Marbell-ous

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It is nearing the end of day two here at the Club Marbella Crown Resorts here in this small town (of the same name) near Malaga, Spain. What an excellent decision to leave this leg of the trip for last, since for the past week we’ve been commuting, sightseeing, and sleeping very little. These past few days, however, have consisted of eating, having a siesta, heading to Dani’s kiddie pool, eating, having a siesta, and so on. We are quite relaxed to say the least.  Perhaps a little too relaxed, as my belly jiggles and giggles and I can barely get up a few flights of stairs without panting (it’s also quite hot, teehee).  There is no AC in this apartment and the temperatures reach 30 degrees, so perhaps that’s why we’ve been really sluggish. Even Dani has been sleeping uninterrupted and for long stretches at a time (hope I didn’t jinx that).
Up until this afternoon, we’d eaten at the on-site restaurant and at a few places down the hill from our resort, and then we took the resort shuttle bus down to the supermarket and did some grocery shopping. It’s nice to have a fully-equipped apartment, complete with kitchen, washing machine, two bedrooms, and full bathrooms. The only thing lacking is a dryer, but there are is a communal drying facility somewhere onsite. In an effort to save a few bucks, the environment, and the strenuous task of hauling bags of wet laundry goodness-knows-where, we’ve been hanging our clothes out on the drying rack on the balcony. Now, the clothes don’t smell Bouncy fresh; rather, they barely smell like anything at all, and they are clean. Smelling of fresh florals doesn’t matter much anyway, since five minutes out the door, you’re damp from sweat and not noticing nor caring how greasy your skin is.  I’m breaking out in pimples on the left side of my face, dammit.
We don’t have much planned tomorrow (Tuesday) other than heading to the nearby Cabopino beach which costs 2 Euros return, payable to the resort shuttle bus driver. I’d also like to check out some of the sister resorts, of which there are four, since one apparently has a really cool playground that Dani should enjoy. She’s the only child I’ve seen using the playground here, and it’s so hot that her juicy butt sticks to the slide, so it’s not very fun at all. There’s also a shopping centre I want to visit, though my spending  urges haven’t been too great throughout this trip. Just having enough energy to see what we need to see and having full and content bellies at the end of the day is enough reward for me.
On Wednesday, we have a day trip to Gibraltar in the United Kingdom, for which I have a few reservations.  All over the news and as forewarned by the PR representative at orientation this morning, Spain and Britain continue a 300-year-old war over ownership of the Rock, and are slowing down border crossings with extremely long checks and waiting times. If driving, we were told to park vehicles on the Spanish side of the bridge and just walk over. We’re taking a guided tour, so I can only hope and pray we make it across in a seamless fashion for my sweet, impatient little Dani’s sake.
Thursday is our full-day excursion to Tangier, Morocco, for a tour through the markets, lunch and mint tea, and perhaps even a camel ride.  For both trips, we are being picked up at our hotel via air-conditioned coach (cue heavenly music), so we just have to sit back and enjoy the scenic ride. We booked both trips with Viator along with our previous excursions (see Paris post) because they had seemingly good reviews and are well-known.
For some off-topic news, we’ve had a breakthrough with Dani, who pulls at her diaper and says “yes” when we ask if she’s “poo-pooed.”  I like to always keep the bathroom door open when I go, don’t ask why (it’s just ’cause), and she likes to walk in and say “poo poo” and laugh  whenever I’m using the bowl.  When we return home (noooooo!!!) someone’s going to start potty training!
 Gosh, how I love this munchkin. Some of the locals fell in love with her when we passed by them in the street, and whenever there are other youngsters in the pool, they go up and talk to her and instantly become BFFs. Life in Spain is just amazing.
Wifi is limited here, so the next time I post might be a few days. Thank you for reading, wherever in the world you are!
X’s and O’s

Sad Siesta

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It is now Friday evening. I kid you not, all we’d done in Spain for the first 3 days was sleep, eat, and wade in a pool.  This evening we visited a local pub for pizza and tapas- the tapas, which was one dish of curry and chickpeas, and another of pork stew, both with bread, was very tasty indeed.  The pizzas, however, were a soggy, mushy disappointment which gave me almost immediate tummy aches. I didn’t send anything back, however, due to fear they’d spit something nasty in the next attempt and/or give us bad vibes. I don’t dare show my rudey-tudes in foreign land unless absolutely necessary. I didn’t tip instead, though I would’ve, had I anything other than two loonies in my wallet.  Man, I’m so tough.

