I’m writing from a motorhome park near Alicante, on the east coast of Spain. There’s a cool breeze and some shade beside the van, for now. But I did find a public area out near the road which has shade all day long so I will visit there when the van shade disappears. It’s a bit of a palaver following the shade but it keeps me sane – well worth it.
This area of Spain seems very fancy on the one hand with pretty beach-side promenades and a tram and expensive restaurants and on the other hand huge high rise apartment blocks. It’s also a bit more expensive for groceries. But the people in the campsite, the owners are lovely. They are also remarkable. To hear them speak three languages in a group of people is pretty amazing.
Yesterday I was outside writing in the sliver of shade and there was the strongest breeze blowing – perfect moment – when I heard a crash and looked up to see a neighbour’s awning blown into a crumpled mess. I’ll tell you our awning story another time but for now you need to know awnings are great and at the same time delicate in certain situations. Situations like wind. They need to be rolled up or tied down when the wind blows.
Now, the neighbour’s van looked deserted and locked up so I needed to do something. All around were French, Dutch and Germans and not knowing how to explain to them I went in search of the park owner. He was in the reception area and I was scrolling through my translate app for the word for awning but there were a lot of words to figure out so instead I said, I have to tell you something in English! It’s like something I’ve said to a friend when I was breaking bad news, there’s something I need to tell you… Anyway he was working on something under the desk but bright as a button he says, that’s ok I speak English.
I explained the problem with the awning and the wind and the missing neighbour, he locked up the office and off we went. The aforementioned French, Dutch and Germans were gathered around the awning by now. One more thing you need to know is there are a lot of different awning manufacturers and they each seem to have invented their own method for rolling up their awning so although each of these people had an awning and a pole for rolling it (or automatic rolling – imagine!) none of them had the right one for this awning. (Ironically, our awning pole would have worked but as our awning story will explain we no longer have an awning or an awning pole…)
The manager took in the situation straight away and started talking to each of these people (Note: he may not have spoken dutch but as I have mentioned before the dutch nation’s superpower is having the grasp of most languages on earth (slight exaggeration, only slight) so they understood everything.) Anyways, as he spoke to each one he looked at them and knew which language to use and each time someone said something he replied in their language. In this way he found someone with the right awing pole and he started to roll the distressed awning. And then he turned to me and said Thank you and he turned to each of the others and said thank you to them in their own language. If you don’t think that’s amazing, I’m not telling the story right.
Then we returned to our vans feeling like we had done a good job of being a human. And the people who own the van have no idea what happened around their home from home. I can imagine them saying, didn’t we leave the awning open this morning?