In the 60s, when Marbella was still a small Spanish town, it had only three hotels, a few guest houses and a hostel. In a bay in the middle of the city, there was a small beach with golden brown sand. There—for a few weeks in May— we, four young backpackers from Sweden, lay and sunbathed, surfed on air mattresses, ate cheese sandwiches and drank red wine.
      We speculated that Marbella would soon become a tourist paradise. And so right we were! A few years later, the city had grown at a furious pace and northern Europeans were invading its streets and squares. But we enjoyed the simple life at the hostel, the promenade and the little playa.
      The shallow bay often had waves high enough, which were well suited for surfing on with air mattresses. You waded out for about thirty meters, waited for a wave, threw the air mattress on the wave, threw yourself on the air mattress and let it carry you ashore.
      I myself had no air mattress. But I borrowed one from Hasse in exchange for him getting eggs from me, that I cooked at the hostel. When we ate lunch on the beach, he peeled half an egg, put it in his mouth, peeled the other half and stuffed it in as well. Then he did the same with another egg. Then he rinsed everything down with a big glass of red wine.

In the southern Europe, it is common to go out to a restaurant or walk late at night. The mosaic-covered promenade was full of people walking. A light breeze blew in from the sea, the cicadas played in the park and high up there, thousands of stars twinkled against a velvet-black sky. The air fluttered with romance.
      Then one day, our routines changed dramatically. Two girls had spread out their bath towels and taken a seat on the beach, some distance from us. One was as beautiful as Nefertiti, the other had a more personal look. I decided to join Nefertiti. And it might have gone my way had I not done away with myself completely.
      In the evening, we split up in pairs, testosterone-fueled after feasting on Brazil nuts and avocados. We were like cavemen who were looking for the girls we saw on the beach. 

                                    Artist: Vladimir Volegov

Bengt and I came across them in the park. The plan was that we would proceed cautiously so as not to repel them, in order to eventually win their trust, preferably the same night itself.
      -"Hey," we said.
      -"Hi, were you surfing on the air mattresses today?", wondered the "personal" with a slight smile.
      -"Yes, we were," Bengt said and smiled as broadly as he could without cracking his crisp, sun-fried face.
      We followed them for a few steps, which they did not seem to mind. Bengt and I resumed a discussion we had started earlier. It had an existential character, intensely fueled by diet pills from Pharmacian, which made our brains go at full speed and our mouths became drier. I argued that it did not really matter who we got on with. "Que Sera Sera, whatever will be, will be," I quoted Doris Day.
      When I then, according to the plan, tried to approach Nefertiti, she was not on the notes at all. She said she had heard what I had said, that it did not matter who we got on with. Then I understood what a blunder I had made. It could not be explained it away, even though I claimed that philosophy and practice were two completely different things. Right then, at that moment, I didn’t like myself or the beautiful girl.
      But in any case, I got together with the "personal", which turned out to be better in most things than I first thought. The beautiful one got to go where she wanted, and I think she and Bengt went their separate ways later. Unfortunately, there was no continuation between me and the "personal". Holiday flirts are often short-lived and ours was no exception.

A few days later we packed our backpacks and took the bus west, looking for new adventures. We were several wisdoms wiser on the crooked path of life.

Copyright text 2020, 2021 © Björn Johnsson