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aguilas 2.0

March 7, 2012

When I was seventeen, there were few thrills I found more satisfying than staying out all night gallivanting and boozing in the streets. Being too poor for skydiving or bungee jumping on a regular basis [or ever] I sought my adrenaline rushes in acts of rebellion. I found underage drinking, breaking curfew and sneaking into neighbors’ pools while they were away on vacation or asleep all surefire ways to achieving this heightened sense of invincibility. I rarely needed anything [except for occasionally French fries from Wendy’s] to keep me smiling and flirtatious and quite simply, happily awake, until the morning hours.

Then around twenty-two, my brain and body raised the white flag. Refusing to put up with such continued abuses, all-night extravaganzas became fewer and fewer and I often found myself opting to stay in and watch a movie rather than further develop my social life.

Not surprisingly though, adulthood still brings thrills that I once associated with the aforementioned activities [you’ve got to find your rush somewhere, eh?]; however instead of invincibility in risky behaviors, naughtiness has morphed to take the form of the satisfaction of indulgence: purchasing overpriced lipstick from MAC or Bobbi Brown or a pair of sexy shoes that I can only wear with a specific dress, during a specific season, to a specific type of establishment [for example]; ordering champagne with dinner [or lunch]; and gluttonous desserts. Let’s hear it for chocolate and macaroons, eh?

This past weekend*, the vast majority of Auxiliares in Murcia [who I know, at least] traveled to Aguilas to celebrate Carnaval. It sounded like it would have been a blast. Honestly—despite my ever-growing lameness in the party arena, I’ve never been opposed to costumed debauchery. Unfortunately, it being mid-February it also sounded cold. Really cold. And with the plan being an all-night botellon [outdoor party] in the streets of Aguilas, stumbling on the first train home in the morning I questioned whether or not I could rise to the occasion or if I would be whiney and miserable circa 3 AM with three more hours of “fun” ahead of me.

Debating until Friday evening, I was eventually enticed by the alternative—shopping, cheese, and wine.

Now, let’s be frank: shopping, cheese, or wine could each be considered epic in its own rights, but the combined threat of all three make for a trifecta of awesome. Like, Mentos in Coca-Cola awesome: you know it’s going to be good, but you’re still caught off-guard by the fizzy explosion and the subsequent giggles.

My friend Anthony and I started the day with a Corte Ingles** shopping excursion. “I told Ben to meet us at Santo Domingo in an hour,” he mentioned upon meeting up. “I figured we wouldn’t need that much time for lipstick and shoes.”

Lipstick AND shoes in one hour? Knowing quite well that I could spend an entire afternoon at Tysons oogling at the MAC counter or in Sephora, I traced my memories for any occasion that I had bought even just lipstick in under an hour. Nope, blank.

Enter panic mode.

Feeling pressured and not wanting to be “that girl”, I scooped the first color that remotely resembled what I was looking for, Bobbi Brown’s Lip Color in Chocolate. Yum.


Upon further review, it’s not quite what I had hoped paired with the envisioned hair and outfit, but it adds a little variety to my overwhelming array of reds and pinks. [Just in case you were wondering in the least.] Regardless, it was completely worth the equivalent week’s worth of groceries I parted with to purchase it.

Next up? Wine and cheese fanatics rejoice! We met with Jess and Ben in the Plaza Santo Domingo and walked over to La Lechera de Burdeos—a little spot in Murcia that totally takes the cake. It reeks of stinky queso and while to some this is a total nightmare, for those of us in attendance it was a fantasy. We were presented with a sample of five cheeses and two wines selected and paired by the shop, plus dried fruits, crackers, and membrillo to snack on. I personally dug all of them*** [sopresa, eh?].

"if you give four twenty-somethings a bottle of wine, they're going to ask for a second one to go with it." and maybe a third.

starting the day with deliciousness.

cow, cow, cow, sheep, goat. happy farm family.

Buzzed from wine, but bellies still empty, we then hiked to the Plaza de los Flores for tapas [and Santo Domingo for frozen yogurt—shhhh]. I unfortunately did not record these hours as the tapas were mediocre at best and llaollao, while delicious, is not an altogether infrequent occurrence in my life here. Enough of you have experienced pretty plazas filled with flowers and me eating ice cream. Use your imagination and put the two together. Then fill in the blanks with people speaking Spanish.

at plaza de los flores. this wine? the epitome of ordinary.

At this point in the day, things could have gone in two directions: we break, nap, and then reunite for our much discussed river runs and spin classes, or we give in to ourselves, embrace Aguilas 2.0, and buy more booze.

Our sunset champagne river walk proved to be a great success. Somewhat surprisingly with our pace, we even caught the sunset. Regrettably we only bought one bottle of champagne, but quite fortunately happened upon Bar Luky during our meandering. Incredibly cheap beer buckets just as the bubbles run out? Yahp. We’ll take one.

riverside toast. ultimate splurge: plastic champagne flutes.

after a day of corks, anthony is baffled by the bottle top.

mmm: watery beer with a patatas bravas finish.

Six hours after our tapas, hungry yet again, we rounded out our European food tour at an Italian spot in the Plaza de Teatro. I’m salivating just thinking about it. [Or is that from the peanut butter banana sandwich I’m currently devouring?]

risotto&pizza party.

fear not fellow veggies, only not cute animals were harmed in the making of this seafood pizza. (obviously i in peace sebastian.)

supersonic(knucklesandwich) salad.

cruet of spicy pizza grease.

italian food and red wine—almost as classic as peanut butter and jelly. maybe more so, if you're not american.

teamwork in recapturing the spirit of rené magritte's "the son of man".

Then?—Onward to an Asturian bar. The cons of this spot? Wine tasted like fermented sheep urine. The pros? A bottle of said fermented sheep urine cost only 3 Euros and there was novelty in drinking it—you pour drinks at your table from a funky easel-like machine that makes it fun. Who doesn’t love fake drinking games?

toy or torture device? ring the bell and find out...

unanimous vote for toy.

Wandering lastly to the Murcian rum bar I finished my night with an Abuelo and Coke. Inhaling the scent of summer I almost forgot that I would soon be stumbling home in the cold.

does that come with sea salt and a tan?

procrastination of goodbye...street corner style.

With big hugs and besitos we departed around a reasonable 2 AM, coming to a group decision that there was no shame in not finishing our drinks—we are adults now, right? Fifteen minutes later I was happy, home, and snug in my bed, drifting into dreams smirking, considering those still in the streets over an hour from home. Exceptional and unexpected, it was my best day in Murcia yet.

And you know what? On Sunday I even got up and went running.

Game over.


*Sometime in mid-February.

**My friend Lisha [who lived in Murcia] told me that Corte Ingles was like if Macy’s and Super Walmart had a baby. This is spot on. But, living in Spain on a 700€/month budget, purchases equate to those made at Whole Foods and Neiman Marcus. They have a bit of a paper-cut sting.

***In reality, the cheese was actually pretty delicious, but something about eating that much mold as the powder flaked on my hands and teeth freaked me out enough to shake my taste buds into thinking it was poisonous.

3 Comments leave one →
  1. Sara permalink
    March 7, 2012 3:45 pm

    Great entry! I love Bobbi brown!

  2. Uncle Jeff. permalink
    March 7, 2012 4:37 pm

    It’s diet-coke Maddy

  3. March 9, 2012 3:50 am

    Ughhh all of your entries make me want to be in Spain so bad!

    And I’m glad to hear I’m not the only one feeling like an old grandma reminiscing about the hard-partying days… at the ripe age of 24. When did we get old?! I miss college…

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