All Over the Place

This is a series of posts about Italy, Malta, and Spain that starts here.

I had read about something called the white villages.  I didn’t really get what they were, how we would get to them, or what we would do when we got there, but I pitched them to Lynn for our last day in Granada.

“We could rent a car,” I said.  “I love to drive!   We drove all the way to New Orleans and back.  I drove in the south of France and loved the mountain roads … I’ve driven in Chicago and LA …”

Hire a car?” said Lynn skeptically. “Nothing against your driving, but have you noticed how well we do on foot, with a map?  Nooooo, I don’t think so.”

She suggested we procure a driver.  We asked at the front desk and boom, it was done.  The “taxi” as the concierge called it, would pick us up at nine the next day and take us to two or three white villages outside of Granada.  It would take five or six hours and cost around 80€. This was actually a lot less than a car rental.

We waited on the steps of the Alhambra Palace.  Vehicles were parked higgledy piggledy in front of the hotel, where two tiny lanes ran into one another.

There was a Bimbo Pan truck.  “I love that name,” I said.  “I first saw it in Mexico and didn’t realize they would have it here.

Reader, Bimbo is a bread company.  The founder died recently, so in reading his obit I learned that the name Bimbo was a combination of Bambi and bingo.  I guess it was supposed to appeal to kids.  Back in 1945 Mexico it was innocent enough.

Now I just looked up the word bimbo.  It originated from the Italian “male child” (a female child would be bimba) and at first it just meant “a guy” in American slang but somehow back in the 40s morphed to mean an “attractive but unintelligent female.”  Maybe the founder of the bread company would have named his concern Bango if he’d known what bimbo meant north of the border.  Wait, scratch that.

In case you are snickering at the name, you should know that Grupo Bimbo owns owns Wonder Bread and Sara Lee and had revenues of $14 billion in 2014.  Not bad for a third world country.

In Mexico, the Bimbo trucks were ubiquitous.


Bimbo sponsored the local futbol league where I first studied Spanish, in Cuernavaca, so I bought a tight-fitting jersey as a joke.  It was supposed to be ironic, but back in the US, no one got it; they just averted their eyes.

A handsome man stood next to a black Mercedes.

“Wouldn’t it be nice if that was our driver,” I nudged Lynn lewdly. She ignored me.

Then the man walked over and asked in Spanish if we were Ana and Leena.  Woot!

We sat in the back.  Many travel guides advise women to sit in the back of taxis because otherwise the driver will assume you’re a slut who wants to be raped.  It makes you wonder about the travel guide writers. Aside from a taxi driver in Dubai dropping me off at a brothel, I’ve never felt threatened by a driver.

Juan, our driver, had clearly set up the back seat for passengers, with water bottles and snacks.  He worked as a driver for excursions such as this one, and yes it was his car.  I was able to carry on a basic conversation with him because he spoke slowly and, as we wound through the steep winding foothills of the Sierra Madre, learned that he was from one of the white villages.

This was much better than me driving.  We passed hundreds of wind turbines, and Lynn and I talked about the turbines in the Scottish highlands, where she lives and where her husband crusades to get them placed appropriately—not wrecking the views or ruining neighbors’ lives with their noise.  He was currently on edge, awaiting news on a funding proposal to set up turbines that would benefit the community in perpetuity.

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