At 6.30am El Médano wears a very different face from its usual sunny but breezy one. There’s a faint chill in the air, little wind (it blows in with the sunshine), the lights in the square are still atwinklin’, but there are no kids skateboarding beneath them, and the air clanks with the sound of dumpsters and recycling bins being emptied, and the whoosh of the high pressure hose as streets are cleaned.
Trixy and I place hesitant feet (well, paws in her case) on the damp pavement. Sometimes the paving they use here gets dangerous when wet. Trix is always suspicious in the dark, she sniffs along less than usual and sticks close to my legs.
I hang around at the end of the street, where pavement meets beach, waiting for her to do that which she has to do, when a beaten-up old truck passes slowly by, then reverses. I tense. Now I’m the suspicious one, and I hope that Trixy looks suitably fierce, even when performing her toilet. However, they are simply surveying the dumpsters to see if there is anything worth taking before the council truck arrives to empty them.
It’s a familiar kind of sight these days. When I moved last I put out some old, surplus furniture alongside the containers, and it disappeared within the hour, possibly to be tarted up and reappear at the car boot sale. I admire the entrepreneurial spirit of these guys. They don’t let pride get in the way of their trying to keep body and soul together – unlike some of us. I shudder. It’s a thought which has crossed my mind in these times, the need to get so desperate, especially since my pension rights got lost in the fog of bureaucracy.
The sun announces its imminent appearance in a thin, bright light which ekes along the edge of the low cloud which is hugging the horizon. A brighter flash, like the gleam of a lighthouse, and then it emerges, slowly, but much quicker than it does further north. Soon it is a flaming sphere, balanced on those clouds, melting those clouds, and I have to look away.
We return home, greeting neighbors on a similar mission to ours. Feed Trixy, mop the floor, the coffee is ready and welcome. I swear I feel it touching each nerve in my body to bring it to life. I know it doesn’t work like that, but the notion helps wake me fully. Breakfast, shower, dress, check emails and Facebook and Twitter, then the big question: how many hits did the blog get yesterday? I know it isn’t important, but, dammit, there is a little thrill when it proves to be more than normal. I’m certainly not in the big time, and not sure I even want to be, but it’s nice to know that people actually read what I write.
Toss Trixy a biscuit and head out the door. It’s just after 9, and the autopista isn’t too bad. May through June is low season, and this year especially as the recession grinds unceasingly on, so traffic is light. I pull into the Vehicle Inspection Center, my van is due for its biannual check over. There is no queue (things are improving!), and the paperwork is quick, drive to lane indicated and honk the horn, brake when instructed and wiggle the wheel a lot. It passes. Phew! I find this on a par with going to the dentist, always afraid it will result in them finding something wrong which will result in a big bill.
Stop by the supermarket. Drive into Los Cristianos. The fountain at the town’s entrance looks bright and inviting against the sky’s intense blue. It’s hot and sticky in the car, and I have to seriously resist the impulse to stop & climb into it! Post office, book store, bank, office supplies, record store to sell some unwanted cds. I walk slowly back to the car park, enjoying the warmth and the fresh air, envious of the folk on the beach – but then, they’re probably envious of me, living here. Backpackers scurry past, bent under the weight of their packs, heading for the ferry to another island. The sight of it makes my feet itch.
Back to El Médano. I park the car in the garage, unload the shopping, whizz Trixy to the end of the road, and then toss her another biscuit as I close the door again. I meet a friend for lunch in Cafe M on the boardwalk. We order loops, a kind of bagel which they overfill with salad stuff and meat or fish as you choose, and large intense fresh fruit juices. Nothing stops the chatter, though. We laugh and we people watch, and we lay plans for a future hike, talk of future journeys, and I idly wonder why we are sitting next to the beach and not on it.
It doesn’t take long to answer that question. I have a class at 5, and haven’t finished preparing it yet, so I make a move. I walk slowly again, because, well, I’m just that way out today. Sort of “Stop the World, I Want to Get Off!” I stop to smile at the latest sand sculpture on the beach, reluctant to leave.
I’d rather stop in this bar by the harbor and have a mojito or two.
I’m not in a working mood at all today, but I turn the key, clear the table and settle down to finish what I should have done yesterday.
5pm my students arrive. Lethargy is out the window. It’s a good lesson. Sometimes I enjoy teaching ESL so much that I feel guilty being paid to do this, but I love the feeling when I know that students have grasped something, are improving, more confident. We also laugh quite a lot.
6.30 It’s too hot for June. I skip across the plaza for an ice cream. I don’t even want my favorite Chocolate Brownie, I choose refreshing passion fruit, and sit on a bench overlooking the harbor to enjoy it before it melts. I stop, as I almost always do when passing through Plaza Roja to gaze at my favorite piece of Médano sculpture, entitled Homage to Magellan. Its original and bold, and he looks out to sea, dreaming of places over the ocean, planing voyages and biding his time.
Time for another walk. I don’t enjoy evening walks nearly as much as morning ones,when we are almost alone, when I feel as if the world is ours. In summer we don’t see much of the sunset. Children squeal in the playground. Skateboarder dudes scud past. Trixy sniffs other dogs. Other dogs sniff Trixy. The waves cream onto the pebbles, and a few hopeful windsurfers coax some mileage out of the light breeze.
Soup, salad. Resist the strong desire for a cold beer (tomorrow is a run day). Check emails, and Facebook and Twitter and stats. I sit here and write this. Amazingly I have three early starts lined up over the next three days, so at just after 10 it’s time for bed.
This in response to a question my friend and I asked ourselves yesterday, “What do we do all day?” This wasn’t a creative nor an adventurous day, it wasn’t especially happy nor sad. I didn’t angst because I couldn’t find the right word, or curse the inefficiency in some office or other. I didn’t walk or run or climb or swim, though I do all of those things from time to time, some more than others. It was ordinary. Too many of these and I would get bored! This was a slow, leisurely day, if it hadn’t been I couldn’t have written this. It’s a snapshot of an average, slow, leisurely day. It’s doing the sorts of things women the world over do, the difference is that my backdrop is kind of nice, isn’t it? And because this place, much as I love it, isn’t my home I still have that tingly feeling that I’m just passing through. OK, OK it’s been a long sojourn, and the island’s tentacles have proved to have a long reach whenever I’ve been away for too long, but, still it will “do” for now. That said, it’s been interesting to note how many times in a day I reference travel, even on a day when I don’t read about it or watch tv………..