The Pain in Spain, Vol. 3: Gibraltar and the American drinking song deficit
EDITOR’S NOTE: This is the third of a four-part series in which your beloved Uncle Randy wanders around southern Spain looking for fun, and finds it.
U.S. history tends to be short and violent. European history tends to be long and violent. If you’re a back-then European, then you needed castles because someone was always trying to attack you, kill you and steal your stuff.
And that leads us to Gibraltar, which is spectacular and sensibly British. Gibraltar enjoys an unemployment rate of 3 percent. It’s surrounded by Spain and its 25 percent unemployment rate.
However, in Gibraltar, you can also pay for things in British pounds. The exchange rate (about 2 pounds to a dollar) solves your dilemma about what to do about all that extra money making your pockets sag.
About seeing Gibraltar: You’re a tourist. Hire a tour guide. In fact, hire ours, Paul Del Mar, because unlike your high school Latin teacher, he’s hilarious. He’s also brilliant. It also helps if you’re touring with a recently retired British sailor who was seeing Gibraltar for the first time without beer goggles during shore leave. Also, it was entertaining watching him try to recall stories he could tell his lovely wife and their two beautiful teenage daughters.
Gibraltar has been prime real estate since creatures climbed out of the primordial ooze looking for a cold pint. It’s been fought over, conquered and re-conquered countless times. Early in World War II, the Brits dug tunnels and put huge guns in them to shoot at Germans who were trying to invade, which the Germans did with alarming regularity in the first half of the 20th century. When the war ended, the Spaniards said the Brits could keep it, so they did, because Gibraltar has beaches and sunshine, both sadly lacking in Great Britain. There was one semi-serious effort by Spain to take it back, but 98.7 percent of the Gibraltar folks voted to stick with Britain and told the Spanish Prime Minister to bugger off. Which I get to use because bugger has actual news and information value in this case. Not because I’m being immature and it’s fun to say … bugger, bugger, bugger.
Drinking song deficit
How can you drink all day with British college kids if you don’t start in the morning? It’s a legitimate question on the island of Malaga.
There are lots of places like Magaluf. If you’re a Brit in your 20s and trying to woo women, then this is your place.
However, if you’re of another certain age, closer to your extremely late 30s, like me, and all you have to offer 20-something women is wisdom, then head on up the road to Palma. It’s quieter, and you can talk politics with people who remember that the Carter administration was a modern mess.
Young Magaluf women seemed interested in a relationship as deep as the thickness of an American Express Platinum card.
However, if you move from Magaluf to Palma, then you don’t get to listen to British kids sing drinking songs all night. Brits and Germans have the world’s best drinking songs, although I don’t speak German, either, and they could be singing praises to Panzer planes for all I know.
Magaluf is adaptable, hosting Brits in the summer and Germans in the winter: Brits to brats?
America, the country that invented the V-8 engine and rock ’n’ roll, does not have great drinking songs.
The beach at Malaga is typically European, which is to say sun-drenched and spectacular. There’s this kid, a guy in his late teens, and he’s playing with jellyfish. Predictably enough, he got stung. To his credit, he didn’t fuss or whine. Like a hangover and credit card debt, it was a self-inflicted wound, and he took it like a man.
What he also took like a man is all the attention he received from nine teenage girls, who should have been in school, but were at the beach, which is probably time better spent since they could claim to be studying the Mediterranean’s boundless ecosystems.
A jellyfish sting raises a nasty welt, onto which these nine girls lavished all kinds of attention. Eventually, though, the princesses got bored and wandered off to find other people on whom to lavish attention, like guys with American Express Platinum cards.
Next week: Tiara and tassels: Graduation and Americanization, both of which some Spaniards seem to welcome. In the meantime, if you think of some great American drinking songs, then please email them to email@example.com.
Staff Writer Randy Wyrick can be reached at 970-748-2935 and firstname.lastname@example.org.
Modest Mouse and The Head and The Heart headline this year’s Vail Snow Days concerts, an Ugly Sweater 5k, and a tree lighting ceremony rounds out the weekend.