If ‘Bling is your Thing’ this is for you.
We caught the Bus into Marbella and walked through to the Harbour where we bought two return tickets to Puerto Banus from a salesman stood on the street by a little cabin.
We paid €15 each for a return ticket and walked the considerable distance out along the break wall to its farthest point where a small blue and white shrine housed some religious figures which are presumably, there to protect the ships and crew that use the Port.
We could see the Catamaran on the horizon and we watched her slow down as she entered the mouth of the Port and gently turn around, whilst at the same time she nestled up against the dock. Two guys quickly threw ropes around large metal eyes and the ship (boat) was secure against the wall ready for the passengers to disembark.
We showed our tickets and climbed aboard taking two lightly padded seats at the from (there is no pointed end on a catamaran) and enjoyed the half hour trip along the coast in the sun. We were offered beer, wine or soft drinks which I assume have to be bought, but we declined.
On entering Puerto Banus you are immediately struck by the size of boats in the Harbour. They dwarf the boats at Marbella Port both in size and number. They are huge.
These are the big boys toys.
Many of them have ‘London’ on their sterns (which says a lot) but they also came from Guernsey, Portsmouth and much further afield. Some as you would imagine had Arabic writing (or some thing similar) on them and one assumes there is almost certainly the odd Arab Sheik amongst the owners.
We walked past the many shops and bars that line the harbour side and it was clear they were catering for a much different audience than Marbella, which in itself looked very affluent and the prices reflected this.
As we walked by the open fronted bars the predominant language being used was Russian and there was a lot of frosted Vodka being poured. At one table of Russians a guy had a tattoo across his cheek which made him look very scary.
As we walked we became the target for the fake handbag, sunglasses and watch Hawkers. Only here they hunt in packs. These are all black guys, presumably from African and I’m suspecting by their behaviour every time a police car cruised by, that they are illegal.
Where as their attention had, up until now been mildly frustrating but tolerable, in Puerto Banus they became extremely annoying. Large groups of them packed each street corner, they obstruct the pavement forcing you out into the road where there was a serious risk of being hit by a Ferrari or Lamborghini’ (we saw: 3 Ferraris, 2 Lamborghini’s, 2 Bentley sports and a huge Rolls with Blacked out windows just walking along the harbour wall).
We slipped down a side street where we found ‘ Linekers Bar’ which we assume has some link to Gary. I was disappointed that it was right next to or seemed part of a girly bar and I got the impression judging by the gang of young Brits drinking there that it catered for the more Laddish needs of the tourist business. Not what I’d hoped for from a legend like Gary.
We found a smallish square which was in the Central Commercial district and as I’d been promising myself ‘Spag Bol’ for days we chose one of the hundreds (if not thousands) of Italian, Pizza restaurants that thrive in Banus, and sat down. This might not have been the best day to wear a white shirt. At the end of the meal it was sprayed red with Bolognasi sauce.
We ordered and whilst waiting for our food to be delivered we were again the target of Hawkers who come and stand silently next to the table whilst thrusting a fist full of fake watches at you. No dialogue or repartee, just a silent presence. Even when you say ‘No Gracias’ they remain static with their wares thrust in front of you. Very often they would have a mobile phone in one hand, carrying on a conversation, whilst shoving their wares in your face. They desperately needed a training course, preferably including the first series of ‘Only Fools and Horse’.
We watched their carrying on for some time. There were at times 8-9 of them loitering around the square and they did look rather comical with their brightly coloured baseball caps, heavy jackets despite the heat (about 20 degrees on that day in Banus) scruffy jeans and trainers often with a huge ‘Bling’ necklace, carrying designer hand bags on each arm and (a nice touch) usually one around their necks. Their business plan left a lot to be desired. It was about attrition. They would approach a table, get rejected and then within 30 seconds, another guy would approach and go through the same routine, and so it went on.
I’m not unsympathetic but what annoys (apart from the fact they thrust their wares in your face whilst your eating) is that some one is providing them with these goods, exploiting these guys and I suspect making a lot of money.
Walking back to the dock we passed several designer label shops which were clearly the Real Deal.
“This must be where they are getting their handbags”. I happily suggested to Jaki, who just looked at me with a glassy look.
She still hasn’t forgiven me for the wardrobe gag. In the camper we have a wardrobe. In the wardrobe there is a light that comes on when the door is opened.
Early in the trip I said. “That bloody light is still on in the wardrobe”.
To which she replied. “No it’s on a swi….” At which point she realised the trap I’d set. Small thing but it keeps me amused.
There’s an irony here that seems lost on people. If you bought a designer hand bag from one of the shops for €2000 people would assume it was a fake. In which case, why not buy a fake in the first place? That makes the fake the real one.
We caught the 1830 sailing back to Marbella and I have to say, I was glad to leave Banus. It didn’t do it for me.
The obvious and shallow display of wealth. The competition to have the biggest boat, the most expensive car and on the street, illegal immigrants selling fake designer goods, aspiring to be the people they are hassling.
As we sailed out there was a young girl, maybe 8/10 years old dancing as only young girls do all alone on the top of a ‘Huge’ boat. She looked happy and care free.
But then why wouldn’t she, her dance floor was worth several million?