The KKK Took My Water Away


I was pretty excited to get out of grey and gloomy Hamburg awhile and head down to the beautiful, dry, and sunny Costa del Sol region of Spain. My lady and I were lucky enough to have a free place to stay, and thanks to a couple of really cheap tickets through Norwegian Air, we were all set to have a relaxing vacation that was easy on the wallet. We arrived and I flipped the switches for the breaker and proceeded to turn on the water, because the apartment had been vacant for almost a year. Everything was going great as we opened the windows to air out the place and reflect on how lucky we are to be there for a fun filled long Easter weekend. Then I heard the water turn off. At first I didn't think too much of it, because I figured my better half had decided that enough water had flowed through to get all the old water that had been sitting in there for a while out. But I slowly began to realize that she was in the living room, and it isn't easy to turn off the water in the bathroom without going in there first.


I tried to calmly walk into the bathroom despite the slowly growing terror building inside me. I began to twist the faucet and immediately knew that something was wrong. Water should have been rushing out but there was nothing. I proceeded to do my best man moment and look at random pipes around the apartment all while refusing to admit to myself that I know similar amounts about plumbing as I do about making kimchi. I checked around for a leak but couldn't find any. I tried all the water in the apartment and came to the unsettling conclusion that it wasn't going to be turning back on. Between the holiday weekend, our inability to speak Spanish, and our lack of cell phones we were possibly in for a much drier vacation than planned. We decided to go out and find some wifi to start working on a solution.

We found a small cafe with some wifi and sat down. We were thirsty and hungry so we decided some drinks and food were needed to at least attempt to get our vacation headed in the correct direction. I asked about my cerveza options and was told that it was Victoria. Despite all the uncertainty ahead for my weekend I decided to have a pint of this unknown beer. It arrived cold and golden and although not generally what I look for in a beer it was quite satisfying way to cool off and calm down from the disappointing start to the trip. It tasted pretty good with the vinegary sardines and other random seafood we had ordered. It was a definite reminder that situation and atmosphere play a large part in how people perceive beer. I was drawn back to how much I loved the beer the first time I visited Spain almost 15 years ago and how delicious it was compared to the cheaper offerings I had been known to have from BMCs at the time.


We were able to contact someone about the apartment, but unfortunately she had no idea why the water wouldn't be working. It left us in a difficult situation. We looked up some options for somewhere to stay for the night and decided it would be better to pay for a hotel room than try and go without water. We proceeded to visit a few places (we weren't too keen on using a credit card over random wifi networks) but all the rooms seemed to be either all booked or only available for one or three people. At one point we tried to find a hotel but took a few wrong turns and seemed to wind up in some deserted desert of warehouses, suffering, and sun. Defeated we headed back to where we started our journey at the apartment. We stopped by a hostel just a few blocks away to ask if they still had a single room available and somehow in the few hours we were away they had all been booked for the night. The woman at the desk was able to recommend another hostel just a few blocks away that we didn't know about. Feeling just a touch more run down we hung our heads in shame and went back to the apartment to drop off a few things before going up to inquire about a room.

On the way back out my lady heard the soothing accent of a well tanned Scotsman. She proceed to ask if his water was working or if he had any idea why the water in the apartment wasn't. Luckily the Scotsman, who shall henceforth be referred to as Mac, knew exactly what the problem was. Apparently the pipes in the building had been changed from inside to outside the building, and since no one was living in the apartment we were staying in, there was no water coming into the flat. Mac came upstairs with us and opened a window to reveal that there was a pipe which was never connected to the apartment. I've encountered plenty of odd things in my life but this was a bit odder of a situation than I expected to wander into. Mac proceeded to invite us up to his apartment to wait while he called a plumber who had done plumbing for some other people in the building. We heard a very broken Spanglish conversation, and once it was over we had a plumber coming out to fix our phantom pipe problem the next day. We felt relieved and lucky considering the short notice and the holiday weekend.


As we left the apartment we were greeted by the sounds of the final Holy Week processions. We went out on to the street to see the interesting costumes that too a guy who grew up in rural WV look awfully similar to what you might see at a KKK rally (not that I've ever actually been to or seen one of these). It was quite a sight as they marched to the sound of drum and trumpet. There were men dressed as soldiers tossing guns back and forth which was quite entertaining. It was easy to get caught up in the moment and forget about all the problems we had been facing. As there was a break in the action I realized we still didn't have anywhere to stay so we rushed up to the hostel to check if there were any rooms left.


After a brief conversation with the man at the desk we had a room with a shared bathroom for 39 euro and our night was finally beginning to look a bit less disastrous. We headed back down to the procession to watch some more of the action. After a bit we headed into a local tapas place. We ordered some food, and I asked what cervezas were available to which I was only offered Cruzcampo. I sipped on this lager and once again reflected on how the situation made what would normally be a beer that I'd find pretty bad actually quite enjoyable. I looked up from my drink to see parade floats being carried by and it was amazing. Moments later I was greeted by a dish of delicious sizzling shrimp and a mountain of well seasoned garlic and parsley covered chicken. I devoured my food and washed it down with more of my lagery libations. The evening slowly marched on and we grew weary from all the highs and lows of the day.


The next day I woke to the wonders of tiled hostel floors, short beds, and running water. We headed across the street to a cafe where I experienced the beauty of cafe con leche with some breakfast. Our waitress, who looked oddly like Alyson Hannigan, was pleasant but forgot to bring me my churro. By the end of the meal I was actually glad it hadn't arrived, and since it wasn't on the bill it was even better. I had thought about calling this article "Alyson Hannigan Stole my Churro", but I thought it didn't have the same ring to it as the current one. The costumes from the Holy Week Easter Processions reminded me of the KKK which made me think of the Ramones song "The KKK Took My Baby Away" which for some reason seemed hilarious and fitting when I decided to write this post.


We went back to the apartment, and after a bit Mac showed up and then the plumber. The emergency holiday plumbing didn't come cheap, but the 170 euro was well spent to be able to have running water again. We did have a few more issues with the plumbing, but eventually we got it all sorted out. I was subjected to two days of rain on what was supposed to be a sunny beach trip, but I was able to see the Alhambra, Castillo de Gibralfaro, and the Alcazaba which were all amazing. I also was reminded that how much I enjoy a beer can be influenced just as much by the environment and atmosphere I have it in as the actual flavor and presentation of the beer. The KKK took my water away, but it didn't ruin my holiday.















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About Colin Smith

Hi, I'm Colin, I love a good hoppy IPA, but I can find immense enjoyment in a solid session beer, imperial stout, quadrupel or a nostalgic beer from my past.

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