Grandma Grey Bla Bla’s to Benidorm

Grandma Grey at  Poniente Beach

The photograph is rather good, a bit grainy, but good. The t-shirt I bought in Paris after being released from the police station looks very posh, except the baby I’m holding is hiding the lovely sequined logo.  I’m sitting at a table on the Av de la Armada Espanola, squinting at an English newspaper and wondering how on earth I’d managed to end up in Benidorm.  A young woman with three kids in tow heaves a fully loaded Tesco’s bag for life, down onto the beach. I’m trying to ignore the little flashing light on my phone. That’s my son John in there. If I open those messages, it’ll be like opening Pandora’s box, all the evils of the world will spill out and overwhelm me, especially as I’m supposed to be in Morocco, not sitting here on Poniente Beach with no money, no clothes and no place to stay.

It all happened at once really and I still can’t get my head round it. While I was waiting to pay my fine (see previous blog) l got this thing come up on my phone saying I could go to Morocco by bus. Well, that sounded delightful. The nearest I’d ever got to Morocco was watching Bogart and Bergman in Casablanca, and I don’t suppose that was really Morocco, more like Warner Brothers Studios. Anyhow, there I was considering my best options when a message comes up from John. “Where are you!” he wants to know. “Can you find your way to Eurostar!”  He’s not asking he’s demanding, I can tell because he’s using exclamation marks instead of question marks. He gets that from his dad. He thinks I’m still in Paris. So I texted him back saying, “Here’s looking at you kid”, and pressed send. I don’t suppose he’s ever seen Casablanca.

It all went swimmingly at first. I decided not to go directly to Morocco. 30 hours on the bus is a long time, so I decided to do it in stages. I’d go to Barcelona on a Quibus first and then to Valencia on an Alsar bus. It’s all there on the internet. You can surf all round the world. I wish my friend Vera was alive we could have done this together – the pensioner’s version of Thelma and Louise eh? Anyhow, from Valencia it seems you can take a ferry to Tanger-Med in Morocco. Fancy that! I decided to consider this on the way to Barcelona. Except it all went terribly wrong.  I got to Barcelona no trouble, even got time to visit the Museu Picasso, I’d always wanted to go there, but my now poor dead husband just said “don’t be daft, why’d you want to go there for!” (Note the exclamation mark). So that was the end of that.

Grandma Grey Goes Bla Bla

Anyway, I got on a bus headed for Valencia from Santes coach station in Barcelona after booking a hotel online, I settled back and enjoyed the ride. Valencia’s a huge place and for the first time since I started surfing I felt a bit vulnerable being on my own, but then I got talking to this elderly couple in my hotel who were heading for Benidorm. They said they were going by Bla Bla Car, and would I like to join them? Well, I have to say I was a bit dubious, but they explained it was a car share and there was spare seat. Well I googled it of course. “Share a Car with Bla Bla”. It seemed legitimate and I liked the idea of a car called Bla Bla. Since it was on the way to Morocco I said yes. I was unaware, as was Tony our driver, that the couple would sing Agadoo all the way to Benidorm. Tony kicked us all out in Benidorm Old Town just after they started singing YMCA. I managed to ditch them at Poniente Beach telling them I had a friend in one of the hotels.

How did I end up on the front page of the Daily Gazette holding a baby? Well that part was easy. I am Grandma Grey after all! It was like falling off a log.  I was sitting on a low wall gazing over at Benidorm Island considering my next move when I happened to see a young woman with a baby in her arms. She was struggling to get something out of her shopping bag. She looked at me a bit helpless like, so I offered to hold the baby. To my astonishment, she turned on her heels and ran off leaving me with the baby! Well, I was mad! I went after her. She was so surprised, she stumbled. She fell to the ground so I sat on her. The baby was still swinging from my hip. When John was a baby he was such a miserable little thing I took to carrying him around when I did the housework so I’m an expert at such things. It was then I noticed that someone had nicked my handbag and trolley case which I’d abandoned chasing after the women who was now gasping for air. I’m a bit on the big side.

Grandma Grey’s Photo Opportunity

Once again I found myself in a foreign police station, this time trying to explain why I’d attacked a complete stranger in the street.  The upshot was this. It’s a baby scam to distract tourists while they are being robbed. With the woman in custody (who knows if it’s her baby) the police think they will be able track down her accomplices and my belongings. Some local reporter was in the police station, took a photo of me holding the baby and hey presto! I’m on the front page of the Daily Gazette:  “Grandma Grey foils baby scamming ring“.  I’m waiting now for the police to find me somewhere to stay till I get my stuff back.

I open my messages, all of them from John. I will reply later. I’ve just picked up a leaflet in the cafe here. Morocco can wait. It seems there’s a place called Mini Hollywood in Almeria where they filmed all the spaghetti movies like A Fist Full of Dollars and The Magnificent Seven.  I quite fancy playing cowboys and Indians!



Published by shirleyjustwrites

I have been writing for many years as a lecturer in history and health and social care. I now specialise in travel with a focus on solo travel for women 60 years and over. I have travelled extensively in Europe and visited New York for the first time in 2016. It was love at first sight, although, I have to say I do love Paris and spend quite a lot of time there looking for writing inspiration. I ive in the Midlands and have a second home in Central France The aim of my travel writing is to encourage older women to be confident in their solo travels, whether by plane, train or bus.

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