First five days in Costa Del Sol

Trip Start Jun 24, 2005
1
5
86
Trip End Mar 24, 2008


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Friday, July 1, 2005

Costa Del Sol has changed a lot since I was last here. What used to be empty bare land is now replaced with brand new hotels and apartment towers. There are new highways and the roads are significantly busier. The cities from west to east: Marbella, Fuengrirolla, Benalmadena and Torremolinos have expanded very close to each other. When you leave one, you enter the next.

We rented a small diesel VW Polo for 10 days. It is smaller than a Golf but is an average sized car here. The stick shift is not bad and the engine has spunk for the highways. I enjoyed very much my drives along their coastal highway last time I was here. However, the gush of new tall buildings along the highway block what used to be a beautiful unobstructed view of the Meditereanean.

We drove to the Mountain town of Ronda yesterday. The path to Ronda is 50 kms of winding mountainous road. Ronda is a town split by a deep gorge but connected by a magnificent bridge built in the 15th century. The engineering feat aside, I marvel at the bravery of the people who built this without all the modern safety nets.

LG flat screen monitors, Sony TVs and Haier air conditioners are everywhere here but seldom do you see Asian people besides the few who have opened Chinese restaurants. Tourists are mainly British or German so we often get stares.

Shoe making has historically been a strong industry for Spain. You will find a variety of shoe stores along the streets with many selling Spanish made leather shoes and sandals. However, as with all industries, innovations and outside competition always threaten to change the status quo. There is much bitterness towards the low priced Chinese made shoes especially by the shoe industry unions. Shoes on delivery trucks and in shops have been burned. I have mixed feelings about this. On one hand it is obviously unlawful. But it also illustrates a part of human ugliness when they decide what is their right (in this case, selling shoes at their desired price) has been violated.
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Comments

faer700
faer700 on

Funny Town Planning
Ronda sounds stunning! I wouldn't have thought to build a town with two halves separated by a gorge if I was a town planner, but this is definitely much more exciting/romantic/picturesque.

paulandmel
paulandmel on

Stares
We get stares a lot too, but that just might be because we are travelling in the nude (just kidding). There are many countries that definitely are not as used to Asians as in Canada ... or Asia. Being Asian Canadian leave you in a no man's land - you speak English but you don't look like you should. People usually assume we're Japanese.

jjwong
jjwong on

Re: Stares
haha, that´s true. Everyone thinks we are Japanese. A bargain gone bad between me and an Italian old man once ended with him cursing me along the lines of ´Japoneessse %&·$%##´. Although I find that more travelled people would ask me if I am from Singapore (Asian and speaks english)...but should be able to tell the difference between N. American english and singlish

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