Saturday, May 18, 2013

A Teenage Trip to Peniscola

I had a wonderful Saturday and can't wait to share all about it on the blog, but that post is slated for Monday ;) See, I'm planning posts in advance. Progress!

In the mean time, I will carry on with Blog Every Day in May with a vivid and descriptive story from my childhood.

At age 13, I travelled to Peniscola with my French grandparents, their 12 year old tutee Kevin, and Amelie, a family friend and the senior at 15 years old. Peniscola is a beach city in Valencia on the Spanish Mediterranean coast (with a rather... provocative name). I normally spent my childhood summers at my grandparents' house in the south of France, so this jaunt to Spain was somewhat out of the ordinary.


It stands out vividly in my memory as my first dip into adolescence and a summer of (tame) firsts.

I remember the swimsuit I wore every day to the local beach. A silver metallic tankini. I remember the exquisite pain of being thrown against the pebble beach by enormous navy waves. I remember learning, quite quickly, to dive into these waves rather than be slammed against the rocky shore. We found a sandy beach half way through the trip and spent the rest of our days at this new location.

I remember turning my back on my towel and returning to find my beach bag robbed by some riffraff on a motorbike (witnessed by two women sitting nearby). Ciao ciao, discman, library book, and library card.

I remember lunch with the owner of the rental house and being scolded for sniffling at the table. Apparently in French culture (and maybe Spanish), its more acceptable to blow your nose at the table than sniffle. Who knew?!

I remember staying up late with Amelie and Kevin to watch inappropriate movies dubbed in Spanish after my grandparents had retired to bed. I recall a racy movie involving Cyndi Crawford and train tracks.... I also remember standing back quite enviously as Amelie found herself a summer boyfriend. Harumph. This pattern repeated itself for many years to come.

I remember a cut on my knee from earlier that summer that became infected by the salt water and turned brown from sun exposure. I wear that scar to this day. I remember my constantly blood shot eyes from spending so much time in the (polluted) ocean. I remember peeling the sunburn off Amelie's shoulders like chimpanzee brethren.

I remember being catcalled by Spanish men as I walked to the phone center wearing a towel around my waist. Meowing, whistling, kissing noises by older men in the presence of my grandfather! My second experience being publicly objectified by men... the first was the previous summer in Italy, at age 12. Yup.

And I remember not so much the actual incident, but proudly retelling the night Amelie, Kevin, and I stealthily snuck out of the house to sit on the pebble beach not far from our rental house. I think we lasted thirty minutes. (I may have urged us to get back to the house before our escape was discovered.) 

There were no cigarettes, no alcohol... just an odd group of pubescent kids testing the boundaries, backs on the rocks, eyes to the night sky, waves crashing in the background... a first taste of rebellion.

This post was written as part of the Blog Every Day in May Challenge (2013).

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