36:36.78N 6:20.76W Rota - A success story

Thu 8 Oct 2015 15:42
Before leaving on our next leg Rob and I decided to spend a couple of days relaxing on the beach. Equipped with rug, towels and brolly we pitched ourselves next to the stone pier near the marina. Lying peacefully we realised this had been a mistake as the smell meant the outfall from the pier was still in use. So the next day we walked along the beach to the vicinity of what looked like a really nice beach bar, The Azucar (sugar) of Cuba, complete with muslin drapes wafting elegantly in the breeze.
As you can imagine after a couple of sunbathing hours we were happily sitting at a corner table with four American Naval lads seated around a cable reel table enjoying their lunch next to us. When they had finished and left four more came to the table as if in a rota (!) system. They were all very friendly with the owner who was charming to us and proudly showed us the award with which he and his staff had been presented the day before, for The Best Chiringuito (beach bar) in the area, no doubt helped by the American patronage.
That evening we wandered ashore after dark to hear the clatter of horses hoofs on the cobbles and four very fine carriages being pulled by a pair of mules, a beautiful black cobb and horse teams with their well dressed drivers. We discovered they had just delivered 15 ‘brides’, beautiful young ladies of all shapes and sizes, wearing identical (except for size) full length cream  lace dresses, to the centre of town so they could be escorted by their fathers in a long, slow moving procession to the ayuntamiento or town hall, in a castle like stone building around a cool, tiled courtyard. I wondered if this could be a mass wedding such as they have in Japan and China, but there were no grooms. There, behind closed doors, the queen was chosen and crowned and they all then made their way to the public square where they took their places on an elaborately decorated stage for speeches etc. Needless to say the towns people were decked out in their best clothes to enjoy the spectacle. Two of the fathers were dressed in Naval uniforms and I wondered if they were America or Spanish from the base. Rota certainly knows how to show itself to the world.
Interesting that there are protestors who want the Americans to leave, perhaps with America’s involvement in Syria the protestors feel it makes Rota a hot spot. All the while we were there the aircraft carrier, four warships and numerous helicopters were out on daily exercises. But I fear the town would decline in many ways if they leave.
3rd October Bruce and Caroline from Flirtie, their Trident Voyager 40, came at 9.30 for a breakfast of scrambled eggs with smoked salmon and after hearing all about their trip to Seville, where they stayed in the Murillo as we recommended to them, they left at 1.00 and we made our way up to the supermarket for a final food shop.
4th October The time to move on was upon us and we busied ourselves with preparations all day and went for a long walk as far as the American base before returning via a delightful Italian restaurant which was one of the few open on Sunday evening. Walking back down the pontoon to Zoonie I said, “Shall we take our Jamesons to Flirtie and see if they’d like a drink?”
Well suffice it to say they had a very good selection of port after their visit to Porto so the evening concluded in an amicable haze.
5th October. Our muzzy heads the next morning were not our only reason for delaying the departure by one day. During the night the wind got itself into a frenzy and we could hear the waves crashing against the harbour wall. Dawn kind of appeared under a leaden sky but the day had no promise, so we spent it recovering and walking the other way around the town before a ‘dry’ evening!