The completely unfiltered diary of a 24-year-old (week 73)
This is definitely oversharing.
But then again, this entire series of dairy entries are just a constant stream of oversharing.
Consider yourself warned.
So. I gave birth to a tampon today.
Lol ok, as a 24-year-old female, I just used a tampon successfully for the first time in my life. And goddamned bloody hell, it hurt. Putting it in really hurt at the start, though once it was actually in it was totally fine. And, taking it out freaking hurt. The bloody thing (and wow, pun not intended but it fits well huh) expanded inside, so taking it out was pretty damn difficult. But oh well. It’s done. It was great while it was inside.
*end of warning*
Anyway. Back to the Spain travel log.
We are in Nerja, a little coastal town in the south of Spain, along the Costa de Sol. It was crazy windy on the first day we got here — apparently there was a “yellow warning” because there were wind gusts of up to 70km/h.
Got distracted and it’s now a new day. I forgot to mention this, but when we were taking the bus from the airport in to Nerja, we needed to buy tickets. When the bus came, they driver came down and asked us if we had tickets, and I said no, but I could buy them now (in very broken Spanish). We were trying to buy them on the spot, online, but the driver was really nice and called in to buy us tickets over the phone. Or, something like that. I couldn’t understand what he was saying. But yeah, that was kind of him (he could’ve totally just stranded us there since we had no tickets). We just had to pay him in cash, and he printed out the tickets and we had the whole bus to ourselves! Until we reached the next stop, that is.
And I felt this heady rush of joy/excitement while we were on that bus, realizing we were in Spain! Mostly just excitement from picking up bits and pieces of the language, really.
Anyway, I’d been constantly telling Cher that I wanted to eat brie and crackers by the beach, with a bottle of wine. And come to think of it, we haven’t done that yet, but one of the first things Cher got from the supermarket was a bunch of crackers, a block of brie, and a bunch of jámon. It’s been a great snack.
The town has a kind of strange vibe (not in a bad way). It almost feels like a movie set, because half of the houses (or more) are empty. Or, at least, they seem empty. At first we’d thought the town was dead, but it turned out all the shops and restaurants opened later in the evening. It was strange to go into our Airbnb, then come out a few hours later to a bustling street.
Once, we even left the apartment to see that there were a bunch of leather bags hanging outside the doorway all of a sudden. Turns out, there was a leather goods shop right next door and it’d taken us 3 days to notice it, because we just never actually saw it when it was open.
It really does feel like a place that people go to retire, or that retired folks go to for holidays. Everyone looks at least 50 years old. Most seem Spanish, though there are other Europeans, and some Americans. We’re definitely the only young-ish Asians, though we did spot a Japanese couple, and more recently also realized that the family in the apartment opposite ours is actually Chinese. Pretty surprising.
We’ve been cooking a fair bit, mostly to save our wallets, but also for health, and also because you’d get sick of the local food pretty quickly otherwise. We did go to a few (ok, actually just two) tapas bars, because you have to do that in Spain, don’t you. It was pretty cool! You can get a drink (cheap alcohol) and some decently substantial tapas (ok, a pretty substantial tapa, singular) for just 2 euros. It’s great, because it gives you a nice place to hang out and chill with friends without breaking the bank. Back home, a drink would usually set you back at least about 5 euros. And that’s without any food.
One of the tapas we had was a pork sausage (chorizo?) that was cooked in a flaming pig-shaped ceramic urn of sorts. It was adorable.
The coastal views here are amazing, and probably best enjoyed when the wind isn’t threatening to blow you over. Unfortunately, it seems windy is the norm here. We managed to go for a swim, because the temperature isn’t actually that low (it’s about 17 degrees Celsius, which equates to just about who-the-heck-cares in Fahrenheit). And since we didn’t actually have swimsuits, we just went for it in black sports bras and black underwear. I think no one could tell, not that there were many people around at all. It was pretty cold, but it was really cool to finally be able to swim in the sea! Lessons have paid off, even if I could only swim a couple of meters before drinking in an unhealthy amount of saltwater. It was also my first time in a “bikini” (well, technically underwear), but I was surprisingly not that self conscious. Probably because everyone wears bikinis in western countries. Even those old floppy grannies splayed out on their sunbathing chairs. They definitely know how to relax.
