2017 Vuelta a España: Stage 11
I talk to some friends. I get my feet wet, really wet. There are lots of puddles and umbrellas and smiling faces and kids and it is wet.
I Stage 11 Report
- Today is a low point for me, it’s raining too hard to take photographs and I’m missing my kids’ first day of the fifth grade.
- Also, the café con leche I purchased from the Repsol by the beach had poison in it.
- Also also, this morning my alarm went off at 7:50 because I was supposed to go for a run, but it was dark and raining outside so I didn’t. Now I feel great shame and profound sadness. Anyway, in the .03 seconds before I fell back asleep I couldn’t help but notice that Klaus was awake and looking at his phone under the covers. Doing what I don’t know but whatever it was, it was accompanied by Heavy Metal music. Later I learned that he was reading the news, looking-up things on Wikipedia and designing a user interface for a stock trading application. And listening to Megadeath’s Rest in Peace. He woke up at 4:30am.
- When I woke up ten minutes later because I hit snooze instead of OFF, I put my noise cancelling headphones on because Megadeath in the morning is not my kinda thing.
- The start is wet. Really, really wet. And I didn’t pack my rain gear for this assignment in Spain in August.
- I talk to some friends. I get my feet wet, really wet. There are lots of puddles and umbrellas and smiling faces and kids and it is wet.
- Later, when I got back to the car, I break a nail eating pistachios because my hands and nails are that water logged.
- The laundry bag I fasten to my camera with rubber bands keeps my camera totally dry.
- Speaking of pistachios, I also eat a unit of semi-cruda cheese and a bag of Ositos de Oro. I’m off the Ositos these days, but let me tell you something: they’re fresh and vine-ripened here in Europe. They taste like they were picked this morning. The texture is unreal. But yeah, when I get home, no more.
- My feet are wet for the whole day.
- The first climb, a Category 1 called Velefique, is thrilling just to drive up in the rain. It is raining, otherwise we might have forgone the finish to shoot the race as it came up this 47,000 switchback-having monster. Also, while the mist was atmospheric and melancholic and I’m sure they need the rain around here, I would have loved to see the real view from up there.
- The amount of mud and water and rocks on the course the last few days has been astonishing. Does the Vuelta have a peculiar or non-traditional take on course surface management? Does anyone know? Also, if you’re a puddle lover, wow, you should have been here. Some of the best puddles I’ve seen in over a decade. Big puddles, deep puddles, moving puddles, surging puddles, growing puddles, tidal puddles, muddy puddles, ALL OF THE PUDDLES were represented here today on the course.
- Klaus and I talked in the car today at great length about a post-high school job I had at a candy and novelties store called Heaven. Heaven was on the second floor of the Beverly Center by the movie theatre across from the Sport Chalet—”TAKE IT TO THE LIMIT!” It was during that period of time I learned about the dangers of nuclear sugars like sorbitol—I was trying to lose weight and had become obsessed with sugar-free bazooka, eating sometimes as many as 30-40 pieces a day—and the phenomenon of public Glory Holes. Not the urban myth kind of Glory Holes, but the anonymous ads placed in local newspapers to meet up and do stuff until eventually you get arrested during the 7:35 showing of Madonna: Truth or Dare kind.
Located only blocks away from The Gallery Indian, Azafran is a slightly more upscale eatery. Its customer base appears to be largely made up of British tourists. Its décor, as you might expect, is absolutely the same as all other Indian restaurants. We had always thought Indian restaurant décor was similar around the world, but now we think there is an Indian restaurant starter kit that automatically comes with opening such an establishment. It was unusually dark though, and a nearby karaoke bar’s music (and singing) drowned out the restaurants auditory offerings. Karaoke songs that we heard being performed by the same woman included Queen’s “We Will Rock You”, and Rick Astley’s “Never Gonna’ Give You Up”. Manual for Speed staff had a particularly deep conversation during this meal. It was downright emotional. But we think it was a product of the amazingly touching rendition of“Never Gonna’ Give You Up”.
- The aloo gobi was not remarkable. Potatoes were a bit hard, though the cauliflower was cut in chunks that were exactly the right size.
- The garlic naan was almost identical to The Gallery Indian Restaurant’s. Considering its proximity to that restaurant, we wonder if they are owned by the same person/s and designed to make customers feel like they have a choice of Indian restaurants in this neighborhood.
- “I’ve never had a good lassi prove me wrong.”
- Mixed pickle was PHENOMENAL.
- Mango lassi was way too sweet. WAY TOO SWEET. But drinkable.
- The chicken tikka masala was incredible.
- The palak panner was also amazing.
- This place is maybe the best of the three in Alicante. I didn’t even care that we had to listen to Whitney Houston and Rick Roll’s greatest hits for the first thirty minutes, and drunk British tourists singing karaoke for the second thirty minutes. (In both instances the music was coming from a shared courtyard area and not from inside our new favorite Indian Restaurant.)