The Spanish way with pay & display

The Wi-fi collapsed after two days in Spain under the pressure of having nine teenagers or thereabouts trying to access it at the same time so there is a certain amount of catching up to do.

There are always learning experiences when abroad. We were shopping  in Archidona and getting ready for Christmas Day. When we were there on our first day I thought I had spotted a market and so insisted we go back on Christamas Eve to get our meat fish and veg.

The town was a lot busier than when we had been there before and there were less places to park. We thought we had found a space outsider the post office but then noticed the serious looking yellow lines that were telling us to go away.  I got out of the car and found another space around the corner.

As the car was being backed in I looked behind me where there was a sign telling me how much we would have to pay to park there. I looked around for a box to put my money in but there was nothing there although a short Spanish man in a flouresecent jacket was walking purposefully towards the car. He helpfully guided it in over the last few inches and then started to negotiate over payment.

We explained we were English and held up 2 fingers so that he knew that we were going to be there for 2 hours. He understood and produced a small green ticket and tucked it under the windscreen wiper and then took our money.

The market was a slight disappointment.  We had obviously got there late and most of the stalls were closed with their shutters down. But some were still open including a small fishmonger, butcher and grocer. So we had most of what we needed.

There wasn’t much left in the fishmonger but she had a couple of trays of fresh prawns so I took kilo of those. The butcher didn’t appear to have any lamb but there were a couple of pert looking chickens in the cabinet. There were two elderly ladies in front of me and the talk between them and the ladies bahind the counter was tight and constant. The ladies behind the counter were wearing red Santa Claus hats and every so often one of them started to sing Jingle Bells in Spanish. The two chickens had gone by the time it came to me but they were able to fetch another one from the fridge out back.

We then went to the supermarket which was substantially busier than it had been last time we were there. The highlight there was the fish counter. It overflowed across the aisles, the trays spilling over with fresh fish There were hake as thick as a man’s thigh and next to them a fish of similar size I had not seen before, they were a vivid red and angry looking. Someone ordered one and the girls behind the counter had to man handle it onto the scales it was so big the tail lopping out. I bought my boquerones and half a kilo of some strange looking flat prawns, in fact prawns that looked as if they had been hit square on and evenly with a heavy frying pan.


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