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Old July 8th, 2009, 01:06 PM
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Paul Motter Paul Motter is offline
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Default Malaga Spain

Last night was formal night – and I guess it is safe to say that European dress codes run consistently a notch below Americans. Last night, although I have my tux with me, I put on some slacks and a nicer polo shirt and did an exploratory surveillance before dinner. The suits were out, men in jackets and ties, well about 30% of them anyway, but far more than on the “jacket and tie required” informal night.

No one had a tux on. 70% of the people were still not dressed up at all. There were still the blue jeans and halter tops, on the men! The women generally looked a little better. The reality is that although Americans believe Europe is where fashion comes from, most Europeans don’t follow fashion.

So, I put on my black slacks, a nice blue shirt with matching necktie and my tux jacket. I think I looked rather stylish in that way Europeans have of dressing incongruously but acting as if every piece was selected on purpose.

I ended up at the late seating, which did not start until 10:00. If you have never been to Spain you just don’t know. I found out for my first time just a few years ago. The Spanish do not even begin to eat dinner until at least 9:30. You cannot find a restaurant open in Spain before 7:30 pm, and if you get there at that time you will be dining alone.

And so we started eating about 10:15 and we ate and talked until after midnight, literally. Now, it is difficult to do anything at midnight at my age, except sleep. And so I went to bed on a full stomach, which was pretty uncomfortable. I don’t know how the Spanish do it, but I believe they sleep until 10:00 every day, and they also take a siesta daily. Shops in Spain are open from 10:00 am to 1:00 pm, closed until 4:00 and then reopen until 8:00. Then everything shuts down until the restaurants open an hour later.

One thing I can tell you about the Spanish – they LOVE the water. I have never seen a more crowded swimming pool. And talk about chair saving, I saw people in line to get towels at 7:00 am this morning. There are many kids here, with nudity not uncommon up to age two and toplessness in young girls up to age ten seemingly the norm. There was even a bit of that in people closer to 40 than 14; One of them right on the main sun deck and others in a more secluded place.

Lunch buffet – I had special lasagna that was spectacular. I am not sure what region it is from, but it is only about a half-inch thick and has no red sauce or meet – just rich and hot ricotta cheese and soft flat noodles.
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