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Published: August 29th 2009
Finally there came a morning where I woke up at a reasonable hour, and I was able to wake up leisurely, shower, and write some blog entries before heading to the beach. Around 11 Inés' friend Dámaris picked us up for a day at la platja de Sant Joan - a beach in the town of Sant Joan, which is right next to Alacant (Alicant) and some 40 minutes away. The ride down was painless - it was interesting to see how desert-like and desolate it can be between cities inland from the coast.
The beach itself was fairly crowded and lined with hi-rises, but the mountain backdrop and blue water were absolutely beautiful. The water was super warm - I don't know how we tolerate New England water. Still Inés claimed it was gelat - freezing. We spent some 7 hours at the beach, breaking in the middle for sandwiches and other snacks, as well as a beer at the beachside bar. It was super hot, so every 20 minutes or so we'd hop back in the water. Much to our surprise upon arrival, our companions went topless, and it seemed for a while that they were the only
ones, but after a while we began to see more and more. Oh Europe...
After a long day we stopped for some llet preparat (more or less an ice cream drink with lemon and cinnamon) and headed back to Alcoi to shower and change before going to Dámaris' house for a simple dinner of frozen pizzas. Her husband is British, having moved to Alcoi when he was 17, so Chris was able to communicate more than usual in this scenario. It was the first modern Spanish apartment I had seen, with cool furniture and the like. There was also a crazy little dog, also named Lluna, that barked at us the entire visit. Around maybe midnight we decided it would be a good idea to go out, so we hit the road for the seaside town of Gaudía, where supposedly there was a cool club that was sure to be open and on the beach. Well after 40 minutes it turned out to be closed. MERDA. Instead we found another place and paid the 10 euro entrance which came with 3 drinks - not bad considering how much we pay in the states for covers that don't include any
beverages. The place was pretty cool with fog machines and parts both inside and out. We stayed there until a bit after 5am, which seemed early given how many people were just arriving. Oof. We fell asleep on the way home and got back sometime after 6.
We woke up some 4 hours later to start the day again, her mother coming around 11 to take us back to the caseta for a paella lunch. Apparently in the summer every weekend her mother makes paella and her grandma and grandpa come as well. The paella is made outdoors over firewood in a heavy pan made especially for paella. Her grandparents were very cute - the grandma (iaia) is 83 and the grandfather 90. The grandma was a riot, talking about how old people never die, pretending to give her pills to the dog, and talking about her marijuana tea she drinks to go to bed. The grandfather meanwhile had been telling us all about the history of Alcoi as an industrial town and whatnot.
After the delicious lunch we were stuffed and also dead from lack of sleep so her brother Javi drove us back
to Alcoi for a siesta. 2 hours later we woke up and went into town, first stopping to buy our tickets to Barcelona for the next day. We went to the mall to check for books in English for Chris to read on the train, stopped at Zara where he bought a bag for school, and also attempted to go to one of Alcoi's museums, but of course it closed 10 minutes before we arrived. Instead we returned to the Plaça de Dins for some café granitzat (iced coffee) and conversation.
Next top it was off to the strip of fun bars where the younger people hang out. This includes a bar Gaudí that is made to look like one of the architectural works of Gaudí in Barcelona, this Kangaroo Bar that claims to be Australian, a Western Saloon bar (which Inés claims is for old and really drunk people) with a picture of Uncle Sam as its logo, and then some sort of Indian bar with I believe Rhino statues protruding from it. We sat down with her friends Javier and Dani and enjoyed a couple of beers, eventually being joined by Silvia and two other girls. Dani
spoke excellent English and he and Chris enjoyed talking about American politics and other things I could not be less interested in. He was very impressed by my Català-Valenciá and eventually I was referred to as La Máquina, or machine, due to my proficiency. I suppose I was flattered, but also kind of embarrassed since I still have a loooong way to go until proficiency.
Next we moved to a neighborhood of Alcoi via car for a delicious dinner. After plate after plate of tapas, beer, wine, coffee, and dessert it came to a mere 12 euro a person. Mare de Deu! So cheap for so much food. Dining Spanish-style really lends itself to groups. Oddly enough one of my favorite dishes was callos, the tripe. At first they wouldn't tell me what it was, but I knew callos was either stomach, intestines, or brains - I just couldn't remember which. Most of the people didn't like it on account of its consistency, but I thought it was delicious. Around 12:30 the meal came to a close and we headed back to Inés' for our last night's rest in Alcoi. In the morning Barcelona awaits us....
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