The morning air is utterly neutral on my skin. Those Atlantic breezes do their thing overnight, and bring down temperatures, so we don’t suffer the way, say, Florida does (Orlando is on almost the same latitude as Tenerife).
Outside the main door of the apartment block the delivery guys are sitting on the low wall that surrounds the grassed, center part of the walkway, waiting for the supermarket to open its back doors for their deliveries. They chat quietly and smoke. Soda cans and plastic bottles have been tossed onto the grass overnight, and, mysteriously, yoghurt cartons and a handful of curtain rings.
This is a barrio, a ‘hood – even in a town so small there are divisions. It’s the sort of place where people hang out of their ground floor windows and chat with friends on the street. Sometimes I’ve passed one of these conversations on my way out to walk Trixy, and it’s still going on when we return.
Conversation is a serious business around here. Already in the couple of weeks I’ve lived here I’ve hurried to the window thinking a big argument was taking place outside, but it was only the delivery men flirting with the supermarket girls, or women hanging around outside the hairdressers a little way down to smoke their cigarettes.
Butt ends decorate the grassed area too. It’s not that busy a street. Not so many people walk by, so I guess a lot of those are tossed from windows.
The air is still. Maybe the winds will blow up later as the day warms up, and the windsurfers will hurry down to the beach, but right now there is that kind of hushed feeling that reminds me of when it snows in England and everything seems muffled.
A dog barks from a first floor balcony. The lights flicker on in the new deli cum greengrocer. I exchange shy smiles with a young girl walking her Yorkie, a cheerful “Buenos Días,” with a former neighbor who is also walking her dogs.
At Playa Chica we linger briefly for me to inhale the familiar, seaweed-y, ozone-y smell of the ocean, and then amble the length of the boardwalk. At the end of the pier, as always, there are three or four fishermen trying their luck, and a guy with a white, plastic bucket stumbles around the puddles in the black, volcanic rocks, looking for bait among the wee fish trapped by the outgoing tide.
A couple of runners pass us, I can see swimmers further along the bay, a guy is stopped astride his bike adjusting his helmet, a copper-skinned young woman in sparkly white shorts and crop top with matching kneepads skates across the road, and folk are unloading surf boards from cars all along the road. This is a sporty town.
The air now is rich with smells from the new bakery, fresh bread and the sweetness of Danish pastries mixes with bitter coffee. I buy a croissant and turn for home.
The deli is open now, the delivery guys are clattering their trolleys from truck to supermarket, people are emerging from doors in work clothes and scurrying along the street, and a few birds add their notes to the evolving sound of an El Médano morning.
I turn the key in the front door, and again in my apartment door. I make coffee and take it out to my little balcony, where my laptop and my croissant wait. I find the early morning here a good time to work.
I am, it seems, for now at least, home.