In Barcelona, a hotel clerk responds to my Sunday request to fix a broken door with: “I’m sure it didn’t happen by itself” and “we’ll call someone to fix it on Monday”. In Benidorm, I ask a bus driver if this bus route goes near the train station and he tells me that I should have found out that information before touring and that he wasn’t there for conversation. At the Picasso museum in Barcelona, the guard yells at me to move, that I am blocking the way. I had stopped to ask one of the attendants a question.
Thank goodness that there are many interesting and lovely people to balance this.
The flamenco dancers in a little club in Grenada dance their hearts out for our small group.Guitarists on the streets of Madrid and Barcelona lend a joyful sound to the crowded and jostling streets.
At our small hotel, Leuca, in Alicante, the head waiter and his wife proudly show off the paella they made for us. He has worked at the same hotel for over 25 years and is still doing an energetic and flawless job of serving customers. In old town Alicante, the ladies sitting in the square and doing their embroidery are happy to show us their work and describe how it is done.
In Valencia, an elderly woman sells garlic on the streets, ignoring the carefree young tourists happily having their photos taken.
Another elderly women, in Granada outside the venue where the Flamenco dancers have their show, sells castanets and obliges with a demonstration in order to boost sales. Perhaps she used to dance inside. Now she sells outdoors.
A teacher whose summer job it is to teach Spanish to North Americans keeps doing a good job even when faced with disinterested students.
The people watching that gave me the greatest pleasure was at the beach destination at Avenida de Benidorm. When the sun goes down, people congregate on the long paseo along the beach. Families, couples, friends amble slowly and salute acquaintances. Some sit at one of the many tables for a drink and tapas; others stand and just enjoy the evening.
I enjoyed watching this charming display of neighbourhood, contentment and comraderie.
Maybe this will be enough incentive for me to return one day.