From Malaga, we took a taxi to Mijas, a mountain village with whitewashed buildings. After noticing several English food markets and restaurants offering English breakfast, Mijas appeared to be a popular destination for Brits searching for the sun. We took a donkey taxi tour of the city, the donkeys being the main attraction for the village.
Driving through Spain, I can't help but make comparisons to Mexico and the Americas. My thoughts aren't so much observations of what Spain is, but what it is missing. Absolutely no trash anywhere. Everything is orderly and neat. No narco chaos. Not that I miss any of the above, it's just an element that's absent. Still, as my family lives on the border of Mexico where all of the drug and immigration violence is currently playing out, we proceed everywhere with trepidation, even in Spain, an ocean away. Out of habit, I guess.
Spain "discovered," settled and colonized the New World, therefore much of Spanish culture was imposed on the countries of the Americas. All of the historical architecture in Mexico (where I have traveled the most) is modeled on that of Spain and Europe, and many of the important cities in the Americas bear the name of cities in Spain: Guadalajara, Cartagena, Cordoba... and of course, the language.
I've always wondered why the Italians didn't sally forth like the English, French or Portuguese to nab a part of the New World for themselves. If they had, then there would be parts of the Americas speaking Italian, riding Vespas and serving pasta. More history research for me...
But Spain lacks the untamed nature of the Americas. I get the same feeling when I visit England.The people of Spain have inhabited the Iberian peninsula for thousands of years and have had plenty of time to organize themselves, to develop their culture. The U.S. has been defined on a map for less than 250 years, Alaska and Hawaii added in the 1950's, almost yesterday by comparison. Many countries in the Americas still have thriving indigenous tribes, where few tribal remnants can be found anywhere in Europe. The Americas are still a work in progress.
In the U.S. we seem to make things up as we go along, trying new things with each generation, as if we our character is still in development. In Spain, they are proud traditionalists, cleaving fiercely to their customs. Speaking with the Spanish citizens, they are very clear as to who they are, and what they expect. Although English citizens settled most of the U.S. eastern coast, and the French settled in Canada, the majority of the New World was settled and occupied by Spain. You can still sense this courage and vision among the Spanish today.