And it certainly was with me and two policemen on Tuesday. I would say my criminal past flashed before my eyes as David and I cycled into Barbate to do our weekly shop. We were heading to Conil, which as we have said in earlier posts is easier, market wise and on a bike. However, due to high 100 numbers, Conil was closed and we were advised by Filippo, our morning coffee stop man not to head that direction as the town was circled by police with road closures. Uhm, we thought best not risk it and so we headed to Barbate for our shop.
The sun was shining, the main road not too busy, as to kill us and as I entered the roundabout into Barbate, David was unusually behind me. As I approached said roundabout, I saw two policemen, with their car across the road, and they were holding their hands up for someone to stop. A quick look over my shoulder revealed there was no one other than me, and still no sign of David. So, I stopped away from them, and pulled my mask over my face. Not close enough for them apparently as they waved me forward to a point. At this stage nerves were taking over, and I forgot that my bike was still in electric mode and so as I pushed the pedal, so my bike jumped forward and I all but landed on one of the policeman’s feet, with my body all to close for comfort, Covid or otherwise. I quickly dismounted and moved backward, attempting to smile as I went. The conversation then passed between us with a few rapid machine gun fired sentences from the younger nicer looking one, and me with much shorter one-word Spanish answers, to which I wasn’t sure of what the question was. Tienda (shop) brought no joy, ALDI very loudly even less. Should I reach for my phone in my rucksack for google translate, the mood seemed to dictate otherwise. Stalemate was reached when David eventually came zooming on to the horizon and screeched a halt, thankfully not on the policeman’s feet. The fat New York doughnut policeman screamed into David’s face, again an un-understandable question and thankfully David stayed unusually calm and with phone in hand typed in a reply, whether a correct answer or not. A moment, or more passed and all of a sudden hands were waved to us and we quickly jumped on our bikes and we sped off, using our muscles over electric to quickly flee the scene. We had no idea, what was going on and still don’t, no one else we chat to had encountered anything like that. A few people have been fined for being on the beach, but no-one we have heard of went through our scenario, by car or bike. Oh well, I like to think it was my winning charm and good looks that eventually won them over, but whatever, it certainly was all lost in translation.
Weather wise, it has been a mixed week, but for a chunk of it we have been able to walk or sit out in the sun. We managed to cycle to Vejer with our washing before that town also locked down due to high Covid numbers. So now both Vejer and Conil are closed to us, Barbate, a much more working town is still open, as it’s numbers oddly haven’t gone through the roof, something to do with the drugs there maybe?
Saturday, saw us kill a Swede. To be precise, Helena who is our neighbour and is from Sweden. Our once a week big hike to Barbate, is rated apparently as one of the top walks in Spain and so Helena along with a need for some more cash decided to join us. Helena, having only previously walked about 10k’s made the 24k return trip and enjoyed it, so she said, but that was Saturday and we have yet to see her since!
The water in Zahora run a very deep shade of grey this week as well, when I had a bath. A real treat and not expected whilst motorhoming, camp site or otherwise. Pinar San Jose campsite is rated as a four star site and with that rating comes lovely shower rooms for adults and for bambinos. On further investigation (whilst bored!) David discovered that the bambino bathrooms have in fact two baths, one very, very small and the other Karen size. So, with the site being very quiet and definitely no children around, I took advantage of the amenity and had my first bath (not wash) since leaving Marks flat in Lucca back in October. A small joy for sure and one that will be repeated.
Sunday, brought another lost in translation moment. The weather was dismal, and the restaurant we had hoped to eat in was shut. We wandered aimlessly about our small local store, wasting time before buying something for dinner, chorizo, a good dinner standby. Eating junk food as we went back to the van, the weather changed slightly and so we decided to risk a walk, rather than stay in and catch up on newly discovered series Line of Duty and to write a more interesting blog than this one. We happened upon at the end of our walk a restaurant we had a drink in last week and that was on that occasion too busy to serve us food. Today, our luck was in, or was it. The restaurant was relatively empty and so we sat down and asked for comer (food). Carmen, our host was quick to tell us all the daily dishes she had, in a Spanish we barely recognised and with such speed we couldn’t catch one word of. Blank looks brought no joy, other than the same sentences again until eventually we managed to say “pensar” (think) whilst successfully getting a wine and beer. At this stage, we should have walked away, neither of us understanding, nor after junk food being that hungry. But Carmen had asked our names and we had shared that and our whereabouts and so we were now ‘besties’ Dinner commenced, with dorado for me and a lamb stew for David, all we could manage to understand.
My normal favourite fish was for some reason yucky, and after a few mouthfuls was swiftly deposited into my coat pockets in serviettes for Pino, while David shouldered on with the stew until the last grisly bits got the better of him. Not our finest hour, or food, but we did share a ‘shot’ with Carmen at the end of the lunch. We weren’t entirely sure she was offering us a liquor as the words uttered soundly remarkably like baby squid, but we took a gamble given we had just eaten and thankfully a small yellow drink arrived rather than a yellow baby squid.
Yet again, all lost in translation and language. Will we ever learn, either the language or just to say No, when our instincts and stomachs say so. Probably not, as the Spanish spoken in this region is notorious for being very bad and slang, so who knows which version we were being spoke to by the police or Carmen, our new best friend, who has invited us for breakfast there next week. Given the cat wouldn’t even eat the fish, stuffed into my pockets, I think we might give breakfast there a miss, after all lost in translation can only go so far.
We are making a visit to the dentist next week, as I chipped one of front teeth during the week. The dentist apparently does speak English and I really do hope so, as a dentist disaster due to lack of communication could be expensive, as well as disaster. So, fingers crossed and google translate to hand on that one.
We have managed to get our own back a bit on the language front with Filippo, by making him say Worcester sauce. I needed a tiny amount for the beef stew I was making and he thankfully had a bottle, but the resulting lesson in pronouncing it was delightful and he of course saw the funny side of it and is still attempting to say it each time we roll up for our morning coffee. A small victory for us!!
Unfortunately, once again for us the week ahead will be static, other than the drive to the dentist, but hopefully numbers and cases will settle and start dropping so that we can once again be on the move and continue our travels.