Capobino Camping near Malaga and Marbella
Within 5 minutes of meeting D, my friend from the crazy days of the early 00’s, I had a beer in my hand and I could feel the sunshine on the back of my neck. Just getting out of the flat/work/family environment felt good.
D hadn’t finished his planned cleaning regime of the motorhome, so we had a beer whilst we gave the place a good hoover and clean.
The camping place is interesting. I’ve stayed on sites in Wales and England for holidays and festivals, so it’s not a fully new experience. It looks pretty similar to the layout of the ones at the Lakes but with the Spanish feel of terracotta walls and ornate orange chimneys, sunshine and Spanish staff. Feels good driving in.
We stop up to fill with water and it starts sinking in, I’m on holiday!
Finally got here, nothing bad happened, woohoo!
It felt like a wave of sunshine had just washed over me, we were only in the water filling bit of the park but I could’ve just stayed there in that moment for a lot longer.
The amenities are pretty well thought out and there are blocks for toilets and showers every so often.
So, we park up in a spot under a tree near the swimming pool. To me it looks okay but the next door neighbour says all the best places are taken.
It dawns on me that it’s actually not very warm when you’re not in the sun. But it’s not rainy England surrounded by grim, unfriendly people…well…hmm…the Spanish people I meet are friendly. I try, as always in another country, to speak in pidgeon whatever, in this case Spanish.
Lo siento amiga, mi espanol es no bueno pero quiero…cereale?
I usually then look pleadingly at whoever I’m trying to communicate with and big smile. This works, all over the world in my experience. What doesn’t work is staring at the person and talking loudly in English/ German/ Dutch etc…
On my little walks to find where stuff is. D is extremely busy and stressed about his business, constantly rushing off, talking at 100 mph and generally looking like he needs a holiday. Ironic…
Anyways, on my little walks, as I started to say…I notice flags, lots of flags. I’m reminded of Solfest last year near the Lake District, people put up massive poles with their groups flags, so people could navigate by looking for them.
One looks Welsh dragon then one Aston Villa. Another is the St George’s cross for England plus a few others. Feels sort of tribal.
Our next door neighbours are nice and friendly, Tina and Andy.
Tina is transgender post op and looks very pretty, a chatty couple, both bikers with high powered machines. A new Triumph 1200 and a new Suzuki, both look amazing like the sort of things that would kill me in less than 5 minutes! I love bikes but am dangerous on anything over a twist and go scooter. I have tried off roading and come off a few times.
I’ve ridden through Hanoi, Luang Prabang, bits of Cambodia and China but not in Europe.
I don’t think my reaction times are good enough for the speed and state of the roads in the UK. Plus my sister works in Emergency medicine and has told me lots of times of her own personal experiences of trying to fix people who have been in road traffic accidents on motorbikes. It makes for emotional listening and doesn’t enthuse me with any incentive to ride on the roads in Europe. By the time I would see a rock or pothole I think I would be flying off the thing into a terracotta wall or chimney!
Anyways, the neighbours are nice. I learn within 3 minutes of meeting Tina that she is trans post op. She tells me a bit about her life. As a man, she worked for a large haulage company but when she told them of her choice to change gender, she was subjected to abuse and scorn.
We chatted about how some companies just pay lip service to Equality and Diversity policies, how when push comes to shove, sometimes literally, some places are just too old school/ colonial in their approach to staff management.
What with all these new fangled ideas and all! We both laugh about this, as we seem to have both experienced farcical procedural bureaucracy that keeps inspectors happy who seem to focus on the minutiae of paperwork rather than actually achieving objectives and “getting the job done!”
On a serious note, TIna tells me about how depressed she felt during the whole process of tribunal etc and how she was glad they settled out of court. She is now mortgage free!
I chat with her for a while and ask how D, my friend, has been doing.
Well, he’s always very busy talking about business, rushing here and there. We never see him much, we’ve asked him to quiz nights and stuff but he always says he’s too busy…
Hmm… we talk for a little while longer, swap some info and go our separate smiling ways.
So, when D gets back from another light speed trip to do something connected with his trailer/ motorbike/ business we make a plan to go to meet his dad, B, who lives in the area, for a slap up Sunday lunch at a special fish restaurant.
Quick, quick, D shouts, we’re going to be late!
