NOW is the time when you really start to see them. Tourists, I mean.
After all, they’re the easiest to recognise as a species. They’re the pasty-looking white blobs on the beach – unless the sun’s setting when they’re red as lobsters and being given the kiss of life by paramedics.
If the weather suddenly turns wintry, they’re still dressed for summer.
In summer, they’re the ones who amble about the stores and streets virtually naked. Much as we wouldn’t want to be identified as tourists, we can’t do without them because otherwise the economy would slump even further.
Tourists could never be confused with two other species you come across in Spain. The newly arrived expats and the long-term expats.
The former you’ll see enthusiastically attending every Spanish class, Flamenco, bullfight, obscure feria and club imaginable.
Whereas long-term expats are the complete opposite and the most difficult to spot. They dress like the Spanish, wear summer clothes only in summer and dress more formally in town (well, not in swimwear anyway).
Like the Spanish too, they’ve learned to accept the way of life in Spain. Mañana really does mean, ahem, mañana.
Now, with all the Roman ruins – villas, roads, marketplaces – being unearthed here, it struck me that the Romans were among the earliest tourist species. You can just imagine them, can’t you?
Hurtling along the carreteras to the nearest encampment in their horse-drawn chariots. Holding up traffic at the roundabouts. Counting out their silver denarii coins in the markets.Overseeing another luxury villa reforma.
Before heading over the Alps into Italy, Hannibal started out in Spain when he arrived from Carthage with his lines of noseto-tail elephants.
So is all the TAIL-gating we now observe among Spanish drivers yet one more vestige of those bygone days?
Give a final thought, though, to Strabo, an extremely unlucky general who not only suffered miserable defeats, but died of the plague during one disastrous campaign.
Just as he was about to expire, lightning struck his tent and burned it to the ground.
So, not a happy camper either.
Nora Johnson’s psychological/suspense crime thrillers ‘No Way Back,’ ‘Landscape of Lies,’ ‘Retribution,’ ‘Soul Stealer,’ ‘The De Clerambault Code’ (www.nora-john son.net) available from Amazon in paperback/eBook (€0.99;£0.99) and iBookstore. All profits to Costa del Sol Cudeca cancer charity.