Wednesday, July 22, 2015

Spain, Day 8. This might be long and nakey and drunk and too much eff-word. (Sorry.)

We are a week into our vacation. It's gorgeous. It's wonderful. It's brutal.

If I hadn't had a newborn (twice) and a C-section, I would say I have never been so tired in my entire life.

So OK. I'm the third tired I've ever been in my entire life. These little people we created, they are fucking relentless. They are exhausting.

A couple friends said that vacation with kids is not a vacation; it's a trip. They cited this post.

Yes. Agree. Sort of.

Because, OK, a trip. But more like a trip to prison. In a really pretty place.

Prison on a beach. Where you sleep with someone kicking you in the head. And you're awakened too early with a blood-curdling scream.

It's really hot but you can't do anything about it. You have fans, but the heat. God, the heat. And the food next door is amazing but first you're stuck at a place where the terrorists will eat and you have to be here because if they don't eat they're complete assholes and you pay.

And then when you sit down next door to eat they sprint down the beach to the climbing structure. They run fast enough that it takes you a while to find them and even your Spanish friends start to fret.

And half of you thinks, "Oh, fuck you people. If you've been kidnapped because you ran away down the beach it's your fucking fault and if we never find you at least I'll have a week of actual vacation."

And the other half or really most of you is completely hysterical, running around through the sand, frantically screaming, "Jordan! India!" and hoping that people don't think you're just a lunatic who enjoys geography.

Right now I'm sitting in my underwear drinking wine and eating chocolate. I feel a little bad, but it's not early for Spain. Hell, our friends and I had 54 beers with our lunch paella yesterday.

And I haven't been drinking with breakfast. Even though Betty and India and I have been up at 7:45 for walks on the beach despite the fact that we didn't actually GO to sleep uptil 2 am, we haven't yet started spiking our coffee.

Maybe next week.

We arrived in Madrid a week ago. It was hot as Mordor.

OK, that's an exaggeration. The news said it was the same temperature as Cairo. The air, apparently, is coming straight from Africa. It is the hottest hot in the recorded history of Spanish heat. It's fucking hot.

And me, I would pick hot over cold any day. So when I say it's hot it's goddamn hot.

We spent the afternoon draping ourselves about. We went to bed early and slept 12 hours and got up just in time to catch our train.

Nobody really slept on the plane and there were a lot of terrific movie options, and I watched one--the Exotic Marigold Hotel--and cried pretty much all the way through because timing! And then we all went to sleep for 15 minutes and then India woke up and so she sat on my lap and watched something (Peppa Pig? Mama. She's a pig. Because they're all pigs. Except that bull. I dunno.) for the 56 hours until they served breakfast and we arrived.

We spent a limp afternoon and night in Madrid and then a fabulous day and night in Cuenca, which is just so fucking spectacular and beautiful and I cannot say enough nice things.

I keep wanting to say it's colonial but that's because I've spent a lot of time in colonized countries. It's medieval. And amazing.

Our friends Santi and Olga picked us up and whisked us off to family lunch with Santi's family. Oh. My. God. So delicious. Tomatoes from the garden. Little shrimpy things that you suck the heads out of. Lamb chops. Cheese. Sausage. Everything. And more of everything.

Our hotel was once a monastery. It was grand and delightful and amazing.

And then we came to San Juan de Alicante, which is where Santi and Olga come every summer. Our sons are friends, and at some point after I'd convinced Nick that we had to leave the country this decade or I would up and die, we decided to join them. Our beach holiday. The first two-week holiday we've taken as a family and the second I've taken with Nick since our honeymoon. And the second he's taken in 15 years.

I mean, he's still working. But much less.

So. The Mediterranean. Is fucking spectacular. I'd forgotten how much this resonates with me. This is my ocean. Well, this and the Indian Ocean. Both warm and perfect.

When we lived in Cairo, we used to go to the beach in Alexandria. I mean, Alexandria Comma Egypt. And we'd pass old WWII tanks on the way.

We'd swim and we'd burn and it was hot and warm and wonderful. My brother and I would have cowrie-finding contests and we'd help each other scrape the tar off our feet and it was glorious.

This, for me, is the ocean. The Mediterranean. Water that caresses you. Water that's so salty on your lips. That even babies and Nanas and I can enjoy without an intake of breath.

The cold Atlantic and the even colder Pacific? Brutality.

But as I said, it is Mordor hot here. It is never this hot. People do not really need AC. Except this summer, where there is currently this crazy heat from Africa. Our apartment is kind of like a heated box of death. So we bought fans.

They mitigate the heat death a bit. Not enough.

We wake up hot and tired and crabby and it goes from there.

