Cheapest Place in an Old Town

30 May 2011

Fuengirola, España

No matter how crappy the beach may be, it hasn’t stopped me from wanting only it today. That said, it’s a great relief to my disturbingly inappropriate breakfast of an oily kebab; though when you’re really trying to gain weight you’ll eat anything that’s available during the bloody siesta.

I’m still confused about where I actually am, so have a little wonder around the town of Fuengirola. The name matches the place perfectly; this place has the air of an old, abandoned resort town of the 80s, with its pink and green apartments and golden yellow suns decorating the street fences. After having spent some time on the beaches here this all makes sense, as the Balearic Islands (Ibiza, Majorca etc.) and the Mediterranean ones outdo poor ol’ Costa del Sol.

I sit down for a meal outside one of the indistinguishable hundreds lining the front. To my right I hear a thick English accent, turn around see a group of three bikini-clad English girls ordering a Spanish waiter around. I can’t even understand what they’re saying, apart from that they want ‘a heap o’ chips’. Christ, what the Spaniards must think of the British, especially the English…

With these unfortunate thoughts in mind, I head back to what I’ve discovered is just a cheap hotel. In no way is this more obvious than in the stories that I begin to hear from the German receptionist and, surprise surprise, Dominic the Thai who’s in reception on his computer. These two guys are interesting enough, actually; Christian the German has the straight stereotypically serious German face, who doesn’t laugh at anything at all – as if he would lose his ‘superiority’ to laugh at jokes. Dominic is as strange as his life story, with his Polish father and Thai mother nowhere to be seen, and his dismissal of needing to go to school at all.

I note the strong smell of vinegar around the building, and this gets them going on the story behind the disturbingly skinny man who I saw being escorted by policemen when I first arrived. I say’gets them going’, but really it’s just the German telling the story, proudly and authoritatively.’The year they made contact” was at 3am, with a call asking whether the hostal had vacancies, despite the fact that the Russian didn’t know where it was nor where he was. Over the months, his behaviour kept going downhill. Now, he is seen walking up and down the stairs with nothing but bottles of vinegar and oranges, his scrawny limbs struggling with the weight. I say scrawny, and I truly mean it; 5 to 6cm in diameter each limb. He protects this extremely fragile body with extreme hygiene, in waking up half the hostal with his thirty minute long showers in the middle of the night, entire room and furniture covered in garbage bags and frequent parading around with rubber gloves on. The German tells a story of how his girlfriend went to get something from the room at 4am: she walked upstairs, turned a corner, and in the darkness of another, saw the Russian with rubber gloves and all standing and staring at her in the darkness. She sprinted downstairs screaming wondering whether what she saw was real. ‘He’s been for one and a half years. He is still paying daily, and keeps trying to hide his identity. You’ve seen the police.’ He finishes strongly, adding’I prefer the smell of the vinegar to the guy before! He didn’t shower for the whole five months he was here, and I could smell him from metres away’, juggling with the anti-odour spray like it’s a trophy.

‘It’s what you get in the cheapest place in town!’

Midnight’s passed, so we head up to the German’s room, which consists of a big German flag as big as the TV next to it, stacks of both pizza boxes and empty cans.

Can you imagine how dodgy this looks past 2am?

‘Have you seen human centipede? I think it is quite funny.’ There’s no emotion in his face even though he says it’s funny, but one thing is for sure is that he is serious about something – I just don’t know what. His desktop wallpaper on his computer is of a face being gouged out by a knife from a horror film. For the next half hour he skips through to’favourite scenes’ of “The Human Centipede” and “Freddy vs. Jason”. They’re grotesque and just simply shite films, but I still don’t know what the German thinks of them as he just sits there and stares at the screen. Dominic has been tapping away on his laptop, but decides to go home, leaving Christian the German and I watching “Jackass” until it’s just about time for the Russian’s shower. It’s a good opportunity for me to scamper off into my room safely, locking the flimsy wooden door as securely as it can be.