November 2009

About this time every year people start asking me about charitable organisations in the south of Spain. Christmas is just around the corner and we all start to feel more generous. The question then is how to find a reputable cause. In fact there is a plethora of good organisations to give to in Andalucia, and they need our help year round, not just at Christmas.
Salud Responde Must say I’m impressed these days with the regional health services help line. I’ll never forget how I had to go stand in line just two days after the birth of my second baby because it was practically impossible to make an appointment by phone. These days I just pick up the phone any time of the night or day – with my health card in hand, of course – and ring 902 505 060. So far I’ve always been attended quickly and politely. Within minutes I have an appointment along with the doctor’s name and even the number of the “consulta” (the doctor’s room in the health centre).
Everywhere you go in Andalucia you may need to learn a slightly different vocabulary in order to order your coffee just like you like it. As an example, here’s a guide to coffees in Málaga. Nube: Literally means “cloud”. This is just enough coffee to flavour your hot milk. Sombra: Literally “shade”. Slightly more coffee. Corto: Literally “short”. Less than half the glass is coffee. Mitad: Literally “half”. You guessed it. Largo: Literally “long”. More than half a glass of coffee. Manchao: Literally “stained”.
I love visiting the beaches of Andalucia in the autumn – no matter what the weather. At this time of year there are so few people on the coast that it’s easy to park and the beaches tend to be deserted. Perfect! When else can you take long, quite walks on beaches that are packed out in the summer? To be honest, I even take the children to the beach this time of year along with their sand toys and a blanket. I find that as long as it’s not raining or windy, the weather is ideal for playing on the beach.
Another holiday in Spain! It seems like we just finished the lovely “Puente de Pilar” (The Pilar Bridge Weekend) when everyone was celebrating the patron saint of the armed forced (and the rest of the world was celebrating Columbus Day).