You go anywhere outside the apartment, and people are all, "It's so hot. It's never this hot."

You get in the elevator and people say this. You go to buy water. Everywhere. It's so hot. Dios! Que calor!

They say this with the appropriate accent marks.

Today we fantasized about sleeping in the grocery story. It was so lovely and cool. I said I'd like to sleep near the produce. Betty chose the fish because, despite the smell, it was near the bathroom. Practical. Nick said he'd sleep near the liquor.

We didn't consult the kids, as at the time we were considering giving them to a kind-looking woman who was assessing the tomatoes.

It is hot and these small people are fucking killing me. And now my wine has dripped on the keyboard. And they're clamoring for the ocean. No, the pool. The piscina! The beach! THE PISCINA! LA PLAYA!!!

I've been eating and drinking everything. This was advice I got. "Say yes to everything!" So I have. Even pig ears.

I'm too old to be propositioned. So I really can say yes to everything without awkwardness. Nobody is all, "Sex?" No. It's, "Fried pig ears? Like, well fried?"

Seriously. You'll be here one day.

So. We go to Spain basically...never. We go on vacation just about never. I paid good money to have one of these children. And something approaching that for this trip.

And yet I am all, ohmygodthesefuckingpeoplerekillingmewhatkindofvacationis? thisandit'ssogoddamnhot!!!

Mordor. Paella cooked over the volcano. Wretched ittle ingrates who run from you and complain that it's so boring when you want to go to an actual restaurant.

And still there are the sweet moments. Nana and India together on the swings. Family lunch with our friends. Paella with our friends while our kids, who run away but come back because they burn their feet on the burny sand, jump into our laps.

Vacation. Trip. Prison.

I am too hot. I am in my underwear, with a large glass of wine in my hand. It is so hot that the poor glass is dripping desperately. Betty is languishing in the other room. Nick has kindly taken the complaining kids to the pool.

We are in Spain. We are on the Mediterranean. We are hanging out with friends. We are eating and drinking all the things.

What I'm saying is, it's really pretty awesome.


  1. Love this post! Glad you've found energy to write. It is fucking exhausting, travelling with kids. I hear you! Have fun, hope it cools down. We're in the middle of winter down here in east Africa! Brrr. Actually not that brrrr. But still jeans weather. Which it isn't there by the sounds of t!

    1. Oh, Miranda, I needed to have a little bit of time writing, completely in my head, tuning out the little wretches. It felt so good. As for your jeans weather, oh, enjoy! Nope, not you wintering Tanzanians. It's hot hotshot North Africa they've been referencing.

  2. This is one of my favorite posts ever on LG. The sense of place. Humor. Cursing. International woman of mystery. Family antics. It's just lovely and so you.
    Have an amazing trip-vacation. Enjoy the beach, the culture, the wine (warrants it's own category). Safe travels!

    1. Thank you, Heather! I know you have an astounding memory, and I so appreciate it! We are enjoying and pulling our hair out and enjoying and sweltering. :) Big hugs!

  3. It is torture traveling with children. I would recommend considering (and I know it sounds awful) taking a cruise. You actually might really like a cruise to the Baltics, which would make stops in St. Petersburg (some itineraries have 2 or 3 night stays in this amazing city), Stockholm, Copenhagen, Tallinn, Helsinki and Germany. We took our 3 year old on a Baltic cruise last year, and the kids club saved us. Our son is actually a pretty good traveler, and enjoyed all the cities. We chased after him all day in amazing cities, and when we got back to the ship could send him to daycare and rest. He also really liked a Panama Canal cruise that is roundtrip out of Ft. Lauderdale. He got to see the Panama Canal, Cartagena (which is a really amazing city), Aruba, Costa Rica and Grand Cayman. There are a few cruises that do interesting itineraries so you will be able to see nice cities and the kids clubs are lifesaving on vacation so you don't want to hand your kids over to gypsies.

    1. I think a cruise is a GREAT idea! It sounds wonderful, and the idea of babysitters after sightseeing (sightseeing!!!) is amazing. I had to laugh at handing the kids to gypsies. It resonated a little too much.

  4. I laughed until I cried. I'm feeling less guilt about taking my kids on only one vacation in their entire damn lives (just ask them, they counted). We'll all have swell vacations now that they've grown. Together or separately. They can chase me down the beach. But probably not. They'll just all "oh, look at her go..... who knew she could move so fast?"

    1. Hahaha! Who knew she could move so fast?

      Feel ZERO guilt. I don't know when we'll take another one. We worked up to this one for a long time, and truth be told, this is taking a lot out of us. It's understatement to say we are struggling a bit.


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