Day 22, 23, 24, 25, 26, 27, 28 - RELAXATION +

Trip Start Jul 21, 2010
Trip End Aug 26, 2010

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Flag of Spain  , Andalusia,
Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Oh Malaga ... how I love you. You with your hot, but not too hot days ... with your miles of beaches ... with your pichers of tinto de verano at every meal ... and your high speed, low noise train ... your several hour long sun-tanning sessions each day, yes, plural ... your palas ... your seafood ... your tortilla potata, we say Espana ... ... oh, how I love you.

Day 22 - We get back from our trip to Morocco and Gebraltar and I WORK. I have several new projects in the works, and having been gone from the apartment for so long, I end up spending the entire day and evening working working working, while the rest of the fam goes to the local Plaza Mayor for some food and shopping.

Day 23 - Off to Malaga for our first day at the secondary location of the August Feria! ... but ... we forgot the camera. Doh! ... The fair has grown each year to the point that its an annoyance to the downtown residence. Its not one night per year, its a full ten days of late night partying. So, several years back, the city put in a new location and has been trying to lure the loud, partying crowds out to the destination. Its about fifteen minutes from the town center on the bus. A free ride there from the original location of the fair in the heart of the center of town. ... ... The secondary location is huge. Blocks and blocks and blocks of restaurants and clubs ... set up to feed and entertain. Over 180 restaurants! And most of them FULL! Every restaurant had free giveaways to get you to eat at their joint, ... the one we picked had free paella and free migas. The paella was cooked in this HUGE stirfry pan near the entryway and was super good. Simon was opposed to the idea, but tried it, and liked it! ... And the migas? ... A new favorite of mine. Essentially its cooked bread crumbs. Super good. ....  ... lots and lots of people, the streets are even MORE full ... of horses! As part of the annual festivities, the local (and perhaps not-so-local) horses are brought out, dressed in all sorts of ornate costumes. There has got to be several hundred horses making their rounds through the streets. ... also, next to the huge fair, is a large carnival area that opens only at 7:30pm and goes through the night. Dang ... we left JUST before opening. Didn't have a chance to pay $8 PER RIDE PER PERSON!!!! Crazy. :)   It was super hot, and we all got exhausted, so we headed home pretty early.

Day 24 - Lounging at the beach ... and our first chance to meet Inigo's sister ... Irena. They look so much like each other! The apartment we've been lent for our stay is where she used to live before she moved back to the heart of Malaga. ... Swimming all day at the beach, lunch, then more swimming at the pool downstairs. Whats becoming a typical routine for us here!

Day 25 - ... This is Saturday, August 21, 2010 ... and will go down as our greatest culinary day in the south of Spain! ... I've begged and pleaded and Inigo's parents are willing to have us over for lunch! YES!!!! .... .... they picked Saturday because they have local markets that offer fresh meat and produce ... ... we meet them at their home ... and ... droool ... the memories. So good. ... They each picked one of their favorite foods from the area and made it from scratch! I can remember six distinct items, ...

1) Fresh, raw salmon - marinated overnight with sea salt and herbs, then carved, and served with minced garlic and capers and mustard and bread ... the best raw salmon I've ever had. Terrific!!

2) A crazy potato / orange / TUNA salad ... When I saw this, I was nervous. It looked fine enough, but who in their right mind puts potatoes, oranges, tuna, and onions in the same bowl??! .. Turns out I was wrong. SOOOO GOOD!. The only way to eat it though, is you have to force your mind to abandoned all references to the ingredients. If you are expecting the taste of orange when you bite that orange, you are in for a rude surprise. . Same with the tuna. ... ... but once your mind is clear ... SO GOOD. I had three servings.

3) Fresh, sliced tomatoes ....

4) Sweet Kous Kous ... I don't know how they knew, but one of our disappointments that we realized after we left Morocco was that we didn't taste their world renowned kous kous. ... Despite the fact that I HATE kous kous and NEVER eat it, I wanted to try it. ... Well, here was my opporunity. ... And it was GREAT! ... Sweetened with sugar and cinnamon? ... raisens ... mmmmmmm.... yummy!

5) Migas - ... This was awesome! When we tried it for the first time at the restaurant, Inigo promised us his was better and weren't lyin! He added chorizo and some ham. Excellent!

6) With the migas ... albondigas! home made with an amazing sauce.

7) Dessert! ... freshly made pastries made for the fair!

8) add coffee and tea ... ...

.... ..... I couldn't help it. At some point in the conversation, I excused myself to stumble down the hallyway and crashed on Diana's bed ... sleepytime.

