Monday, October 12, 2015

Rifling ladies, a red light experience, and a hot time in the old town....


Saturday 10 October 2015

Hot and sunny
24 degrees
Torrelavega, Cantabria

Miraculously, OH didn't snore very much so awake feeling almost human.  RJ send me a picture of a woman he had seen in his local town and said she was my doppelganger.  Only a rear view but she was built just like me and was wearing a pair of trousers almost identical to a pair I have and a green cardigan and handbag which I very much admired.  Apparently, she had given him a real shock and he had looked around to see if OH was far behind.  But no, I am here and she, whoever she is, is there.

Went out for breakfast and re hydrated and stocked up on some butter rich carbs and admired the stained glass and then went out and looked for the car but OH had no idea which car park he had been to (fortunately with the owner).  Encountered some interesting shops on the way - the enticingly named Women's Secret where I obtained two pairs of fleecy PJ's and no skimpy underwear although OH did enjoy looking at it.  The bras had very narrow shoulder straps and I squished out of them and it was not an attractive look.  Then came across some lovely haberdashery shops and bought some ribbons and trims.  I can add them to my stock of lovely, lovely things back at home.  Also, a large material shop.  OH asked me what I needed the material for.  Has he understood nothing from the past thirty years?  Ah, the difference between crafters and non crafters.  You don't buy stuff because you need it.  You buy it because you love it.

I still didn't have a pair of shoes for Winter so went in a shop where everything was hidden away in boxes and the man was hiding behind the counter.  All the clients, women to a woman, were fed up of waiting to be served and were rifling through the boxes on their own.  I found a pair of black leather shiny shoes which were lovely and insisted on paying for them and then left the women to terrify the man into performing more sales.  OH thought that his wife had died and he was not used to serving in the shop.  Most shoe shops in Spain are run by a very determined line of lady owners whose aim is not to let you out of the door without having sold you at least two pairs of shoes.

OH then found a gents hairdressers where the barber didn't look like he would slit throats (some of them are strange looking coves) and I found some pop up shops in the local bars and had a good rifle through the contents.  The French have a word for rooting through things - farfouiller - no English equivalent.  It is almost impossible to be overdressed in Spain - they just love bling.  There were some very sparkly handbags and some knitted ones liberally spread with synthetic feathers and faux Swarovski skull beads. 

OH reappeared, suitably shorn, and we had beer and sandwiches and then decided to go for a slice of the chocolate cake.  It turned out to be full of salt crystals.  Took it back and insisted that the cook tasted some, after which he consigned it to the bin and then tried to charge us anyway.  Back to hostel for snooze but owner was there and talked to them, loudly and just outside our door, for the best part of 40 minutes.  Wrapped large feather sausage pillow around head and passed out.

Later, went to find a bar called the Lord Byron, well reputed for its G n T's.  It was down a side street and no one was in it and I had trouble getting OH through the door as he was convinced it would be (a) rubbish or (b) expensive.  Propelled him through the door and asked for two gins of the bartender's choosing.  The bar tender was a man who had seen the movie Cocktail.  He span bottles and grated oranges.  He selected cardamoms and pepper corns.  He crushed ice; dramatically.  He whizzed the mix round with a swizzle stick.  Time went by and OH decided to go to the toilet and then reappeared at speed having missed the first step of the flight.  The bartender smirked and said it wouldn't be long now.  Thought of Rowan Atkinson in Love Actually - tis but the work of an instant.  The man looked under the counter for some parasols and OH seized his glass and went outside, clutching his groin, having strained it on the rapid descent.  I grasped my glass also, assured the bar tender that we didn't need paraphernalia, and followed him out.  OH's verdict was that there wasn't a lot of gin in it but the flavour was good.

OH had written down the name of the restaurant where he had booked and it was illegible so the man outside the bar rang up the phone number, less illegible, and directed us off into the edge of town.  It was not, by any stretch of the imagination, a salubrious area.  There were many South American woman wearing very skimpy clothing.  There were black guys, glaring at us.  There were men cruising in cars.  I saw clothing I havent seen since the 80's.  Pink sparkly jumpsuits.  Shell suits.  Medallions.  It was like being in a pop video.  Refused to ask directions in case I was asked the price of turning a trick.  Got back into the main drag and found someone with a better grasp of the layout of the city and arrived at the restaurant just before ten.

We have never eaten Mexican before so just asked for a selection.  We started off with spicy crisps covered with melted cheese and avocado and chick pea.  Really tasty. Cant remember what they were called and then tacos which had shredded pork and a spicy salsa and then burritos which were wrapped pancakes.  Finished off with a lemon cream and OH had flan.  The cook, having finished one service, put on his Mexican outfit and came and sang to the diners.  He also distributed sombreros which were surprisingly heavy.  Made out of wire substructure with velvet and felt cover and decorated with fine woollen skeins and sequins.  A good two kilos of headwear.  He asked for some song requests but we knew nothing Spanish although we did recognise one which starts, Ay ya ya ya, si si senora.  The words we knew were different....

OH tried some orujo which is disgusting and appallingly strong.  Discovered, on coming out, that the hostel was just 250 metres away.  Heaven only knows which route we had taken.