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Malaga, Andalucia, Southern Spain, costa del sol

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Malaga Airport

Malaga airport is different every time I come here, and that’s quite unsettling- but then all airports by their very nature are unsettling. It seems to double in size exponentially, and all the farms and houses which were quite happy before are now swallowed up, except the one which is protesting about the encroaching appetite of the airport, with a home made angry sign.

 The train station feels like it has moved, but that’s only an illusion resulting from major building works to the north and east, which involve new subterranean roads, astonishing amounts of car parking, and even more shiny new terminals.

It’s a long way, physically, politically and functionally from my first visit 30 years ago, when there were 3 terminals,- Nacional, Internacional and Militar. The odd group of gypsies will now have a hard time skipping on and off the trains, performing a Sevillana, and passing round a hat with laughter and song. The New Spain has a lot of smartly uniformed guards standing on stations, on trains, and security cameras everywhere.

They do like a good uniform- I nearly joined the police in Spain 20 years ago because the women had such stylish culottes, they were really very chic. I can’t decide whether it is the result of 40 years of dictatorship, where uniforms generally implied power, bureaucracy, or the need to display a sense of importance.  You see this in schools, especially junior schools where the girls’ uniforms often include an incongruous tartan pleated skirt.

Sitting on a bench, on the smoking terrace, enjoying the wintry but warm sun on my back, there is so much to see . I idly watch a couple manoeuvre 4 dogs in 3 travel cages, plus substantial luggage, down a steep walkway from the car park, destination Netherlands from the labels clearly attached.  The sense of expectation that it will all topple over, or the couple lose control of one of their trolleys, is almost too much to bear. The dogs, one large black, 3 small assorted brown in one cage, and ominously, one cage empty, look nonplussed, as thought they do this all the time, but can’t quite remember what happens next..

Meanwhile the two skinny young men, possibly German, maybe Dutch (not near enough to overhear), with the serious camping gear and oversized rucksacks are devouring a couple of bananas. It looks like the end of their holiday, and they will certainly need more jumpers when they return to a decidedly chillier northern climate. As they finish off  their rough sandwiches, the tannoy announces the last call for Mr Bertrand, passenger for Bruxelles. He had better hurry if he is going to make the departing flight before the gate closes, and then I realise, looking at my watch, that it’s time for me to go too.


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