Being African in Malaga, Spain
Living in a place is different from visiting the place – I came to realize this after moving to Spain temporarily. It was such a culture shock moving from NYC to Malaga, Spain. It takes time to get used to the fact that most places close for Siesta (2pm -5pm) and on Sundays (as with every other European country). Another thing I never got quite used to is the very tranquil environment – this is absolutely good when you’re on vacation but when you need to get stuff done, it can be frustrating- there is no sense of urgency in this part of town. It takes a lot of patience and getting used to.
At the end of my time in Malaga, Spain (of which I plan to return). I made a list of things that I found helpful and useful during my stay here.
1. Manicure and Pedicure: This was a struggle to find in the first month. it is not very common to find mani and pedi places in Malaga (although after 2 months in, I started noticing random mani salons). My classsmates and I have been searching. We finally found a couple of places but they’re so expensive. The places we found are called – Manos y Pies express on Calle Villafuerte, D-unas nails on Calle Hilera, 6 & Beauty and Decoracion de unas on Calle Martires, 12.
2. Wax: I haven’t seen any real spas here or major waxing places. I usually go to the W Bliss Spa in NYC but since I’m not close to W hotel here, I honestly don’t know what to do (perhaps go back to using shaving cream). I’m very picky about waxing but the place D-unas has waxing services. I’m skeptical to try their services out just because I am so picky.
3. Eyebrow Threading – I haven’t found any place for this. A friend told me the closest one is in Marbella, which is about 2 hours via bus.
4. Fresh Habanero peppers – They don’t have habanero peppers at the supermarkets popularly called Mercadonas or Supersol in Malaga. One of my classmates found one store in Malagueta called Fruteria La Malagueta on Calle Fernando Camino, 11, that sells fresh chili Thai peppers from Uganda. I also found dried cayenne peppers at the Supersol. There is also another good market for spices and fresh vegetables called Green Elephant aka Mercado Atarazana in Malaga Centro. I found some habanero peppers at the African store my last week in Malaga.
5. Sweet potatoes – I haven’t seen fresh sweet potatoes either, the ones at the Fruteria are sold baked. It is called batatas asados – I tried it, it wasn’t bad.
6. Apple Cider Vinegar – I haven’t seen this at any of the supermarkets but found it at Teas and Spice shop – Tienda De Te Y Especias in El Palo by the tunnel opposite the church. I like fresh tea markets and here you can get you spices as well.
7. Cranberry juice – I found some cranberry juice mixed with grape at the Mercadona but I haven’t seen pure cranberry juice.
8. Apparently there is an African store in Malaga and Marbella. I haven’t been to them though. I found this beauty supply store called Lasani Cosmetics on Calle La Union, 26. Beside the beauty supply store is an African store, you can find a lot of spices and food products here. they are opened Lunes – sabado 9:30 am – 9pm. There is also an African restaurant by the African store.
9. Good restaurants and bars: Restaurants that I went to and I liked are La Cantinenta (pizza), El Pimpi (nice drinks and food), Tapeo Del Cervantes, El Paloma, La Cabra, Las Tortugas, La Cantinetta, WOK noodles, el ChiKiteo, Marriott Hotel Rooftop Bar
10. For those who enjoy working out – gym memberships are quite expensive here but you can totally enjoy running ouside along the beach and use the street workout machines by the beach. We also found a yoga place called Alice’s Yoga & Beach Homestay and a dance/Pilates class called Escuela da danze. I went to Yoga Sala for a month, it is on Calle moreno Monroy, 5. The teachers are really good and I enjoyed my yoga lessons there.
11. Went grocery shopping at SuperMercado on February 19th and I was so happy. For the first time I felt I could live long term in Malaga. If you love pasta like me, you know the importance of good tomato pasta sauce. I finally found something like preggo sauce and it was good.
12. Songs I’m falling in love with in Malaga – On Va Dance, One Night in St Tropez, Todos los Dias
13. Transportation: Transportation here can be crazy, so plan at least 2 hrs ahead. This is the schedule for transport from Malaga to other Spanish cities
My first experience with the public transportation to a neighboring city was my trip to San Pedro and Marbella on Valentine’s day. It was such a struggle trying to figure where the bus was located and trying to figure out the bus schedule. The attendants at the station are not really helpful either, so definitely plan ahead. Fortunately, the trip was worth the hassle. San Pedro is very beautiful – the port is beautiful and very romantic. We walked by the beach at night and it’s so peaceful – listening to the sound of the ocean is so relaxing. I just pictured myself laying down with a blanket and a bottle of wine by the beach – of course taking a nap after the wine. I hope to go back to San Pedro, this time I’m planning ahead.
If I think of more things about my stay in Malaga, I will update this post accordingly. For now this is what I could think of