Spain (Camping Parque Tropical - Estepona)
Jul 6, 2008
|Even though we were abed quite late we still managed to get up at a reasonable time. Our English neighbours have decided to push on and find a camping ground in Marbella, but thanks to our advice not Marbella Playa.
We had breakfast and wandered off to find the bus to Estepona Township.
We found the bus stop out on the highway, about 1 kilometre from the camp, and waited for the next bus. It was only about a half hour wait, but whilst we there we met an English woman and her daughter. We got talking and found the daughter had done a campervan tour of NZ about a year or so back.
They gave us some good advice on getting to Gibraltar (which still looked to be a day or so away, maybe tomorrow) and on bus transport in general. One recurring theme was that you wanted to be back out of Gibraltar by at the latest 4pm. After that the Spanish border police (apparently, 2 sources) look at taxing tourists coming over the border. Also that the queues become very long from that time for the border crossing.
The daughter advised us to do the tour rather than follow our own plan, and expanded on what that entailed and offered. Sounded like a good scheme.
The bus arrived and I pleased myself by being able to ask for two tickets to our intended destination (Estepona) in Spanish.
The ride only took about 15 minutes.
The bus terminal is just off the waterfront, but as you turn into the place it looks as if you are turning into a tiny side street. It is very narrow.
We had forgotten that it was Sunday, or rather with being on holiday and not needing to know we did not appreciate the day of the week, and realised that there is not much open anywhere on a Sunday.
We wandered off and followed our noses along what looked to be the main shopping street.
It was only one lane wide, but with hardly any cars about everyone was using the street like a pedestrian mall. There were a lot of folks about, but not much open except the odd souvenir shop, mainly run by Indians and/or North Africans, and café’s run by Spanish, usually with a young woman waiting on tables outside and, in every case, rushed off her feet.
We wandered on for a while, looking in the odd shop, until the heat and the abundance of cafes prompted us to stop and have a break. We bought a couple of cokes and a slice of some sort of flan and sat outside watching the world go by.
After the nice little repast we decided to walk to a nearby supermarket. There are these supermarkets throughout Europe called “Carrefour” (pronounced Kara-faw). They are a very large supermarket, usually with smaller shops or booths attached, almost like a mini mall.
The walk took us along the waterfront, passing grey coloured, fine sandy beaches and various little beach cafes (that looked like Caribbean straw huts) for about two kilometres until we reached the Carrefour shop.
As we entered we were met by a VERY refreshing air-conditioned blast that after the walk along the beach was hhhmmmmmm! In the foyer area were several booths, but the one that took my eye was stocked with yummy looking cakes, savouries and other naughty goodies.
We entered the shop proper and, as has been the case everywhere were we have found them, debated the wisdom of perhaps buying some folding chairs so that we could enjoy the great outdoors whilst camped rather than sitting around the Swedish sauna inside the van. There were a large number of different chairs but we talked ourselves out of it with the usual argument “Well we have done without them so far”.
We found pretty much everything that we wanted and just off the side of the checkout, a Vodafone booth. Hoorah!
We paid for our stuff, lined up at the Vodafone booth, asked for a top up card and….. was told they do not sell them. We would have to go through the checkout and buy them there!
I went back through into the store, joined a very long queue (but the shortest one) and waited my turn.
To cut a long story short. I reached the check out operator, he did not speak English, with the help of another shopper in the queue got the request out, agreed on an amount, gave them the phone number, got told the system did not recognise the number, looked at the long queue behind me, their faces….. gave up!
We found the bus stop we wanted nearby, and pi**ed off as I could be walked towards it, did not notice a pole sticking out and tripped over it. I maintained my footing but hurt my back. Got onto the bus and stood near the rear doors. This was because I realised that you had to signal the bus driver to stop at your stop by pushing the button near the rear door with enough time for him to pull off the highway (at speed) and stop in time at the bus stop. Actually what I realised is that I had not given myself a landmark and I was not sure when to push the button for ours top.
Add to this that there was a drunken youth sitting at the rear of the bus, looking at me, circling his head with his finger, laughing and in English saying “very short, very short” (I assume he meant my hair) and my previously even temper, strained by the Vodafone incident, semi-ruptured by the tripping incident was now at snapping point and I stared at this young man. The vision that came to my mind was of my hands around his throat, a steady squeeze on his carotid arteries, his eyes glazing over, his breathing getting shallow his slipping into unconsciousness, his almost lifeless body leaving the fast moving bus, headfirst via a freshly broken window and it rolling along the highway and disappearing in the fumes and dust of the wake of the bus.
This simple thing made me feel so much better. I am not sure if what I saw was written on my face but he looked back at me without his stupid grin anymore.
I had no idea where we were and pushed the button. We were one stop beyond where we had wanted to get off, but the walk back was near enough the same distance as we would have walked from the intended stop, so that was not too bad.
We rewarded ourselves with an ice-cream and headed back to the camper.
We bought some WiFi time and surfed the net. We found a really good guided tour of Gibraltar that included being picked up near our camp, a full day in Gib. and a return to our pick up aboard an air-conditioned bus. It came highly recommended by the feed back on the net. So we booked it online.
The reply came back almost straight away with a confirmation of the booking and an instruction to print the attached voucher. Print the voucher???? How the hell was I to do that?
But that is another story.
A good day, turned bad, then retrieved by finally looking like we will get to Gibraltar, oh and killing the young guy on the bus.