Monalia's World

Observations on a New Life in Spain

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Life is a beach

10 August, 2010 (06:16) | Living in Europe | By: admin

Life is bliss to be back in my spot. Although we’ve been living here in Barceloneta since mid June, its taken me all this time to land, to get my beach mojo momentum, to ride my bike through the back roads and alleys of my new neighborhood with Quixote, as well as to further beaches and parklands along the coast. I will write more about the beach lifestyle once I’ve spent a few seasons here. Summer is great, I can say that so far…

Although I take Quixote on all my bike rides, about once a week I’ll take Haka as well, in which case I always pose them…


I am sitting in my writing spot with my little slice of beach view. I observe sail boats, swimmers, paddle boats, helicopters, planes, sunbathers, civil guardias and policemen roaming in twos, sometimes on horseback, on bike or ATV, meandering around to make their presence felt and hopefully make any nearby pick pockets think twice before practicing their trade … all these images pass through my little slice of heaven from where I serenely observe, sometimes taking a closer look with my monocle. My spot is up high, with seagulls, pigeons, swallows, doves. I hear the deep sound of a ship foghorn setting out from the harbor. tooooot

Sound of ship horn

Summer is in full swing; speed boats, yachts, cruise liners spilling over with people. Jet skiers try to avoid the fishing boats, swimmers try to avoid the jet skiers. The Mediterranean is like a big swimming pool, warm and teeming with life.

For the next few minutes I will try to jot down all the images I can see from my spot:

A little kid with an orange ball, throws it in the air and catches it himself, another kid splash/plunges into the water, dousing a fat older woman wearing a bikini, innocently walking by. Cute young girls wearing topless bikinis laugh in unison and dart along the shoreline as a man somersaults backwards into the water.

From my vantage point transient beach vendors are having little success today selling scarves, beers, henna tattoos, donuts even; I always silently wonder why they don’t try selling beach balls, umbrellas, catalan flag towels, popsicles – the type of item a vacationer would probably buy as a memento or a whim. But these vendors seem set on selling cheap one size fits all dresses, yummy but too hot to eat in summer home made empanadas; the ONLY guy that has ever gotten my clientele is the guy who goes around selling fresh pieces of coconut. Now that is a fun impulse, to exchange one euro for a big, juicy piece of coconut while basking on the beach…

Today no one is buying though, at least in my slice of view. Eventually a masseuse gets lucky and gives a blonde lady a 5 euro back massage. For many tourists getting a cheap massage on the beach is a heavenly indulgence, so especially late afternoon, after people have spent the day sight seeing they end up at my beach, and the prospect of a 5 euro massage on the beach is too good to pass up. I believe the masseuses do well, relatively speaking. The more successful ones, after the 5 euro back and neck treatment, convince their clients to go for the full body massage, which ups their profit to 20 euros.

A black man kicks a white ball. a young guy leaps for a frisbee which lands in the water. An attractive long haired blonde comes out of the water and flashes her hair back, whipping it from down to up like a rastaman would. A middle aged man walks by wearing speedo bikini shorts and a backpack. There is also a naked man splashing around in knee deep surf. Two teenage boys in the water toss a plastic football back and forth, sometimes having to actually dive in the water as they catch the ball.

Lots of snorklers, swimmers, and silly rafts accent the clear blue waters.

Our piso is one short block wide, meaning that while I get the early morning sun which rises out of the Mediterranean, Mark gets the afternoon sun coming from the harbor. The street below Mark’s sun bathing spot faces the backside of some of the most famous paella and fresh seafood restaurants in the city, whereas my view looks onto a quiet, narrow, residential street. Sometimes I like to sit on his terrace just to take in the aromas of paella and exotic spices wafting up.

Instead of traffic horns and street traffic, our soundscape here is mostly (territorial) seagulls and the occasional passing ship horn.