Friday, August 2, 2019

Malaga waited for me

Trying to describe my Friday in Malaga with my friend Cristóbal Navas Pérez and meeting his family to later explore the city in the sun was just one of the highlights of my day.  Walking nearly 16,000 steps was another as we left from their home to San Pablo Church where my great grandmother Rosa and her son, my grandfather Ben Ruiz was baptized and then up and down too many streets to count and several other churches.

 I am beyond words.  When Cristóbal asked if I’d like to stop at the Aranda Café for chocolate and churros, I grinned.  I hadn’t eaten any of these scrumptious delights yet and I was ready.  The chocolate was very hot and thick, almost like chocolate pudding.  The churros were also hot (quema) and the plate was heaped full.  We groaned aloud in appreciation with every bite.

When he and his wife Teresa, who is called Tere, led me and Cristóbal, Jr. Toward the Mercado, my eyes didn’t stop moving.  There were rows and rows of fresh fish stalls, nuts, fruit, vegetables and more fish.  It was crowded and I feared getting lost in the rush as so many people rushed to get fish with heads intact, chorizo, squid and...I can’t get enough description words to do the market justice, so I’ll add photos.  Amazing.

We sat with Pablo Picasso in the Plaza Merced, looked in shop windows, stared at beautiful balconies and trailing flowers that bloomed their pretty heads off around me.  We dodged motor bikes and smart cars, Fiats, more motor bikes and other people.  I saw women in slinky jumpers with their bare feet slid into 4”-5” heeled sandals, children wearing clothes that could have been on the front of a modeling catalog and women my age in dresses like mine, still holding their own regardless of age or shape.  It was a beautiful sight in all directions.  When I watched an older couple walking across Calle Larios, a beautiful pedestrian area that is tiled and very wide...holding hands and walking along as if they had all the time in the world, my heart crunched.  And I smiled.  It was so sweet.

By the time my feet were saying “enough already,” we crossed over from the main city area to the Paseo Marítimo Antonio Banderas toward the Litoral Pacífica chiringuito.  I immediately chucked my sandals and pushed my feet into the sand under the table.  Ah, lovely.  Cristóbal arrived a few minutes afterward with his mother Antonia holding his arm.  By then, the smell of grilled fish permeated the sea air.  I was stunned to see all the various dishes that the servers brought to our table.  Calimari - whole - was on a platter from the fires in the little boat filled with hot coals and burning olive wood.  And then, squid, shark, rosada fish, boquerones and a huge green salad served family style.  Lots of bottled water.  And a tinto de verano for me and cerveza for the others.

By the time Cristóbal drove me home, I admit I was exhausted.  But, oh, a beautiful day.  It is a sweet feeling to know that both Cristóbal and Miguel Alba both tell me repeatedly that if I ever need help with anything, that I must call them.  Each of these good men are in towns on each side of my little town of La Cala and I am again: blessed.

Tomorrow, I will go to a Celtic music concert with Lyn in a hilltop town called Mijas, where years ago the only transportation was with burros.  And they are still there.

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