I have not learned any more about the unique language of the Alicante region of Spain, because I have been too busy drinking Rioja and Ribera del Duero to learn anything beyond the presence of the many spray-painted street signs.
My dad brought us to a beach he knew of on Friday. He obviously wasn't wearing his glasses the first time he went to the beach because he didn't realize it was a nude beach. Not that that would be a problem. We are open minded people. However, it was THAT kind of nude beach, the kind where creepy men linger. This old guy with no teeth and sporting the shirt-no-pants look decided to pose for my dad. It was enough to make us cut our outing to the beach short and head off for a good laugh and cocktails at bar that overlooked the Mediterranean. Nice alternative.
The party crew trickled in over the weekend. Anthony and Audrey arrived on Saturday from Luxembourg. We prepared a feast at the villa, and between Anthony, my dad and I (Young and Suta barely drink and Audrey only likes white wines), we finished off two bottles of Ribera and one bottle of Rioja. Anthony and my dad agreed upon the lack of haute ciusine in Espana, whereas Suta tried to argue for the case of the tapas. I tend to agree with my dad, not just because he's my dad, and not just because I'm a francophile, but because I fell in love with French food because it tends toward the scrumptious and unforgettable. It seems like most Spanish restaurants serve similar menu items--ham, potatoes, olives, fried fish, paella. Don't get me wrong, the paella is delicious, but there's an art to French food, and the Spanish food seems to be something to keep you going in between bottles of vino.
We picked Sheila up from the Valencia train station on Sunday afternoon. She was happy to report that Barca won the footie game the previous night. We headed off to a paella restaurant, where we had some seafood paella which was delicious, paired with a Rose. The loud and family-style ambiance reminded us all of dim sum on a Saturday or Sunday afternoon in San Francisco, and we all kept expecting the carts to roll around with shrimp dumplings at any minute. After a filling meal, we lazily strolled the harbor to check out the America's Cup boats. Unfortunately, I won't be around long enough to see any of the races, but it was fun to see the boats, and learn about the history of the event.
On the way home, Suta was finally initiated as a true Tieche when we sent her off to steal oranges and lemons from the orchards lining the sides of the roads. My dad always made my brother and I do this when we visited our relatives in Fresno. It seems logical though, since so many of the fruits were lying on the ground going to waste. Young got some photos of my dad and I stealing loquats the day before, and commented that a family that steals together stays together. So, passing her final milestone, we thereby anointed Suta with the new name Sujata la Xara.
When we returned to the villa, Anthony and Audrey made tapas and we drank another bottle of Rioja. Since Anthony and Audrey were returning to Luxembourg the next morning, we were determined to find the bamboula (our code name for party) in this sleepy retirement community of what my dad calls fat Brits and fat Germans. Sujata la Xara joined us (she needs to be prepared for when she comes with us to Paris in 2 weeks). Anthony noticed some spotlights so we followed the light, so to speak. We ended up at a lovely outdoor terrace, but inside was a giant disco ball and dance floor. These local guy showed up and put on a break dancing show, spinning on their heads and all. Sujata la Xara and I finally decided they need to share the floor and so we took over from there. The four of us stayed until they closed the place, and Senorita la Xara earned the position of la princesa de la bamboula. Let's see how she fares in Paris!
But tomorrow is off to Barcelona for the girls, and Senor Tom, or as Young calls him Mr. T, will go back to being Citizen Kane in his castle, and the European adventure for all of us continues.