But first, Imma just gonna get this out of my system.
Iberia, your airline sucks, royally sucks, completely sucks. Completely blows chunks. *sigh* breathe…..
The flight from London was delayed, meaning I missed the connecting flight to Almería.
The saving grace was that I had access to the No1 Lounge in Gatwick Airport
Which gave me a place to kill time, and do stuff like…
They wouldn’t put me on both a waiting list for the later evening flight and a guaranteed flight for tomorrow morning (with a hotel). So I had to decide. Picked the flight for the next day, along with being put in the airport hotel, which would have been a 30 euro taxi ride if I wanted to visit Madrid city centre…
The hotel was a pretty large, even if “it looks like a prison” (one of the Germans), and the corridors all looked so similar it could have been one of those… “weren’t we just here?” moments in a horror movie (or Thor: Ragnarok)
“where on earth are we?”
However, on the plus side, I was getting smashed with some lovely German people who were heading to Puerto Rico. Their connecting flight was also screwed over by Iberia. The hotel was comfy enough, and there was a free buffet dinner “courtesy” of the airline. The only thing Spanish was the paella, and the first things the Germans pointed out was the schnitzel, and I’m pretty sure Italians would have pointed out the pasta.
The best thing though was cans of beer for 1.50 euros. So while I would rather have been Almería, or even in Madrid (where the food would have been miles better), the evening was not a write-off.
(insert snoring here)
Thankfully the next day started off well enough, it’s 06:00AM and I’ve blindly boarded a coach that is in front of the hotel. I am assuming that it is heading to the airport, even though I’m surrounded by Spanish people (and no-one from the cancelled flight yesterday).
*unintelligiblespanish “terminal dos” more unitelligiblespanish “terminal cuatro” spanishspanish*
If I hadn’t already mentioned, languages and I aren’t the best of friends. At least, not until I’ve had at least 2-3 days of ordering food. Either way, I’m assuming the guy said we’d be going to Terminal 2, and then to terminal 4. If not, I’m on a coach going somewhere…
Twenty minutes later I am back at Madrid Airport (thankfully), and mercifully my flight leaves on time. A flight short enough that as I slowly fall asleep on take off, I’ve woken up just as we start descending.
Welcome to Almería, the land of greenhouses (bienvenido a Almería, la tierra de los invernaderos)
No, seriously, greenhouses, everywhere.
They are actually part of the landscape…
Things I learned, internal flights basically meant very little passport checks. Almería airport is small enough that you just walk to the terminal. It also meant I could have just walked straight out if I decided to change just walking up a side ramp to what looked like a car park. In any case, rather than the 30-minute wait to usually get out of an airport, I literally strolled through a few doors, and pass a few security guards who were casually chatting with each other. And then I was outside. All of this within 5 minutes. Now I have to wait, since Almeria airport is in the middle of nowhere.
Seriously, it’s in the middle of nowhere. the nearest public transport stop is a 21 min walk away. And, if what my friends say holds true, the public transport isn’t exactly reliable. So I have a 30-minute wait while Mike turns up.
There’s one place to eat in the airport, and I’ve headed on over and ordered a croque-monsieur. Which they put in the salamander grill to warm up.
I’m served it, and yes, it’s warm on the outside, the rubbery cheese trying to bubble but pitifully failing.
The inside though…
So why I have headed over here? In my mind, it’s to eat. I’ve been promised a BBQ, and “real” Spanish food. Also, Jenny (Mike’s fiancee) has just bought a place out here, so I and one other pretty much get to stay for free.
The price? Running a BBQ, at least for a small while.
The place she has bought is in Roquetas de Mar, a coastal town… quiet. Or at least that’s my first impression. It looks like Florida, just without people. I would later learn that there are tons of resorts just down the road…
The apartment she’s bought is gorgeous. It’s by the beach, and has a beautiful balcony with a fantastic view of… another apartment block…
…and the beach
After dropping off my stuff, we head into town. Basically, I offer to help marinate some chicken so need to pick up bits and pieces, because, well the only things I have at the moment is pineapple juice and low sugar ketchup. After getting what we need, and me being the absolute tourist, just have to point out stupid things like “ooh, they have an Indian restaurant here, what’s the menu like?” and the same with the Chinese restaurant…
You could basically paint the word “tourist” in 60-foot letters with neon paint on a sign above me.
A little while later, the chicken is marinated, my half in a marinade of
- Pineapple juice
- Ketchup (full sugar)
- Soy Sauce
- Brown sugar
My friend’s marinade (or brine, or whatever he wanted to call it) involved, coconut milk, bay leaf, garlic… and goodness knows what else. But it has won him a competition before (or so he says). So I can’t deny that.
It’s 12:00 PM now, I’m hungry, friends are hungry, everyone is hungry. Which is good, that means I can get a load of food. Even if there is a BBQ later on in the day. We head to El Rincón Secreto, and order… well this is what we ordered, And note, this was just two of us.
If pictures painted a thousand words, then I’d be here for an eternity trying to figure out the correct superlatives to describe this. That fresh tuna, was technically supposed to be dipped in the soy sauce and grilled on a hot stone they supplied. Or if you are me, just eat the thing raw. because it’s goddamn fresh-seafood!
Now it’s technically time to earn my keep.
I have two brick bbqs, and…. a rusty grill. Thankfully, we are being supplied with proper bbq equipment thanks to Jenny’s parents (because parents always save the day).
As mentioned, we have two BBQs to cook all the food (which is ever increasing because people are bringing stuff to cook).
I’ve fired up my BBQ, while Mike, in some bizarre attempt to make this a competition, has built what I’m calling the “tower of babel” to provide a chimney effect to light the coals “quicker”.
45-minutes later my BBQ has lit, warmed up, and I’m now cooking my third set of meat.
Mike’s tower is now being examed by four people. Including Jenny’s mum, the queen of BBQ. And no-one can figure out what Mike was doing. All I know is that they’ve now used 2 full bags of charcoal while I’m…
*insert smug laughter right here*
Food brings people together, in some cultures more so than others, but in general. It’s the great uniter.
The comparison I have for this is with a BBQ I attended a month or so before. Again we cooked food, got it on the table. However, the difference was that people would unite into different groups. Some in the kitchen, some in the garden, some by the BBQ. And then people would swap to different groups as needed.
Here, all the food was laid on two tables and we all sat around and ate.
At one point there was a cake too, carrot. lots of buttercream
Also, holy crap, there about 5 litres of Sangria to go through. Courtesy of Jenny’s Dad. As well as rows and rows of San Miguel, and Mahou beer.
This evening just got a whole lot messier. My saving grace was that during the afternoon (after most of the cooking had been done), Mike and I went back to the airport to pick up the other person visiting.
But if anything, that was merely just hitting the pause button on proceedings. The alcohol still had to be drunk,
and the meat had to be eaten. Woo hoo!
At some point, we all went to bed… bigly drunk
Queue snoring… sorry Dipen.