As we near the end of our vacation, there is a tendency, not to jadedness exactly, but towards a feeling that we've seen and done everything we set out to accomplish on the trip, along with all of the surprises that inevitably come our way. This is especially true if, like us, you spend an extended time in the same place. We don't wander all over Europe, we spend one week in this small Andalusian town and two weeks in that Andalusian town. We've been to Nerja four times since 2000, and we have as good a feel for the place as you can have while still being a tourist.
And so, when we went out for a bite to eat around noontime, we knew what to expect. We were going to a new-to-us cafe/restaurant, but we imagined the food would be similar to the other Spanish-style places we had been. And indeed, the Fantas tasted the same, and Robin's tortilla was the same, and my pork chop was the same. The place catered to the British visitors, though ... I couldn't have a bocadillo de jamon serrano but only one of jamon york, for instance ... but it was run by Spaniards and the food tasted "Spanish."
The one thing I'd heard about this place was that the most beautiful waitress in all of Nerja worked there, so I had that to look forward to. Of course, she wasn't there, but that's what I get for such desires. And if the story ended here, there wouldn't be any story at all.
Except ... as we sat in the patio (the Plaza del Olvido, the Forgotten Plaza), a passerby pointed under the table of one of the guests, and our eyes followed her fingers. She was pointing at an iguana.
Understand that I am such a fraidy cat that I would have felt uneasy at the sight of a tiny lizard. To see an iguana ... well, as far as I was concerned, this thing was as big as Godzilla. I don't know the Spanish word for "pet" ... to the best of my knowledge, pets are relatively new to Spanish society ... so I did what I always do when confronted by my insufficient vocabulary, I used ten words to say the one word I didn't know. I asked the waiter if the iguana was "a friend of the restaurant." He said yes ... in retrospect, I think he meant only that they were used to it, eventually someone from a house on the plaza took the iguana inside of their place ... and I guess I calmed down a little bit. Plus I was in Spain, and I'll be damned if I'm going to show my extreme wussiness in front of my countrymen. So, when the iguana made his way to the foot of my chair, I just smiled like it was the cutest thing I'd ever seen, and held my breath until it moved on.
Just when you think you've seen it all, I guess. I know better now than to assume that two weeks in Nerja means I know everything about the place. Perhaps my waiter sensed my unease, despite my efforts to act macho ... as he laid my plate of pork in front of me, he said "iguana chop."