We were on the coast for an evening out last night, for a whole host of reasons I won’t go into right now.
It was a strangely disturbing evening. The town we were in is smack dab in the middle of the infamous Costa del Sol, in all its less than wonderful glory. A beachside town, it is full of English and Irish bars, tatty cafes, pizza joints and tour group hotels. I find that sort of thing profoundly depressing – you could be absolutely anywhere. You would have no idea you were in Spain, and there were few Spanish around, other than the ones serving you your beer.
And the poor business owners – how must they be coping in this economic downturn!? You just know that many of these places will not survive – too many bars and cafes serving too few people. You can almost smell the desperation mixed in with the diesel fumes.
And then on to the tour group hotel. There was nothing wrong with the place – perfectly clean and tidy, and obviously doing a good job of doing what they do. But, again – full of white-haired English people having their beer or g&t on the terrace. Most of them sunburned, but obviously enjoying their holiday in the sun.
It appeared that the hotel was probably half-board, serving breakfast and dinner as part of the tourist plan. So most in the hotel will not even get out to sample the local fare (if you can even find a Spanish restaurant). Most will go on the occasional day out arranged by the hotel. Few will even talk to anyone outside the tour group the whole 2 weeks they are there.
And then the entertainment. Also included in the price of the vacation, there were 2 entertainment rooms, one upstairs and one in the basement. Both duos were giving it their all – very professional, and full of energy. The upstairs group – 30 somethings singing and dancing to big band tunes. The downstairs duo – 50 somethings singing and dancing to rock and roll. What an incredibly hard way to make a living.
It was so good to get back to to our mountain. To what at least feels like real life, amongst people enjoying simple pleasures. I wouldn’t trade it for all the sunburns in the world.