When I woke up ... we kept on talkin and laughing with Inigo's family. Celebrating his father's sale of his company earlier in the week. He is officially RETIRED! YAY!

Later, in the early evening, we all got our bathing suits on and headed to the beach for the world famous tsunami of Malaga. .... Every night, at 7:30pm, a big ferry cruises by in to the harbor, and creates gigantic swells ... enough to wash away at least SIX OR SEVEN GROWN ... well, blankets and toys. ... Inigo has told us about it all week, how funny it is. Apparently what happens is giris (tourists) come and enjoy the beach all day near to the surf line ... then, this ship comes and with three or four waves, just DESTROYS their beach stuff. Blankets, toys, chairs, all sucked in to the ocean. ... Sadly, on this day, the giris were spaired. First of all, there weren't many out since it was the finaly two days of the fair. Secondly, some stupid local went around WARNING the few targets we had been watching ... and they backed up their stuff. DOH! .... .... we still had a great time though. It was nice seeing Inigo's father playing with Diana in the ocean ... and we had our first opportunity to play palas! (basically a paddle ball game for the beach)... Simon didn't want to at first, then I talked him in to it, and we had a great time.

Before we head home for the night, ... we decide now is a good opportunity for the last item on my culinary list ... something we'd seen earlier in the trip ... BAKED POTATOES, Spanish style! ... That doesn't sound all that great, but trust me, it was amazing. Freshly baked potatoes with all sorts of junk in it. Think Subway, but with baked potatoes ... all kinds of sauces, corn, chicken, veggies, .... SO GOOD!!!!!

Day 26 - a break from the beach! ... ... Today we skip the ocean and pool ... and instead catch the train to Plaza Mayor and watch movies in English! Yes! ... Janice, Ella, and I watch Toy Story 3 ... Simon and Sam watch Shrek 4. .... I get to eat my favorite Plaza Mayor food ... this simple noodle house, they have only two types of noodles, ... you choose if you want pasta or chicken or beef or seafood ... and bam! Good grub! .... At night, Simon watches the kids, Diana is babysat by Inigo's parents, ... and the four of us adults go out for dinner and drinks together (my favorite restaurant in Torremolino city center) ... Its a great night out talking about trivial things and deep things. We are in love with Inigo and Jaione. Its really amazing that we were so fortunate to have met them through the internet so randomly! Its suprising that we've all become such close friends in the short amount of time we've know each other and from across the globe. ....

Day 27 - Beach day ... Inigo and Jaione and Diana and Inigo's sister Irena come to meet us and enjoy the beach and pool with us. After swimming a bit, we get cleaned up and all go out for Italian food. Simon gets to see what Janice is like after a couple quick glass of wine ... .... (she was SURE it was him who was acting crazy) ...   Afterwards, we spend an hour or more on the lawn outside the restaurant talking with each other. Diana spends time running around, racing and holding hands with the kids. We wrestle and talk with the kids ... and teach them our hand slapping games from violent 'merica. Its our last night together ... and its not one that I will soon forget. ... As we walk back to the apartment to say goodbye, Inigio and I hold Diana's hands and I listen in on their conversation in Spanish about our departure soon, and that we have to say goodbye tonight, a big goodbye, and lots of hugs and kisses. Diana is a remarkable girl. She came to Inigo and Jaione with ZERO Spanish. Nada. ... And now, she is ... fluent! ... I mean, as fluent as a 6yr old can be in two months ... but she definately knows more than me! Its nuts. ... ... and to hear her talk with Inigo, so innocently. Its precious. ... I also love the fact that finally, today, after the last two weeks of me trying, ... she is finally allowing me to hold her hand in the special way that I do my own children ... with my pointer finger splitting the space between her ring finger and pinkie. Its a small, silly thing ... but its a special moment for me. Its especially nice to know that me playing monster and biting her arm all day didn't freak her out too much!  :)   ** PS. Watch the video at the end of the photo list on this entry, ... Diana is so brave! Keep in mind its after dark and she is all but blind, and yet, she runs fearlessly with shrieks of joy. Love her!

Back to the apartment, and we say our goodbye to our loved and cherished friends ... our crazy Spanish family ... .... we love them!

Day 28 - Beach + Pool + Cleaning + Packing ... for tomorrow we leave at 5am from the apartment! We've been getting up at 11am and nooon each day. this is gunna HURT!
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iba-jee on

Too many things to say come to my head... so... just let me summarize everything in a huge: I LOVE YOU, GUYS!!!!
It was a pleasure to see you again....

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