 Our Gibraltar trip, which I mentioned in the previous post, was amazing, and yesterday, Thursday, we visited a beautiful place called Tangier, Morocco.

The bus picked us up at our door again, and after another 1:15 ride (similar to the travel to the Gibraltar/Spain border), we arrived at the port. There, we boarded a ferry which had us in Tangier, the gateway city of North Africa and Europe, a little more than an hour later.
Just an hour away, but a world’s difference. It seemed like most of the walkways were paved in marble. The gated and mosque-shaped doorways reminded me of something I’d seen in Aladdin. And the people were very friendly, and even odourless, quite unlike the Parisiens who, I swear, stunk up entire subway cars first thing in the morning!  Another unmistakeable stench of Paris was of urine in the Metro, and there were no such offensive odours in Tangier, at least that I’ve quickly noticed.
Stuck to our tour guide and group, we wound through the tightly-knit streets, with a history lesson or two along the way. We visited a snake charmer but, after half a dozen others ran in and quickly clogged the lineup, ran out of time and I didn’t get a chance to hold the snake and take a picture with it 😦
Onwards we went, shortly arriving at a restaurant for lunch. There were musicians playing in one corner. We had a starter of soup (similar to tomato soup without the tomatoes, thank goodness), two meat skewers, couscous and chicken (tasted like a Filipino dish called Afritada, if you ask me), a sticky, floury, sesame-covered dessert that I didn’t care much for, and mint tea (didn’t care much for that either, because it tasted like warm toothpaste water). All in all, I enjoyed my lunch and finished every bite because, as those who know me personally are aware, I hate to waste food!
We continued along, visiting a shop selling rugs of every size along with wooden wares, wonderful marble chests, and handmade jewellery. One day I’d like to return and furnish my home with at least three or four of these beautiful items, including one small rug, but for now they’d be waaaay too expensive to ship home on my budget.
Our second last stop was to an aesthetics shop (I don’t know what the proper term is), where a very informed man taught us of the many oils, herbs, and lotions which were made of local ingredients (such as rose petals, saffron, mint, etc.). I bought some rose petal oil for my under-eye bags (it will perform miracles if these horrid things go away) and some crystals you can use to freshen your underarms AND your clothing, which smell amazing and seem to be keeping the odour away.  I realize how horrible and chemical-laden North American beauty products really are!  Ah well, what can you do, right? Certainly not fly to Tangier for the good stuff every week!
Our final stop was at the marketplace, where we had half an hour to bargain for small souvenirs. Afterwards, we got back on the bus and drove to the seaside where we could ride the camels (Dani was asleep in our laps and John has severe allergies, so we passed) and then to Hercules’ cave to take photos (Dani was still sleeping, so we passed on that, too).  Then we headed back to the ferry, bus, and were home by 6:30 pm, making it a 12 hour trip and worth every damn cent!
As I type, it is Saturday morning, and our last full day in Spain. I woke up extremely sad, and as I look over our pictures, Rome seems to have been an eternity ago and worlds away.  I wish we could hit rewind and start it all over again, even with all the hitches, exhaustion, and stressful beginnings.
We head to the beach shortly, our first time, since we didn’t get there earlier this week as planned. Then tomorrow afternoon we fly to Dusseldorf, Germany, for one last overnight hurrah before we head to Toronto on Monday morning.
Sad, sad indeed. (insert crying here).
And damn you, soggy pizza. My stomach hurts.