MARINES in Vietnam used to deal with the insanity around them by imagining that it wasn’t real life. It was an acid drenched inversion of reality and they would count down the days until their tour of duty would end and they would return to “The World”.

As I enter the third week of August in Marbella, I can empathise with what they went through.

After two years of what I  refer to as ‘This, That and the Other’, which meant tourist numbers were down, the ‘Holiday Genie’ was let out of the bottle. ‘If you build it, they will come’ ran the phrase in ‘Field of Dreams’ and for Marbella this season, it was a case of ‘If you open it, they will come. Eventually. When they get through the horrendous traffic and find a place to park’.

As a long term Marbella resident, I always avoid Banus at this time of year. Driving towards Marbella and obvserving the traffic queueing to get into ‘The Port’, I had the realisation that I was witnessing a classic case of Lemming like behaviour. When you can clearly see that your original destination is packed to the rafters and yet still plough on. Let’s face it. If they are queuing a mile away from the entrance you are unlikely to find a parking spot or free table at a restaurant.

Giles Brown Column Hobson And Mootsey
Hobson and Mootsey. Image The Olive Press

Away from the madding crowds, every summer sees the arrival of ‘Hobson’. One of my closest friends, he is the Cheech to my Chong, the Eric to my Ernie and, more aptly, the Rum to my Coke. We have an almost telepathic sense of humour, especially at lunch, where he finishes my sentences while I finish his sardinas.

It was during one of our traditional beach Sunday lunches that I experienced a ‘grit your teeth and don’t respond to the Madrileños’ moment.

Our large group were enjoying a relaxed afternoon and the conversation turned to the recent fires and the brilliance of the firefighting planes’ pilots. We obviously began to hum the Dambusters theme. At which point the sour-faced Madrileño couple on the next table turned and began to shhh and scold us.

“This is a restaurant. Not your living room!”, piped up the polo wearing pijo.

 At which point Hobson had to restrain me from going into full Withnail in the Penrith Tea Room mode.

“We’re going to buy this place and put in a f**king jukebox!”

Considering that the national press was full of reports of people whipping out automatic weapons and letting loose in beach clubs earlier in the month, I can only assume that the mirthless Madrid couple were either heavily armed themselves (Bazooka in the Burberry bag perhaps) or were sporting the latest in Casual Kevlar Beach Body Armour.

‘Only a few days to go before they scurry back to Salamanca, dear boy’, advised Hobson, reaching for the ice bucket…

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