Monday, 2 January 2017

Passing time in Marbella

I've been a bit quiet for the last couple of weeks. I'd like to say that there's a good reason for this but honestly, I just don't like the 'festive' period. However, New Year means new motivation so I'm back!

Statues complete with typical Spanish graffiti

After my short visit to Marbella (I still need to tell you about my crazy AirBnB experience) I arrived at the InHouse hostel in Marbella where I've been hiding for the last two weeks. This is another HelpX host and the work is basically being a night porter. I start at 10 pm, do an hour or so of ironing, hang around watching tv or looking at facebook till about 2 am so that I can help any guests or do any late check-ins. After that, it's off to bed and the land of nod in the hope that no one rings the bell.

I have daytimes free and there's another volunteer so we take turns doing 3 or 4 nights each. With a small allowance for food and a kitchen in the hostel, it's really not a bad deal. There are plenty of interesting guests around to speak to and I had a very pleasant time bringing in the New Year on the roof terrace with some wine and a small group of friendly guests.

View from the terrace of InHouse Hostel


I've been working very hard on my Spanish spending at least 2-3 hours on the computer every day, talking with guests and going once a week to a language exchange at a local bar. This is a great weekly event which I found on MeetUp.com and is more than just an excuse to have a few drinks. It's organised by a local Spanish guy and is attended each week by a mix of Spanish, British and other nationalities. We speak in a mix of Spanish and English so everyone gets a go at sounding like a dafty!

My Spanish is definitely improving. When I first arrived at InHouse hostel I couldn't understand a single word that the cleaner, a local Marbella girl, was saying. She talks very fast Andaluz which is the notoriously difficult to understand local dialect of Andalucia. Two weeks in and I'm slowly starting to make some sense of her verbal gunfire! I've got another month here so if I can understand a bit more of what she's saying by the end of January then I'll feel like I've succeeded.

Lady waterskiing in Marbella


Other highlights over the last couple of weeks have included a karaoke bar (no, I didn't sing), excessive meat consumption at an Argentinian restaurant (vegetable for the rest of the month), finally breaking the ancient iPhone and getting a new handset with a Spanish number (so shiny) and I've grown a beard (every travelling male has to go through this phase, right? Also, it's fashionable at the moment). With all the free time that I will have while here, I plan to visit the surrounding villages, head into the mountains, spend a day in Gibralter and perhaps head back to Malaga for a couple of nights to visit some of the places that I missed while I was there.