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Spanish Secrets: Fur Coat And No Knickers

...The marina was crowded with ocean-going motor cruisers; floating palaces of the rich and famous. Several of these were surely large enough to be classified as ships. Prestigious marques front the narrow quayside like an international motor show. Open topped Bentley Continentals, Maseratis and within the space of 100 metres, three gleaming-red Ferraris.

Mingling among the hoards of camera-snapping tourists are designer people wearing designer clothes. The correct badges of exclusivity mark them out from the rest of us mortals. Well groomed pooches nestle underarm or quiet babies hang casually from hip and forearm like designer rag dolls...

Craig Briggs visits one of the Costa del Sol playgrounds of the super-rich, and is far from impressed by what he sees there.

For more of Craig's engaging words about life in his own choice area of Spain, rural Galicia, please click on Spanish Secrets in the menu on this page.

Our turkey and tinsel holiday destination for this year is the winter warmth of the Costa del Sol. After loading the car with everything we could possibly need and a whole host of items we surely wouldn’t, we headed south.

It was a dark, crisp morning when we departed. As we trundled through our deathly quiet village the temperature reading displayed minus seven degrees. A white sequined blanket of frost covered the countryside reflecting the morning sunlight like a blinding mirror. It wasn’t until we’d reached the outskirts of Madrid, some 500km further south, that the temperature finally crept into the positive.

After a further 500km we were descending the mountains towards the sprawling town of Malaga and gazing dreamily at the turquoise tones of the Mediterranean Sea. Our destination was the resort village of Puebla Aida.

The village nestles in the foothills overlooking the coastal town of Fuengirola. Puebla Aida is an architectural flight of fancy. The focal point of this fantasy village is a mock Moorish castle. Within the castle walls are a select number of luxuriously appointed apartments, one of which is our home for the next fortnight.

The approach road to the castle meanders through the Mijas golf course. A palm-lined avenue of tarmac winds its way through beautifully landscaped and impeccably manicured pastures of green, undulating into the distance. Shimmering sporting images ripple in manmade lakes as fountains cascade into these cooling oases.

Our passage through the tees, fairways and greens is briefly interrupted by a quartet of geese waddling line a stern, from the water-trap on the fifth hole to the one surrounding the ninth green.

We quickly settled in to our marble-clad surrounding and have now begun to explore this busy area of Spain. A short drive along the coast is the exclusive resort of Puerto Banus. Here we parked the car and headed off towards the harbour.

The marina was crowded with ocean-going motor cruisers; floating palaces of the rich and famous. Several of these were surely large enough to be classified as ships. Prestigious marques front the narrow quayside like an international motor show. Open topped Bentley Continentals, Maseratis and within the space of 100 metres, three gleaming-red Ferraris.

Mingling among the hoards of camera-snapping tourists are designer people wearing designer clothes. The correct badges of exclusivity mark them out from the rest of us mortals. Well groomed pooches nestle underarm or quiet babies hang casually from hip and forearm like designer rag dolls.

Another shiny Ferrari rolls slowly by. Could Enzo ever have envisaged that his thoroughbred racing creations would be used as top of the range motorised wheelchairs.

Behind this very public show of wealth are sea-front apartments. Stained and flaking paintwork give the backdrop to this resort a rather tacky and tasteless appearance. It’s difficult to imagine anyone with taste would want to display their lavish possessions in such a seedy environment.

Proof in itself that money can’t buy everything and that there’s no accounting for taste.

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craigandmel@msn.com

Copyright © 2006 Craig Briggs

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