La Playa Part II - Malagueta Beach

Far, far away I'd become a beach connoisseur. We had been to this beach almost everyday in Malaga. If we weren't in the water, we were at the shore, on the boardwalk or in a neighboring place. There are other beaches in Malaga but this is the farthest point. It is adequate as the peoples beach. The few times that we went we saw the same faces, activities, peddlers and bartenders. There was the sun leathered woman who ran the umbrella chair stand. There were her senior and expat friends who took turns running it.There was the red headed teenage girl and her friends who smoked cigarettes while lathering each other up in tanning lotion. There was the nude lesbians who swapped stories with other sunbathers about tattoos.There was the hunk making pina coladas who was the splitting image of Manny in "Scarface". In observing these natives and tourists alike I realized most people come to the beach multiple times a day. The housewives come when the laundry is done. The business men come for a mid-day shandy and tapas. The gay boys are there with their grandmothers. After a few days of observing the natives  I knew what to do.

Our first beach trip was by chance. We basically stumbled upon it and just went to it for reflection. The second time was for her. I was totally not interested in swimming but it was relaxing to sit back under an umbrella. That day I saw that most beach goes came prepared. They brought empty water bottles to save the salt water. Some used it to rinse their feet off as they came and went. Others used the bottles to hold down unruly towels. One particular lady rinsed and detangled her hair in it. She was the first "housewife" type I saw who was on the beach alone and laying out with her top down. She was at least fifty and this appeared to be her daily routine. She was well equipped with a wide tooth comb, a little tube of hair conditioner and a ton of magazines. After a few hours she got wrapped her hair in a bun and walked off probably back to her nearby condo apartment and Almodovar life. I told myself I can be her if only for one day. When we returned the hotel I nearly drowned myself in bottles of Bezoya water. I had purchased a lovely Spanish version of Herbal Essences that smelled great but I had no idea of its benefits. I stock piled towels, updated my playlists and planned an outfit.

I mean this was no ordinary beach in some unknown waters like Barcelona. This was the Mediterranean Sea nearest to Africa and the Strait of Gilbraltar. I could easily come across a message in a bottle or pirates booty in the water. One had to be dressed accordingly to attract shiny things. We stepped out mid-morning and I was well equipped. We stopped at the boardwalk restroom to change and look presentable. She stepped out rather swank in a tankini and matching ikat shorts. For some strange reason she'd wet her hair and pulled it back to look like Judy Garland. I donned a straw hat because my surprise was in the bag. We found a great spot nearest a few guys and laid in silence. See there are no beach announcements or lifeguard stands or people playing music. Malagueta is fairly laid back. There was a youth retreat nearby and a racquet club so you saw children running in teams and heard people splashing into a private pool. Otherwise all you heard was waves, guys throwing compliments and a nearby bar making drinks at lunch rush. I played my music and I believe she read a few chapters of my Hemingway's "A Movable Feast". We had Manny make us some amazing drinks and then we went back to soak up a bit more sun. 

When she went to swim off the heat I took off my straw hat to start the conditioning process. I poured my reserved now warm sea water into my hair and then massaged in a some conditioner. I then wrapped my hair in an El Cortes Ingles bag and followed with a scarf. The gay boys next to us whispered about my regimen but eventually gave me an audible two snaps. When she returned I was in my Chiquita head wrap and fully immersed in warmth of hot, salty curls and non-sandy feet. We eventually got in the water together which was filled with little fish and people playing polo. The beach sand was hot. It is more or less dust in comparison to white sands. In leaving our feet looked more flirty than sandy so showers were vital and my water bottles were still handy. The hot sand was so brutal my PVC sandals became pliable. They literally melted and cold water had to revive them. They are Chinese Laundry too so I wasn't about to sacrifice them and walk back to the hotel barefoot. However, I never wore them again while in Malaga - way too hot for plastic anything!

Our next day trip to the beach was pretty bad. We decided to go in the late afternoon which I would not recommend for swimmers. For some reason the way the beach is shaped and near to port - the tide brings in every bit of debris in Spain. So the pristine beach that exists before 1PM was littered in trashy foam by 3PM. Oddly enough people swam in it and everyone did an audible stadium wave as trash bellowed in. We attempted to do this too but it wasn't working for us and we left within a few hours. If you're an avid beach goer this is probably normal but that particular day seemed to annoy even the locals. If you don't plan on swimming, laying out, sports, drinking was perfectly acceptable. I can't say that the beach was ever crowded there was just too much of it to be. The bars and restaurants are on the sand and inexpensive. Even ones further down nearest to the high rises and condos appeared to be reasonable. Of course there was a divey selection nearest to where we settled and further down the places went from walk-up watering holes to more refined, indoor South Beach style bars. Most places offered an outdoor BBQ for freshly caught shrimp and fish. Theres also great selection of restaurants are just nearby at the Muelle Uno/Pier 1 or we what considered "the boardwalk" nearest to the port. 

Overall, this beach worked for me. It was just ideal. It's the perfect beach to go alone and you won't be harassed or bothered. We saw lots of couples at the beach just relaxing. Children and teenagers on the beach weren't unruly which is a far cry from American beaches. I only witnessed one naughty child whose main complaint is he didn't want to leave. He pretty much argued in Spanish and then proceeded to run from the shower to roll in the sand which started the argument all over again. Had we started in Malaga and traveled back throughout Barcelona I would have been disappointed. I would have had the best introduction to beach life and then be thrown into overpopulated, overrated waters. Malaga has quite a few beaches so there probably is a place much like Daytona or Barceloneta. However, Malagueta is like heaven sitting on the edge of the Earth. We'd finally made it to true Mediterranean waters and it was the perfect ending to my playa adventures.

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