Friday, 18 June 2010

Todo del mundo

There are many idiosyncracies of the Spanish language that I've come to love over the passed five months. The very liberal use of obscenities still makes a smirk slide across my face, whilst their use of 'no' as an affirmative is something I've fully bought into. But there's one turn of phrase that never fails to prick my ears up as being so illustrative of the nations attitudes when it comes to adding grandiosity to a statement, the laissez faire attention to detail, and most importantly, the all-inclusive nature of life here, particularly when it comes to socialising.

Todo del mudo – literally all of the world – is the default expression used to describe instances or situations that lots of people take part in. For example, you might say “a las ocho por la tarde, todo del mundo va a pasear y a tomar aperitivos” - “at eight in the afternoon(!), everyone goes for a stroll and to drink pre-dinner drinks”, or “todo del mundo en los hostales son Americanos” - “everyone in the hostels are American”. It's also very effectively used to describe places where a mix of people can be found, for example, un bar de todo del mundo.

For the last two days I've been staying in La Quinta luxury golf resort, just outside Marbella, Malaga. As nice as it is, I think it's pretty safe to say it's not a todo del mundo kind of place. In fact, I'd go as far as saying it's pijo giri (posh foreigner) kind of place. So when Wednesday came around, bringing Spain's first outing in the World Cup, I decided to head out of the resort in search of what's left of real life on the Costa del Sol.

Thankfully, just down the road is San Pedro. A fairly sleepy working class town, who's occupants fill the various service industry jobs that the resorts, hotels, and leisure complexes that stretch the length of the Costa del Sol necessitate.

After having pootled into town along San Pedro's calle principal, I wrestled the battered old Nissan that I'd borrowed for the day into a tight parking spot just outside the first bar I came to – Bar Manolo. As I edged backwards and forwards in the midday sun, all four windows down, and sweat forming on my brow under the heat and pressure, another car slid up behind me, casually double parking, as if the road itself was one long parking bay. I'm still fairly new to driving abroad, and this is a custom I've yet got used to.

Anyway, if La Quinta is a pijo giri kind of place, Manolo's bar is the exact opposite. Inside, silver-haired old men sat sipping glasses of red wine. Men in work boots stood at the bar with cold San Miguels. A drunk with a big red nose and shaky hands shared shared rounds of tinto de verano (red wine and Fanta limon), with a table full of business men who'd knocked off early for the afternoon. Young mothers sat lined up in a row at a table, as their kids ran around the bar in front of them, dressed head to toe in the Spanish strip, complete with red and yellow head scarfs, and national flags painted on either cheek.

Manolo's bar is definitely a todo del mundo kind of place. A cross section of literally the entire town had come together for Spain's first big day. At least three generations, sharing in the pleasure of a national event unfolding on the big TV in front of them.

As the afternoon wore on, and Spain's chances were continually thwarted, there were many a furrowed brow, shaking of heads, and vocal cries of “!joder!” (no translation for that one), but this was all interspersed by the cheerful gossiping at the tables, the wheezy laugh of the drunk to my left, and the energetic activities of the kids, entertaining the families and anyone who cared to pay them any attention, instead of the football match they'd come to watch.

As it happened, not even good old fashioned togetherness was enough to change Spain's luck that afternoon, but instead of brawling in the streets, the inhabitants of San Pedro strolled along the paseo, and ate ice cream on the terraces. It was nice to see todo del mundo watching their team lose, and remaining cheerful about it.

Credit to Clare Brody and fedegottardo for the images.

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