Monday, May 12, 2014

The Tunnel of Elevation

There is a long stairway which goes to a portal on the periphery of the Santa Barbara castle, and once inside that portal you can see a plaza, and a doorway below plaza level across it and to your right. Should you enter that doorway and bear right, you'll see ahead a quite modern-looking tunnel - in fact, one of the few modern things save the glaring Star Wars banner at that portal - which is perhaps an eighth of a mile long, and not a little portentous. It turns out to be the way, I guess probably the only "official" way, to ascend to the upper battlements, via elevator no less.

Before I was done with that upper area, I had taken pictures three times for others, had one taken for me,
and bemoaned the lack of clarity for maybe my only view out over Alicante and the Mediterranean. It didn't warrant that much bemoaning; the weather was idyllic and breezy, and the view expansive.

In good time, I attempted to retrace my steps back down, and even though convinced, for once, of my orientation, somehow I still diverged unintentionally, ending up in a somewhat seedy, dense neighborhood of narrow streets and noisy children. But then quite quickly, back to touristville not far from the harbor, a rambla with tables arrayed, banners, sandwich boards. I had it in mind that it was time to be introduced to an area specialty, paella, a seafood delicacy, and so I paused to examine a menu board in a small plaza off the rambla, and was accosted by a waiter extolling the quality of his eatery's specialty. (I have just been corrected by my Spanish workmates in the matter of what is a "genuine" paella, meat not seafood, the seafood variant is called by them "black rice".) I decided I would take him up, and after some rambling around to get myself closer to the 2PM Spanish midday mealtime, I returned - and was served a suitably scrumptious repast.

(I have noticed a common practice between Spain and Italy, which I have also visited - they want to have you hang around after you eat. I am not sure whether it's more a cultural "go slow" thing, or just a bid to make their restaurant look more full.)

By 3 or so I went back to the train station to scope out departure times, and after awhile went with my ticket to ascertain which platform was right. (Pictured is what I'll call "the wiggly walk" near the harbor, on my way back.) Two women of generation-separated age stood there, and I asked them in halting Spanish whether they were clear on which one had the cercanias. A voice popped up behind me, "Escuchame," it said, I have the answer for you. The voice belonged to Jaime, one of those ever-confident, sometimes too famililar, endlessly friendly men of, in particular, Spain and Italy. He launched into elaborate attempts to clarify the system of platforms and reconcile them with the lighted displays showing departures, all in Spanish, he appeared to understand English very little. By the time we were done with our conversation, the only thing I was sure of is that, whatever train I boarded, it better be the one also holding the two women, or things would go suboptimally.

(TBC - next will be Night in Elche)

No comments:

Post a Comment