While I hardly claim to be an expert on the area considering that I can’t even communicate with the locals, I have learned some things since my arrival to Torrevieja on the 18th of June:
– It’s about 45 kilometers south of Alicante which is where the closest airport is located. David and his stepmom picked my sister (this new adventure couldn’t have begun without her by my side) and me up by car. Quite a luxury considering that the taxi service to Torrevieja costs 55 to 70 euros! For all those who I hope will come to visit, I’m searching for a cheaper alternative!
– The windows don’t come with screens here – not good if you’re used to NYC where screens are an absolute must. On my first night here, I opened the window above the bed searching for air. Early in the morning, I awoke to Sushi, our cat, jumping through the window and walking on the very narrow ledge suspended four floors above. Trying not to panic, I remained calm and was able to grab him and pull him back inside. Needless to say, we haven’t opened that window since.
– About 52 percent of the population is comprised of foreigners with the majority being British. There’s also a big community of retirees who have left other areas of Europe in search of the endless days of sun here. (I was beginning to lament on where all the youth are until we went out on the 23rd and just happened to be out in time for the festivities of Las Hogueras de San Juan. Celebrated with massive bonfires, these festivities mark the beginning of summer. The beaches swarmed with hundreds of locals on the beach and hundreds of tourists taking pictures of the locals on the beach. Supposedly, this celebration has been around since ancient times when the villages of the Mediterranean would gather to celebrate the summer solstice with bonfires that cleanse and purify.)
– I have decided that the youth come out only at night. I went to Bar 222, a massive outdoor bar that’s on the northern end of Playa de Locos, recently, and I finally located where they all are. At 4 am, the bar was still going strong and I learned that many would continue on to Pacha, a club where they would probably be to welcome the dawn.
– The beaches are beautiful here. Yet, while they are topless beaches, the sunbathers leave a lot to be desired. Many of those choosing to go around without their tops on are the very ones who should be covered. My sister and I just couldn’t imagine why a grandmother would choose to bare all.
– The days are, indeed, endless here. Dawn is around 6 and it stays light until 10 pm. While this is a very good thing, it has thrown me off since I arrived. Because it’s not the type of daylight that changes according to the time of day. In the US, I can make a pretty good estimate of what time it is based on where the sun is, but, here, the sun seems to always be just as bright. As a result, 5 pm feels the same as 10 am. I have frequently felt that it was the beginning of the day when really it was nearly the end (or at least the end for me on my American time table).
– Don’t try changing dollars for euros here. After going to several banks with dollars confidently in hand and getting rejected each time, I discovered that they change everything but dollars in Torrevieja (don’t know if it’s the same in the areas around Torrevieja). It turns out that several years ago, they took a hit when people were changing fake dollar bills. Instead of finding a system to verify that the bills are real, it appears that they have decided to stop the practice of exchanging euros for dollars altogether.
– The news of Michael Jackson’s death has not gone by unnoticed here in Europe. Carrefour, a big store that sells everything from food to electronics to scooters, was paying tribute by playing his music. Meanwhile, in Paris, my brother-in-law is deeply mourning the loss.
There’s more to come (i.e. now that we’re here, what exactly are we doing here) but I’m anxious to get this first installment out so I’ll start with this. Thanks for reading!