“Tourism carries a tremendous potential that must be acknowledged as essential for the future of world heritage. But without proper management, we can easily get out of control” ~ Bonnie Burnham.
I am out of control. I am a stumbling man.
Being a tourist in a foreign land, I’ve stumbled this past week – paying too much, ordering the wrong thing, saying the wrong phrase and wandering at the wrong time. I’ve given myself a good talking to after being annoyed a few times. I know, it’s all part of the experience and travelling is often about surrendering and not being in control, but my pride and wallet tell me otherwise. Here’s a few stumbling highlights of my first week in Granada.
The search for churros
Just this morning I decided to search for churros – elongated fried dough typically served with thick hot chocolate around these parts (a local favourite). I walked into an unassuming café away from the tourist area and ordered my goods. The churros looked okay but the sauce came in three powdered, milky cups of hot chocolate, which was shit. I slurped up my pasty, counterfeit sauce and coughed an exorbitant €10 for my experience.
The dog and his rope
I was on my communal balcony the other day, admiring the view, while my Spanish neighbours were enjoying a rooftop soiree. My neighbour’s exuberant puppy conned me into a game of fetch with his little rope. After about five minutes of this I decided to lob the rope in the stairwell, rather lackadaisically. Unfortunately it sailed over the edge into a bush within an out-of-bounds yard three stories below.
Embarrassed, I slipped out the door and hid downstairs for 10 minutes before deciding to face the music. I returned to find the puppy on its hind legs with its snout aimed mournfully at the bush below. My neighbour glanced at me, I walked over to her and said in Spanish to a now silent party, “I’m so sorry but I just threw your dog’s clothes in the bush.”
The tapas bar
After searching online for a good place to eat, I went to a tapas bar and ordered a glass of wine. The waiter asked me, “red wine?” “Si”, I replied, and he brought over a couple of glasses which I later found out were expensive. He then surreptitiously added a large basket of bread to our order and the bill arrived on the heavy side. The meal was also quite shit, my four year old whined the whole time at the smell of Serrano ham and I sat and whinged until I reminded myself that I was actually in Granada. “Snap out of it Andy!”
Walking up steep hills in the summertime at 5pm
Unlike in Australia, even during daylight savings, 5pm in Granada is actually the hottest time of the day (or so it feels). I seem to keep forgetting this and I’ve embarked on 5pm adventures up steep hills on several occasions, which fast turned into jaunts of deep internal displeasure.
On a more positive note, today I managed to navigate my way around a reasonably complicated (at least for me, and after repeated questioning) residency procedure in Spanish at Granada’s Oficina de Extranjería (foreigner’s office) before finding a local supermarket with super-cheap food and 7.4% beer at €60 cents a can. Then, upon leaving the supermarket, I was given a free Granada T-shirt by the checkout guy (which I’m wearing above).
What about you? Any stumbles you want to share from your travels? I’d love to hear about them!