Are we on a schedule? I reply, It’s Sunday lunchtime…
We have to meet him by twenty minutes past two! D says.
It’s half past one.
So, how long does it take to get there? I ask.
About an hour! We’re going to be late! Come on!
Okay, let’s go! I don’t like being rushed at the best of times but we’re gonna be having some local, well cooked food. I love this idea.
We’re ready to go in minutes. As we leave I shout to Tina, we’re escaping, finally!
We leave the park, like Max and Paddy on a road trip. New horizons!
The cab is comfortable and spacious with a wide field of view, it’s a Hymer 7.5 tonne Camp motorhome.
D tells me as we’re driving that Marbella is full of coke head and strippers. Hmm…not really what I was looking forward to but am sure the restaurant will be worth it.
The motorhome reminds me of the one my folks had when my sister and I were kids.
We used to go all over Europe in a similar van, mum, dad and the kids. I remember my we would complain all the time and swear we would never get in one again after numerous holidays driving through France, Spain and England in the 1970’s and 1980’s.
Mum complaining to dad that we were lost. Endless driving in a hot box, essentially.
Are we there yet? Are we there yet? I want an ice cream!
My mum is a great fruit lover and I remember being mortally embarrassed when she used to shout Stop! to my dad.
We would then hide behind the curtains as my mum would run out of the van and climb a fruit tree or vine picking exotic berries/ fruits or anything really she was interested in. Bless her!
Once a coach load of English tourists stopped opposite us, midway through my mum’s latest forage.
Most laughed but some shouted over.
More adolescent embarrassment, Oh God! Why can’t we just have a normal family and go on normal holidays like all our mates?
This particular time some of the tourists were patients of my parents! My mum had been recognised climbing up a fruit tree, they were the ones shouting over!
Hey, Dr! What are you doing? Getting a bit of exercise?
Oh how embarrassing!
The intensity of childhood and adolescent embarrassment!
Am smiling as I write this but remember actually sweating during this sequence of events and wanting to crawl under the chassis for weeks.
I didn’t recount this to D as he was getting increasingly more stressed about meeting B, his dad.
B had given very vague directions and not the actual name of the restaurant.
Hmm…I thought, this sounds familiar…Get ready for a family argument, I thought…
D was getting progressively more agitated until we hit a building with the side awning after B had told us we were going the wrong way down an extremely narrow street over the phone.
Not impressed. D was close to exploding with expletives and curses at his dad, B.
Not much damage was done but D was on the point of giving up on the rendezvous. We gave it one last shot and ended up parked up behind the seafront in a place called Sabinillas near Marbella.
As we didn’t know where we were to meet B, we walked up and down the seafront a couple of times.
Erm, D, did your dad tell you the name of the restaurant?
No!… Well, he probably did when I was trying to drive through those narrow streets. How should I know?!
So, how do we know where to go?
Well, he said he’d see us! Replied D.
I thought, maybe my family is not that different from everybody else’s.
We met B, the dad, finally at a place called Buen Comider (I think that’s what it’s called) which was a little cafe on the seafront promenade.
Possibly, the worst service of any place I’ve been to in recent years. 20 minutes before we managed to get a beer! It wasn’t even full.
After D had berated B about his vagueness and generally slap dash approach to life, we looked at the menu.
Hmm…fish and chips…not exactly the special fish restaurant we had been envisioning.
I know I was thinking about scallops, oysters, lobster, crab, anchovies, sardines…mmm… my mouth is watering just writing about them! Not sure what D had been wanting but it wasn’t on the menu…
No…it was basically, patatas fritas with fish. I ordered the fried anchovies, they ordered the prawns pill pil. I had one of D’s prawns, B wouldn’t share and mine never came.
We moved on.
The next place was nicer, ended up with a steak salad.
There were more words between D and B, I kept quiet…have learned to be better at keeping quiet in recent years…
Anyways, we part company with B.
On the way home we stop at El Rancho Grill midway between Malaga and Marbella. The service is good, the food is nice and the drinks are a little too free flowing. We are obviously English, so the waiter gives us more and more alcohol.
I get a bit worried then as D is driving home…
Anyways, a very expensive meal was had and we made it home safely.
I made a point to remember to tell D about drinking during this trip. To do it after we park up…which we do just as a police car turns in behind us.
Second day in Spain done!