Meet the Rotarians

April 12, 2024

Day one:

Rota in the rain

  We had dinner in a family-run Italian restaurant located about a minute from our apartment. The little grocery was closed, but we were able to get a bottle of vino blanco for the apartment at a cheerful bar (La Silla Azul or “The Blue Chair”) across from that Italian restaurant. We walked out to the lighthouse, but it was too windy and cold for a beachwalk. Though in the course of that first evening, I learned that we were a moment’s walk from restaurants, groceries and the Atlantic Ocean. This was going to be no FUBAR, for sure.

We sleep well knowing no ship will come crashing through our apartment.

  In the morning I walked in a light rain to a bakery I would treat like a second home. Liberto’s Pan was a ten-minute walk, but worth every step. Warm loaves would make for great lunchtime sandwiches, as would the plump buttery croissants – if they survived breakfast. (A couple of tasty filled pastries and donuts ensured they would.)

     We opted to get apartment supplies at Alimentacion Casanova as our first order of business. The little Bodega had everything we needed for the first couple of days, anyway, until we could load up at a full-service grocery later on.

  Back to the apartment for our first nap in Rota. Then out to the castle and lighthouse for our initial exploring. We tried for a walk along the ocean, but the wind was really whipping. (Was the sea angry, my friends? It was a deli full of old men trying to return soup at the same time.)

A couple to start out the night right.

  Our second dinner out was at Badaluque’s, an oceanfront eatery in what appeared to be one of Rota’s main bar and restaurant squares. At least for us, the square yielded a couple of Guinesses at Paddy’s pub prior to a tasty spaghetti frutti di mare (for me), and a mango and shrimp salad that, unfortunately, promised more than it delivered for Carol.

 I respect their devotion but utterly reject what they’re devoted to.

  This was Sunday and the start of Holy Week – which in deeply Catholic Spain meant a week of daily nighttime religious processions lasting by one testament into the wee hours of the morning. Carol was enthralled and I was appalled. Catholics (I was once one, so I may speak freely here) owe the world plenty for its implacable positions on women, abortion and birth control and for the pain and suffering its pronouncements have brought particularly to the world’s poor. And the church’s rampant pedophilia and continued cover up of same makes the Catholic Church, for me, the world’s largest criminal enterprise.

  These processions, as Carol would observe them, include “penitents” marching in pointy white hoods for crying out loud! Even allowing for the stranger – in – a – strange land tolerance, it proved to be a bridge too far for me. All the photos you see are taken by Carol traveling solo. The weather seemed to be on my side in this argument, though, and many of the processions had to be canceled. I suppose I should feel empathy for the people who genuinely revere all this nonsense, but I just can’t. The crimes remain a true abomination of all that should be human. In this. I must say Carol remains the more ecumenical and overall better person.

A peaceable night to maybe teach me some perspective.

  And yes, travel is supposed to broaden horizons and breed understanding and universal brotherhood and all that crap. I’m working on it, but I realize I have a very long way to go.

   I mean, pointy white hoods? My God, is there no sense of irony here?

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