An Expats View On Life In Nerja

…..all playing Paddle Tennis. Not all at the same time obviously, the optimum number of players on any one court at the same time being four. But within a few days of each other, all communicating with varying degrees of success in, of course, English.

Balcon De Europa, Nerja

Balcon De Europa, Nerja

Friends over there who have yet to visit us over here are forever asking me, “Why Nerja?” Well we here know, there are lots of reasons of course, but the longer I stay, the more acquaintances I make and the subsequent friendships I forge, when I come to think about it, it is the enormous privilege of having a circle of friends who hail from countries from parts of the world that my old dad, love him, would not have been able to pinpoint on the map. Mind you, my old dad, love him, didn’t take the same route from our street door to the corner shop more than twice, being as he was, the most geographically challenged individual that ever lived.

But surely one of the great appeals of living here in Nerja is the cosmopolitan-ness of the place.

Coming as I do from London’s East End one of the things I genuinely do miss about the old country is the number of ‘Joe Blows’ who arrive as they have done for generations from all four corners of the globe, bringing their culture and cuisine with them and who, in spite of those who would try to have us believe differently, live side by side as neighbours in peace and harmony going about there daily lives with one common purpose: to get on, provide for their kids and enjoy their lives. A bit like me and the rest of us really. Good luck to ‘em I say.

How interesting it is then, and how delighted I am to be able to enjoy the experience of a multicultural life from the perspective of ‘the foreigner’. Of course I wasn’t forced to leave a war-torn country, although driving a cab around London all day is not so dissimilar. Neither did I flee famine or political oppression. And although I gather the people of south east England are unable to hose their cars down these days, when I left, they weren’t sending their young on route marches to fetch water. But, here we all are nonetheless.

Everyone you speak to has a different reason for being here or at least for being away from the land of their forefathers. Of course it would be not unreasonable to assume that in the case of the Northern European contingent, the three hundred days plus of sunshine that this coastline enjoys would be our main motivation and I certainly wouldn’t deny that. However, for some of my friends who have settled here from Argentina, Uruguay along with their Latin American neighbours, their sojourns began for the reasons mentioned above – fleeing political oppression or improving their economic situation in the bosom of the ‘Mother country’ – but like the rest of us, deciding they liked the place, they stayed.

And a good thing too! If you were anywhere else other than in Nerja during the last world cup then you have my genuine sympathy. Lord Tebbitt would have wholeheartedly approved of our universal support for the team of our host country right up until they played our own of course. Fortunately, I had the good sense to buy my England T-Shirt from M&S which meant that, only having to wear it once, I was able to return it to the store looking like new and change it for three pairs of underpants. Always handy. But apart from our Dutch chums, there we all were -Germans, Englishmen, Argentineans, Chinese, Swedes, Senegalese, Irishmen et al all supporting and sporting the red shirts of España, my own incidentally, bearing the number 9 and the name ‘Torres’ on the back causing on one occasion several young women to chase me up Calle Pintada in the mistaken belief that I was their handsome young hero. All of us shoulder to shoulder blowing long plastic trumpets as our valiant chicos weathered the two-footed tackles and all round bad behaviour of their Dutch opponents to run out victors and carry the World Cup back to Nerja. True! They even displayed the trophy here.

Rincon del Sol Burriana Beach Nerja

Rincon del Sol Burriana Beach Nerja

Sadly this week I read in one of the English Language papers that due to the crisis, many of our South American friends and neighbours have to return with their families to the countries of their birth in order to find what work they can there. Meanwhile, the number of Northern Europeans who hope their pensions will go further in the sunshine than in the rain increases, giving the local economy a much needed boost. Hurry up and get here I say. Be a part of, and contribute to, Nerja’s multiculturalism.

The European Nations Cup is in June and it’s only two years to the next World Cup so we should all be starting to make preparations. I suspect there must be some kind of publishing / advertising requirement that obliges me to state that M&S are not the only retailer prepared to refund or exchange an England T-Shirt providing it’s in perfect condition and on display of a receipt. Who knows – the appointment of Roy Hodgson as the new England coach may mean we’ll get to wear it more than once, rendering the garment un-exchangeable. That in turn may mean be a boost in the sale of underpants this coming Christmas. Already the future of the economy is looking rosier!

By Daniel Kruyer – Copyright 2012.

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