So Janice and I, in typical fashion, always migrate our way to the seedier parts of town. The parts of town where the working class people live, hang out, and socialize. It is around 5pm, very hot, and Janice suggests she buy me a cerveza in this small pub along this narrow side street - who am I to pass up on an offer like that?
Have you ever had one of those experiences when you walk into a place and every one stops what they are doing and stare at you? Like in a David Lynch type scenario? Of course we walk not only into a pub on a Monday afternoon, but into a gaming bar, and all the old guys are playing cards, betting sheets on clip boards fastened to the wall. Oh, did I mention Janice was the only woman in the place? If you could only have seen the look on their faces, it was priceless.
So we order a beer sit down, and this Tom Waits looking sort of guy wants to chat us up in Spanish. We couldn't understand a single word he was saying, and the bar tender shakes his head and rolls his eyes with that look like he is thinking, cripes, there goes Tom Waits again, scaring away the new patrons. It was actually pretty hilarious.
We drink our beer in peace, I sketch, and we watch the old guys playing some sort of card game - the cards looked more like tarot cards than the cards we are used to - not the standard clubs, spades, hearts and diamonds. As we leave one of the older guys (a German Engineer actually) asks us, first in Spanish, then in perfect English, if those guys in the bar were bothering us. He had never seen us before and wanted to make sure all was OK. We just laughed and said they were harmless; just having a good time. That was when we realized they all thought we were Spanish locals.
"You aren't Spanish? What are you guys doing here? Nobody ever comes here? Where are you from? I thought you were Spanish! You guys are Canadian? And you came to the Barrio? Tony, they are from Canada, aren't you from Canada?"
"Jesus no! I'm from Italy!"
"I thought from your accent you were a Brit."
"Grew up in South Africa."
You get the gist - We ended up having a very animated conversation with an expat German and Italian guy, who couldn't figure out why were in the barrio - "tourists never come over here, they always stay on the town-side of the canal." We ended up talking about the economy, or lack thereof, jobs in Gandia, why they left Germany and Italy, the political situation in Spain, industrial mining and tunnelling equipment made in Lahr Germany where I used to live, Donald Trump - you know, the normal stuff you discuss with complete strangers on a sidewalk outside of a gaming bar in a foreign country.
They were pretty happy though, when we told them this area was THE interesting part of Gandia. They agreed that it was where the cool people live, where the beer is cheap, but they did say the food is definitely better downtown.
Never a dull moment!