Arrival a Espana

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After twenty hours of travelling, we are greeted by Markus at the gate in Malaga, Spain with a “Finally you’re here!”. It was sweet to watch how happy Shannon was to see his best friend after two years apart. I was expecting to have to go thru customs but now that Europe is a big union, you only have to do it once. Yes, I was disappointed to get denied yet another passport stamp, but at least going thru customs on our four hour Frankfurt layover took all of five minutes and we were asked no questions at all. Alas, again I have one stamp in a new passport and I hope that the next trip I take will be soon enough that the customs official doesn’t look at me and say “You don’t get out much, do you?” like the one in the British Virgin Islands did.

It was 4:30 in the afternoon and it felt like morning to me, I was ready for the day! Shannon, however, was very tired as neither of us were able to sleep at all on either of our flights, or during layover. Markus drove us to Marbella in the jeep with the back window open, my hair was flying all over the place and I was smiling ear to ear to finally be in Europe. Fifteen minutes into our drive, Shanny is animated and also grinning wildly. The start of the end of jet lag!
After driving on the costal freeway and looking at the Mediterranean Sea for my first time, we turned up the hill and navigated narrow, twisty, curvy side streets with white houses, palm trees (just like in California), and tall green hedges that provide a lovely genteel property deliniation. We drive all the way to the end of the street and there was the gate of the house. Markus honked and the dog next door barked and then Marie greeted us with champagne and her big beautiful smile. We drank our champagne in the salt water pool as we caught up and continued smiling and laughing.

The afternoon faded slowly and while we settled ourselves into our rooms our wonderful hosts made us a delicious Spanish dinner. There were two kinds of sauteed peppers: pimientos julienned and sauteed are much like our bell peppers and pimientos de padron are typically sauteed whole, a lovely dark green pepper about the size of a jalepeno and slightly bitter rather than spicy. There was also boquerones, a Spanish sardine in olive oil and garlic. I’ve not been exposed to the “little fish” very much and have had an aversion in the past, mostly because of that cartoon can with the key that rolls back the top. These, however, are delicious and delicate and lovely on sliced baguette with tomato. And the piece de resistance was a whole fish baked in salt. Markus put three or four cups of very coarse sea salt in the pan, put the fish on top and then covered it in salt to bake for 30 min or so. Holy yum. I’m excited to get to know this Spanish delicacy very well.
In effort to make sure we weren’t “jet laggers,” Markie and Marie plied us with mucho alcohol. In the jeep coming from the airport, I was practicing saying “Mi gustaria una cupa de sangria” (I would like a glass of sangria) so after the champange was finito, Marcus offered us tinto verano, a quick sangria made with red wine and lemon soda and served over ice that is muy buen. Then there was a delicioso, fruity and floral sauvignon blanc with dinner and finally, when the wine was gone and the table cleared, gin and tonics.
We talked about American politics and television, made plans for the week, Markus and Shannon teased each other while Marie and I laughed, Shannon lost a bet because he was the last into the pool and then we walked to the beach and I swam in the lovely Mediterranean Sea for the first time. We made it without sleeping until 4 or 5am and all awoke just after 11am badly in need of water and advil but ready to start the day – kein jet lag! Mission accomplished!

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