Keeping up with the Cadzians

May 11, 2024

Days 9-11

Meet the Rotarians

  The winds had calmed, which meant our day-trip to Cadiz would be by ferry and not by bus. You might remember that Cadiz had been our original planned destination, but thanks to Carol’s monumental screw up, we wound up in Rota, and as Robert Frost said of the road taken, “that has made all the difference.”

He suddenly broke from his family circle and joined the throw-a-round, no doubt fascinated at being able to touch the ball with hands and not incur a penalty kick.

  We expected Cadiz to be more crowded and touristy than our off-the-beaten track Rota (which, in one of the great misnomers of all time, means “broken” in Spanish), and in these we were not disappointed. Cruise ships descend on Cadiz in swarms, and it is not unexpected to have two or more of these OK Boomer hives docked there at the same time. The name “Cadiz” derives from the ancient Phoenician word meaning “enclosure.” True to its heritage, Cadiz’s main square, Plaza de San Juan de Dios was stocked with just the right clog of street sellers, buskers, and  spoken American English that your incipient claustrophobia has you heading for quieter environs. Which happily do exist.

 A nice way to cross the bay

  We found such a spot at Parque Genoves, a leafy, tiled expanse of green that follows a seawall that was the model for Havana, Cuba’s Malecon. We managed to stroll all through the lunch time service period of most cafés, but did find one that wasn’t McDonald’s, but would have been better if it had been. (Carol’s cod was bony and my chicken strips seemed to have come from the Mrs. Paul’s freezer case.) We dawdled until it was time to catch the ferry back to Rota, further convinced now we’d stumbled upon a Spanish paradise there.

  For instance, there was that warm and sunny afternoon that found us ensconced in a beachside bar overlooking a sparkling ocean view. We watched several Americans (from the navy base?) tossing around a football. A little Spanish dude evidently became mesmerized by the weird oblong object being handled with hands instead of feet. He suddenly broke from his family circle and joined the throw-a-round, no doubt fascinated at being able to touch the ball with hands and not incur a penalty kick. 

  When he was shown that the ball could indeed be kicked, he was all about trying punts and field goals, with predictable results. “You can’t kick a ball shaped like a blimp,” he seemed to say. 

Cadiz’s prettiest spot

  And then his father joined in. There were introductions all around, and the father became the glue that bound the group into a whole new community of international recreation. Yes, I was characterizing what I saw through very rosy glasses, but I was on my third glass for crying out loud.

Keep Rota for Rotarians!

  There would be another day trip to Cadiz. Carol had a ticket to tour the cathedral. But we would catch an earlier ferry home that day, deciding to let Cadiz have its cruise ships and, hopefully, keep them all for themselves. A day-to-day life in Rota was now emerging, one centering around the ocean and its promenade of locals who seem to have long known what Carol and I have just discovered here. We can only hope they’ve also figured out how to keep it this way. 

  At least for as long as we are able to visit here twice a year.

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