Friday 05 April 2013

When I considered all the things I might get up to in Spain it is true that I did think some things would be out of my comfort zone, i.e. being normal, not pulling my face at everything, not getting annoyed at people talking about things that weren’t things I wanted to talk about. I didn’t think one of the things would be saving the life of a septuagenarian South African.

Did I save her life? Well when I was helping her reverse along a mountain path I told her ‘left a bit’ when she needed to go a bit left to prevent her Land Rover from going over the edge and falling to her (possibly racist) life.

I don’t get all these people wanting to live in remote Spanish villas. I am sure it seems like positive after positive when you can’t hear your neighbours play their music (Kim Wilde perhaps) too loudly or whatever other advantages there are but it doesn’t half seem a bit inconvenient when you want to do absolutely anything that involves not just being at the villa. Just to be clear, if anyone out there is planning to gift me a remote Spanish villa: don’t.

It is worth a brief flashback at this time: we were relying on this woman’s kindness because the hire car didn’t start. So, despite leaving the villa in plenty of time we were soon behind schedule by the time we reached the villa’s drive. Cue phone calls to hire car agencies, villa owner, ex-pats to try and solve the problem of who could be the lead in an Andrew Lloyd-Webber musical…no wait that was another thing, this was how to solve the problem of a car not working and a working car being needed to get transport people from one destination to another.

I need to say that the woman never said or did anything to remotely suggest she was racist – other than admit/tell us she was South African. In fact, all joking aside (yes – they were jokes), she kind of restored my dwindling faith in the human race. Not knowing us from Adam she drove from her house, got blocked by a gate, walked quite a distance on a country path despite having an injured foot and then drove us to a nearby town trying to find a taxi.

I think my perverse little brain was even more grateful for her help because it was ultimately futile. It was pretty clear from the moment that she arrived that we wouldn’t be making the flight. It was very clear after we spent about 25 minutes reversing 19 ft that we weren’t going to make it. When she said she hadn’t actually made any contact with the sole taxi driver, which we had misunderstood she had, it was nails in the coffin time for us not getting the plane.

Then she rang a lot of people for us. What a woman. This was her Friday evening: driving a particularly handsome man in his mid-30s with his partner around some Spanish hill town and trying to get them a taxi. But it was too much kindness for me to take and we insisted she stop trying to help us. So, we bade her farewell and thanked her outside the meat shop (not a euphemism) that was home to the town’s only taxi driver.

These Spanish towns love shops with big bits of meat hanging all over the place. I like other cultures and don’t like to think that because we do one thing in England it is the best way to do things. But, I like my meat in meal sized portions – generally sold on a polystyrene tray with a wrapping of cling-film around it.

I found a hotel with another nice person – the human race has quite a lot of them if you reach out. He didn’t speak much English; he spoke enough English to understand that I didn’t speak enough Spanish to have even understood him saying (in Spanish) that he didn’t speak much English. He rang the town’s only taxi driver who we had earlier failed to contact via our South African friend and he told us that he could come and get us. He would take us for 65 Euros! What a decent price for a 90 minute journey, and thus 3 hour round trip for him. No…the idiot hotelier was talking about Granada Airport. It would be 140 Euros to Malaga. Given that it was 95% certain we would not be making our check-in, this seemed like a lot of money.

We ended up getting a flight to London rather than stay on the Airport floor until the morning. The day ended with me flying over the Atlantic ocean, probably watching Sour Grapes. It has taken me a while to get around to watching this Larry David film. It’s not so great. Unsurprisingly, though, it has some amazing bits because it was written by Larry David. I think my favourite bit was when one character explained why he wanted something doing to someone else and they said that there was another convenient reason for the thing being done, to which the character asked, “there doesn’t have to be only one reason to do something, why do people always make out like there has to be only one reason for things to happen?”

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