While we were walking along a beach, someone’s border collie ran up to us and dropped a stick at our feet. It was such a cute dog. We played fetch with it for a while, and honestly, that was such an amazing moment. That dog had come from nowhere, and had basically asked us to play fetch. And he was so well behaved, he’d drop the stick gently at our feet, then lower himself on his front paws to brace himself for the next throw. It was adorable. Aw.
We’d walked further out to another beach, where we’d seen good reviews online for a restaurant there. For their paella, really. And when we stepped in, we saw a giant circular flat pot of what used to be paella, but was not just remnants of it. Anyway, I went up to take a picture because the pot was just so impressively large. One of the cooks, a middle-aged looking guy, saw me being taking the photo and whipped off this large sheet of foil that had been covering another huge pot of paella that actually had paella in it. I laughed when I realized what he was doing (like “hey, what are you doing, take a picture of this instead of that empty one”), and he laughed too. It was great. I love these little gestures so much.
We’ve had paella, sangria, a regrettable coconut cocktail of some sort, lots of ice cream, these amazing 40-cent egg tarts from the supermarket — and we would’ve had churros, but instead I had a crepe and a very broken conversation with the cafe owner who told me churros are only available till 12.30pm for breakfast, or after 5pm (which is apparently “snack time”). He’d spoken pretty damn quickly, but it was so cool to actually catch most of what he was saying. I gotta get out there and talk to more people! Somehow!
Not sure how much more there is to do in this little town, but it’s pretty nice.
I really need to figure out a way to talk to more people. We’ve been too cooped up with ourselves, especially since we cook about 75% of our meals.
Yesterday evening we went to a seafood restaurant, and once we were seated, maybe less than a minute after, the waiter came to ask if we wanted anything to drink. (“Bebidas?” he’d asked.) I was half-stunned into silence, scrambling to think of how to respond, before finally saying, “Luego..?” Later? The waiter, a middle-aged guy of average height, laughed and said something that must have been along the lines of “of course”, and clapped me on my back. It was a very warm gesture. I’m glad.
I ended up ordering a Màlaga Virgen, which was listed under “Vinos Blancos” on the menu. White wines. I’d just picked a random one. The waiter (a different guy) told me it was dolce, and I confidently said okay, thinking he meant it was sweet. Nothing wrong with a sweet wine.
I didn’t realize just how sweet it was going to be. It came in a tiny glass (very cute) and tasted a bit like plum juice syrup, with alcohol. It was actually not bad, but not exactly what you want to have with a meal. That waiter had tried to warn me, but I’d been clearly too complacent.
We had some fried and grilled fish which was pretty darn good, and it came with bread (which we’d thought was free, but they ended up charging for it. Oh well.) It was a pretty big chunk of bread, the size of two fists maybe, and I still had about a third left after finishing the fish. I went about eating the plain bread — it’s good bread — and the waiter must’ve felt bad for me because he came over with a little packet of olive oil and told me to put it on the bread. It’s more delicious that way, he’d said.
These little gestures are my favorite. (Though, I must admit, olive oil on bread isn’t my favorite thing. The olive oil was really interesting though, with a strong bitter olive flavor. Good stuff, surely.)
Oh yeah, and on a side note. I’d woken up at 6.45am this morning to a flood of messages on my work Teams messaging app. My boss had forgotten I was overseas, and a colleague had tried to contact me about 4 hours before I’d woken up. I felt a mild panic in my groggy state as I read the messages (“What happened to Amber? Is she ok??”) Which I think is probably the polite work slang for “Why the hell is she offline and slacking off.” Whoops. But, I think, all is fine. :)