Thursday, June 17, 2010

Merci....ooops...I mean Gracias...

Minivan, kids out of school, passports. That's it....we're outta here and headed for the southern coast of Spain. Just the thought that we can take a ferry and drive to another country (let alone continent) from here is so appealing. So we pack the beach gear and the kids up and head north to Tangier and the ferry. Should've packed a map.....oh well.

The kids are super excited about the ferry and taking the car on the boat. Though it wasn't a clear day you could see Spain from Morocco even before we pulled out of the port. After about 40 minutes on the water we were in Europe! The most immediate, noticible difference was.....the silence. Ahhhhh......driving without the din of honking. Then not to have garbage lined streets and beautiful mountains! Do we have to go back? And then I remembered as I approached my first intersection.....oh my god.... I have to remember to stop for pedestrians in the cross walk. Which then had me chanting my new mantra "I will stop for pedestrians, I will stop for pedestrians, I will stop for pedestrians".

From Tarifa (our point of entry in Spain), we headed east for a couple of hours to the smaller (yet still touristy) beach town of Nerja. And as we eat dinner and talk politics ( seems so European, but that's what happens when we let the kids drink wine). The server comes with our dinners and automatically we say "merci....oops...I mean gracias". The rest of the weekend is a mixture of words in Spanish, French, Russian, German and Ember throws in some Arabic. We don't know much in any language, but everyone figures out we're stupid Americans anyway so they speak english to us and we breathe a sigh of relief. We get a language "get out of jail free card" for a few days. Whew.

We head to the beach. Now we have lived in Europe and travelled alot and the kids have witnessed the freespirited European ways of the world, but they were much younger and oblivious then. How long will it take them to notice the toplessness? Ummmmm....aparently not long. Prepubescent boys must just have boobdars. What am I saying??? ALL boys do! And while Sky for the record claimed this phenomenon to be "disturbing", I'm not an idiot. Now Jade, who turns 9 next week, has a whole different take on boobs cause one day she knows she gonna get them and she doesn't want them...especially big ones. So while the boys are pointing and gawking, Jade keeps looking around in fear asking me if hers are going to be like this ladies or that ladies. Now the thing about this is the majority of topless sunbathers are PPs (puberty preventors). They are generally the old British leathery handbagish looking women that no one wants to see topless, much less be mandatorily subjected to seeing it. So it was more of the trainwreck syndrome. I want to look away, but somehow I am stuck here staring in perpetual horror. Now for every 10 PPs there is a PA (puberty accelerator). Obviously, these are your young hotties that everyone is pretending not to look at, but everyone is. Thank goodness the boys don't have cameras.
Soon after our trip starts my camera battery dies and while I brought the recharger and thought I packed the adapter so that the plug could fit the european outlet. After much searching I realize I left it on the counter at home. Duh. So, the next morning we get up early and head to Malaga, the next largest town, to buy one and to go to H&M so we can find my 9 year old amazonian princess who keeps growing out of her shorts/pants some new ones that fit her. Not a good idea to travel with 4 kids (who only want to go to the beach) into the "big city" during Monday morning rush hour traffic for any reason. Second duh. We find the H&M, but this is probably the only one in the world that doesn't have a children's department! Screw it.....forget the pants. It is Europe, she doesn't need pants anyway right? Lets find the adapter and get the hell outta here and on the beach.

While the battery is recharging I miss taking pictures of this incredible paella that we had cooked in the most ginormous pan right on the boardwalk. It's delicious and beautiful. The kids liked playing with the prawns with their heads on and looking into their beady little eyes. Never has food been so fun. Speaking of food, at the grocery store we got great German coffee, fantastic wine for 3 euro a bottle, your choice of more than 5 different kinds of cereal oh and coconut juice (which we decided wasn't so great after all). The best of all though was SALAMI! We can't get salami in Morocco, so my kids were in heaven eating salami sandwiches everyday.

So the days are filled with beach, boobs, cheap wine and salami. Sand is embedded in all our nooks and must be time to go. The kids of course want to stay because "everything is better in Spain" they say. And while I must agree that this is true, we must take the ferry back to the land of garbage, honking, mosques and modesty. And as soon as we cross over we're all a bit depressed. On the way home as I'm flying down the highway at about 130kph, a cop walks out into our lane in front the car from the shrubbery in the median whistling and flagging me over to the side of the road. Wow...that's a really dumb system for pulling people over for speeding! He sees our diplomatic license plates that clearly identify us as American so he says what must be his only English phrase....."Do you speak French?". With a very solemn look I say "no". He goes on in French about the radar.....blah....blah....blah. He lets us go. We're too much work to pursue further. I knew not learning French would come in handy! "Gracias.....oops....I mean Merci."

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