly helpful and I ended up finding two books in English that I wanted to read, and so that’s good.

Today’s purchases: 3 euro of tourist-priced ice-cream (expensive!) and 5 euro of used books (not as expensive!)

Oh, and 2 euro 70 worth of train ticket.

So that’s it, basically. I left that city thinking that while my day hadn’t been a complete waste of time I certainly wasn’t going to find this place by asking around, especially since it’s been what, 16 years since Granddad was alive and I don’t even know what neighborhood the bar was in.

So I came back home and uploaded some pictures and wrote a bunch of emails and ate my supper (one cucumber, one Fuji apple, and a little hunk of cheese) and then dessert (a lazo, another wonderful pastry) …

… did I write about pastries? The one I got the other day was an ensaimada which looks not entirely unlike a cinnamon roll but it’s a light puffy pastry kind of like a croissant. It is topped with powdered sugar. It is wonderful. Today’s pastry was a lazo, which means ‘link’ if you will, and has the shape of a pretzel. It as well is a multi-layer pastry which in parts had a very very very thin layer of a cream or cream cheese-like substance, and was topped with coconut shavings. I can’t find a good picture of a lazo online and something happened to mine before I could photograph it.


Now I want more pastries.

And to sleep! I want to sleep! So goodnight!

2 Comments so far
Leave a comment

Enjoyed this one too!
I’m always so excited to read the next chapter in your Spanish adventure.

Comment by Kyla

I, too, am enjoying your posts, even though I don’t comment every day. I’m so happy for you to have this experience, and very glad that you’re sharing it this way with all of us back here!

Comment by Kelly Piepmeier

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *