Meet the Rotarians 

April 23, 2024

Days 3-5

Devon and the Deep Blue Sea

  While the weather remained quite unsettled by wind and rain, we were still able to take advantage of the breaks to make a couple of discoveries that would help define our stay in Rota. The first couple though, not so much.

  A friend of Carol’s had recommended a flea market operated by local gypsies out near the bus station. Imagine a flea market popping up at New York’s Port Authority and you have a pretty good visual of what we came upon. Not seeing much of anything that would interest even Goodwill, we wandered off into town where an apparent branch of that “fleece” market operated a fast buck eatery out of a hole in the wall behind Paddy’s Irish Pub. The manager “kept track” of his food and drink orders by hand in a spiral notebook that seemed to be filled with random jottings of the weather, the state of the economy and, perhaps, container ship departures and arrivals. What he was clearly not keeping track of was actual food and drink orders, as I watched him create a total for me for a couple glasses of wine and two tapas that came to 55 euros, more than we’d pay for two full dinners and a bottle of wine at just about any other time during our stay. That was some magic notebook. Probably has a formula for changing lead into gold somewhere in those pages. (Maybe that’s what he used to calculate my bill?)

 This flea market might really have sold fleas

  Happily, these would be the most disappointing experiences of the entire three weeks we’d spend in Rota. The rest would be one pleasant discovery after another.

Beginning with Azucar de Cuba, a female-owned beach bar and restaurant located at the far end of Rota’s oceanfront, Playa la Costilla. By our first Friday there, the sun had broken through and offered us a dazzling view of crashing waves and scudding white clouds mixed with the clink of wine glasses toasting the whole scene. We quickly made a dinner reservation for the following Monday timed for a sunset off the restaurant’s western edge.

Paradise Found: Cafe Azucar de Cuba

  Friday was also game night for the Cadiz football club. The 9:00 p.m. start precluded us from attending the game in Cadiz, but we decided to find a sports bar and watch it with some locals. We found one a minute’s walk from the apartment.

  Meet Point had screens displaying the women’s NCAA basketball tournament, a PGA tour event, a Mets game and a boxing match. It took a few minutes, but they ultimately found the Cadiz game as well.

Meet Point: Just enough of the States to keep from missing them

  Meet Point was run by an ex-Navy man named Devon, who’d opened the bar and eatery ten years earlier to attract personnel from the navy base during the NFL season. He was able to pull in any sport televised on Spanish television as well as American TV. He also advertised a Sunday dinner special of Southern fried chicken and Mac and Cheese, assuring Devon and I were destined to become well-acquainted in the coming days and weeks we’d be in Rota.

  Things were falling into place quite nicely now, and the weather forecast was for plenty of sun and warming temperatures. Would two weeks in Rota be enough? 

  Next: Mind merge.

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