Archive | November 2012

Malaga in Black and White

Sometimes, there really isn’t much to tell about our life. Kids go to school every day, homework has to be done, everyday life really isn’t very different from day to day. We don’t get out of the city much, so this is what we see in a typical day.

Arco Malaga ByN

This central archway is famous in Malaga and everyone who lives here probably recognizes it.

Plaza Constitucion Malaga

This is the heart of Malaga, its wide and well-known Plaza de la Constitución, at the end of calle Larios.

Malaga Street

Malaga by night is so special, mysterious and enchanting.

Calle Larios Malaga

I think this photo really looks old, as if it were taken 50 years ago or so. As if it formed a part of the historical archives.

Old Malaga

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Torre del Mar Curiosities

A few days ago we decided to take off again, on another short day trip nearby. We figured it was time we finally discovered the lands…… East of Malaga! I wanted to go to Torrox, but it rained for days on end, never affording us the occasion to explore that picturesque village under clear blue skies (which lend themselves so much better to taking bright, jazzy photos), so one fine, rainy day we decided we’d have to see Torre del Mar.

Bienvenidos a Torre del Mar

Now, that isn’t because Torre del Mar is particularly beautiful, nor is it full of monuments. But grey skies don’t encourage photography very much, and it’s a fairly large town which I fancy any self-respecting resident of Malaga should get to know at some point in his life. Right?

So we hopped a bus to Torre del Mar and wandered about a bit. We didn’t do a lot, and it wasn’t an exciting visit, and there wasn’t a whole lot to see. Sorry if this disappoints loyal residents who happen to be crazy about the town, but we didn’t find a whole lot to see. Perhaps if we had gone out to the countryside instead……

So instead of posting gorgeous, drop-dead portraits with incredible landscapes, I thought I’d just upload a selection of the most curious items that we happened to bump into.

Baby Train

This little baby train is just perfect for babies, which explains why my youngest son was the one who spotted it, I suppose. It’s stuck onto a lone pole in the middle of the beach, we’re not too sure why, but we thought it was cute.

Parrots in Torre del Mar

Parrots up a tree.

Biodramina

This is my eldest, still suffering from the ravages of Biodramina (medicine for people who get sick on buses and cars).

Casa Miguel Torre del Mar

Truth is, the beach looks so forlorn outside of tourist season, all alone in the rain with its beach bars all abandoned. Bet the food was yummy during the summertime, though.

Monument in Torre del MarMonument to the Dead Torre del Mar

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The plaque reads, “Homenaje a todas las víctimas de la violencia” (homage to all the victims of violence).

We applaud the initiative, however it spurred up a rousing conversation with my son, who wanted to know just exactly what constituted a victim of violence. For example, if you were blown up by a bomb, would that qualify you to become a victim of violence? What if someone murdered you? Could kids be victims of violence too, or did it only apply to soldiers? Are there victims of violence in

countries that are at peace, or do they only exist in war zones? And what happens in the case of a car accident? If a car ploughed aggressively into yours, would that turn you into a victim of violence?

And since we were on the subject, why did the victims of violence need a homage anyways?

Sheesh, I wonder where kids get all their ideas from!

El Meon Torre del MarPlaya Torre del Mar

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Midnight… And All Is Well

Today it’s been raining and raining and raining all day. I LOVE rain, so I’m a happy camper!

However, what do you do on a Friday night after it’s been raining all day?

You take your kids to Taco Bell, of course!

Taco Bell Malaga

Fancy finding a Taco Bell here in Andalucía. Well, I love Mexican food and even though this clearly isn’t the authentic real deal, it’s still pretty yummy. Fancy planting a Taco Bell in one of those picturesque historic buildings in downtown Malaga, though.

River Malaga

And what do you do after dinner?

Flowers on the Bridge in Malaga

Well, since my life isn’t exactly comparable to James Bonds’, we can conform ourselves to a quiet stroll.

Lights on the River in Malaga

Night Lights in Malaga

We can see the river is quite swollen up after the rain.

Paseo by the River Malaga

I would’ve liked to delight you by saying that my kids had a wild time goofing off on our stroll, but…… they’re just not that kinda kids! We had a nice tête-à-tête however. Something about this fresh, rain-washed night air seems to loosen their tongues, so that they speak about what’s on their minds.

Chapel in Malaga

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Andalucía cuatro de la tarde

Today I thought I’d work on the “musings” part of being a single mama in Spain, rather than the “adventures” part. What do I think are the pros and cons of being a single mama in today’s economy in Spain?

Well, Andalucía, the southernmost region of Spain, is definitely not the place to be in these times if your aim is to become rich and have a prospering career, with unemployment over 26% (and depending on which segment of the population you belong to, could be over 60% as pretty much the only employable people these days are single, childless men with a great professional training), a majority of businesses and jobs reserved for “family” and businesses going bankrupt left and right (like the company that I was working for).

So why DO I keep hanging on here and struggling away, instead of seeking out the “greener pastures” up north in Barcelona or Madrid, or even, for that matter, in another European country? Well, I do debate that myself, and sometimes I wonder whether I shouldn’t just pack up and head on north.

