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Our next stop was Malaga on Costa del Sol. And that was much better, it was far less hectic, more of a lazy, beach resort. I loved the narrow winding streets going down to the beach, the whitewashed houses blindingly gleaming in the sunlight, but tempered by the riot of colored flowers cascading down their outside walls. I was enchanted, and started revising my assessment of the trip. It wasn’t so bad after all. I loved walking down the beach around sunset, even the crowds did not spoil it for me. Loved those beach restaurants, each with its quaint individual decor, all looking tempting and inviting. After finishing our stroll , on the way back we finally picked a restaurant to have dinner. I ordered a beer and, of course, paella which was totally delicious.
Our stay in Malaga was not long enough for me, but again the regimented schedule had to be adhered to. So we packed up, me reluctantly, and off to Palma de Mallorca. Though this was supposed to be the highlight of the trip as Palma is the tourist Mecca. I thought it was too glitzy and rather hard. Commercial, catering to hoards of tourists and geared towards getting as much money out of them as possible. I missed the mellow mood of Malaga, but got into the feeling of more hard core ‘fun’. Finally our last day was there. I was exhausted, but my friend wanted to do some last minute shopping. I was starting to shift mental gears into Cairo time, remembered that it was Ramadan back home and that we’ll probably do good time home from the airport . That day was very warm, and although we were both in shorts and halter tops, I started to wilt, half an hour into the morning shopping, so told my friend to carry on, but that I was going back to the hotel.
The moment I got into the lobby I started to feel better because of the air conditioning. I took the lift up and walked down the corridor to the room whi h was really a lovely room with a large terrace overlooking the bay. I was looking forward o sitting there in the shade, with a cool tall glass of something thirst quenching. I got to my door and tried to open it, the key would not budge. These were the normal type keys, not the cards of today that you had to swipe o open the door. I pulled the key out and looked at it baffled. It was the right key. I inserted it again, and with more determination turned it, after a slight resistance it turned and I pushed the door open.
The first alarm that something was wrong was in the small entrance hall of the room. It was littered with torn wrapping paper, plastic bags and a couple of cotton blouses. I took a hurried step in and found our suite cases that were already packed for our trip next morning, slit open as though a knife was taken to them. Shock started setting in, I looked around, the room was empty, checked the bathroom, then glanced at the terrace. Nobody around. Relief! I could have walked in on a thief with a knife! I started feeing cold and started to shake. First I locked the terrace doors, then went to the telephone and asked for the hotel manager.
Spaniards are a very laid back people and seem to be living a continuous siesta, so the telephone operator said, sorry, the general manager is not available right now. I asked for his deputy and she said he too was off the premises, so I did what I had always dreamed of doing one day. In a firm voice I said, please get me the police! That seemed to have been the magic word that wakes them all up from their siesta! In less than two minutes, the illusive general manager and his deputy, as well as the security manager and I don’t know how many others were in the room. I told them what happened, and while I was at it, in walked my friend. She nearly had a fit when she saw this crowd in our room, but was relieved when she saw me and that I looked uninjured. I told her we were robbed and that I was just telling them what happened. She took over from then as I was feeling pretty shaken up. Every time I remembered that I could have walked into a knife, I turned cold and felt faint.
When I brought my attention back to what was happening, my friend was insisting on calling the police, and the hotel people were trying to persuade her not to. I saw the mulish look on her face and knew it was useless. Eventually they had to give in, and the police was called in.
To be continued …

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