So, let’s see what I consider the pros and cons of continuing to live here:

Cons (or why life is so tough here in Andalucía):

  • obviously, just about all the cons will be related to money, since that is what appears to be most lacking in this part of the world
  • the first major con, of course, is the absolute torpidity which is the act of trying to find a job here, trying to secure any kind of employment, even if only the most unstable, temporary of temporary or contract positions, is like trying to wade through treacle
  • the salaries here, which graze on the minimum wage in virtually any and every field or profession, unless you happen to be a highly qualified CEO, doctor or lawyer
  • it’s hard to get ahead as well, both professionally and personally, if you don’t have family or know a lot of people here, when you come right down to it, nepotism is still pretty alive and well in these parts
  • the social life, people are very friendly, but it’s hard to enter into the real “inner circles” if you don’t have some sort of family base around here, I myself have loads of acquaintances and people I might stop in the street and chat with, but I have virtually no close friends at all, people I would actually confide anything near and dear to me to
  • the importance of family life, now, you could say that that is also a pro, because it provides me with every opportunity and excuse to get closer to my family (aka my kids) and spend more time with them, but I find that it is also a con, because people here place the greatest priority on their families, which means that they will plan most of their activities around their families and have little time or energy left over to do things with anyone outside their families
  • once again, the social life, in a land where most people make the majority of their friends at grade school or the very latest, in university, so if you don’t happen to attend any of those institutions it’s almost impossible to meet good new friends, that is, people who are open to becoming friends with someone who is not from around hereabouts, although as I mentioned earlier, people are friendly and they will be open to meeting you for a drink or to have a café or breakfast, but it’s hard that a relationship would ever get any deeper than that
  • the difficulties in finding things from outside Spain, now, of course, you might wonder, what sorts of things would I really need from outside of Spain, because after all, didn’t I come here for the “Spanish experience”? Well, there are some things that Spain doesn’t exactly produce an excess of, so you almost virtually have to buy these articles imported, one example is make-up, which, when it comes to Spanish-made products, is pretty much limited to the polvos de Maderas by Maderas de Oriente, a very fragrant and luxurious-feeling face powder but which, nonetheless, I can’t use (much to my chagrin, because I LOVE the way they smell!) because they are too drying for me (probably the only people who could use them are little kids, like my youngest son, who still has that sweet, soft baby skin, and my oldest son, a teenager with greasy teenage skin!)
  • the lack of ecological, organic and vegetarian products, since unfortunately, Spain is still light years away from the “consciousness” and awareness of the importance of things like taking care of our planet and our health, and the south even more so than the more progressive and modernized northern regions
  • the very laid-back and non-proactive attitudes that prevail in general around here, my ex (when he wasn’t yet my ex) defined it as: “People here talk a lot about doing things, but no one ever gets up off their butts to actually do these things that they talk about so much”, which, however, on the other hand, can actually be converted into a “pro” when you’re in a situation, like I am, where much of what you are doing you need to do alone, at home, at least for the moment (in the case where, for example, you happen to be working on a project that you need to work on alone in the introspection of your home)

Pros (or why I love Andalucía):

  • well, it might be legendary and trite, but I bet every andaluz would agree, there’s just something about the sun in Andalucía that you won’t find anywhere else, that glorious fire that can give you a light suntan even in the middle of January and that stings so hard in July and August
  • the people here are so friendly
  • the cost of living is quite cheap here, compared to pretty much any other part of Spain or Europe, so if, like me, you are currently living on a fixed income like unemployment payments or pension payments of any sort, your salary will go further here than it would in a more expensive part of the world
  • the blue Mediterranean, which just can’t compare to those cold, turbulent, dark grey waters in the north Atlantic or even worse, the total LACK of water in a more interior setting
  • being able to go out and walk along the beach, no matter what is happening in your life, after all the beach is free
  • the great climate, and isn’t that what draws most foreigners who live here, to settle here rather than someplace else, to begin with?

And here is my wish-list, of things that I could probably do if I weren’t living in this part of the world:

  • have a car! Then I could TRAVEL (and if you’ve been reading this blog for a while, you’ve probably realized that I practically live to travel!)
  • earn enough money to take my kids on longer trips or holidays abroad, so they could get the opportunity to see the world and learn more open attitudes towards other cultures and languages

So who knows? Maybe one day I’ll just pick up that ole curriculum vitae and send it off to a hotel in Paris or a Starbucks café up in London.

But if I did that, I would miss that indelible Spanish sun that you can only enjoy on the coasts of Andalucía.

Andalucia

Thank you all for reading! I love to receive (good, positive, bright) comments, so please, don’t be shy, and leave me a word!

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…And It’s a Rainy Night In Malaga

There’s nothing very spectacular in today’s post, just typical sights that I pass by every day. Kids have to go to school, groceries have to be bought. And these are the landscapes that I see as I do these things.

Empty Garden

An empty garden in the rain.

Rain in Malaga

Just a corner of Malaga.

Garden in the Rain

Orange Tree

This is actually an orange tree, the reason it has no oranges, is because it’s not the season. Well, if you look a little closely, you might catch a glimpse of a very green fruit hidden inside there, peeking out.

Rainy Courtyard

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