When you arrive to Malaga, you might not notice it at first, but there are several things that together make this city unique. Some of them are good, some of them are bad and some are just weird. After living here for some years I still find surprising new things from time to time, here is my list for you:
Chimneys in Malaga
When a man buys a big expensive sports car, people usually say he compensates for something. I bet you heard this expression before. So what do you think what does Malaga compensate with huge chimneys all around the city?
If you walk around, you find many chimneys in the city that doesn’t belong to a factory or anything. They are just there. Some people think they are nice, but as someone who lived in front of one of the chimneys for a year, I can tell when are annoying. Instead of having a nice view from my balcony I had a huge vertical something in my face blocking the view.
Some people say they have historical value, they are reserved for… blah blah. I believe it’s cheaper to leave them there than to hire professional people to demolish it without crushing the buildings nearby. And as you will learn during your stay in Malaga, Spanish people are very “cost conscious” which translates to cheapskates. Unless, they can steal a lot of money with a corrupt tender, but that is another story, which is not my business.
Creepy fog in Malaga
Have you seen the movie Fog from Stephen King? Pretty much the same is happening here in Malaga from time to time, except people here don’t go crazy and start killing each other. Otherwise it’s super weird when half of the city is covered by thick fog which comes from the sea.
I made this photo on the Misericordia beach during the day, but it looks it’s sunset or something because the fog was so thick, it blocked the sunlight. Outside the foggy area it was nice and sunny with weird, thick white fog on the beach. Usually the fog doesn’t go deep into the land it stays close to the shore covering a few streets only.
Cables on the walls in Malaga
You might not notice it, or in your country it might be also common, but for me it’s ridiculous how many cables are running on the sides of the buildings. I believe that half of those cables are not even in use, but nobody dares to touch them because they have been there for 10+ years now and only god knows where they come from and where they go. I have no idea why don’t they hide them underground.
In Malaga it barely rains, so when it actually does it surprises the locals like the second coming of Jesus Christ. I don’t know if the equipment they use for telecommunication is waterproof or they just hope that it will survive the rainy days, but it’s a fact that during the winter time when it rains, internet outages are quite common. I am not an IT expert (actually I am, but who cares) but in my opinion some rain shouldn’t be a problem to fiber optics. Guess what, it is.
Sewers in Malaga
Oh… the sewers, the fountain of the authentic Malaga smell! Yummy! When you walk around in the city, from time to time you can feel some terrible sewer smell, sometimes topped with urine and dog-shit, but that is another story. As you can see Malaga is flat like a pancake on the top of that the sewer system is old. As a result it often gets clogged which results the finest smell on earth that a skunk can just dream of. I even had a business idea to capture this smell to glass jars and sell it to people who lived in Malaga, but they moved somewhere far away and they need something that reminds them to their home.
To avoid this, please do not flush wet-toilet wipes. The paper toilet paper is ok, that dissolves in more or less, not causing problems, but the stupid wet toilet wipes are literally sewer killers. Anyway, if you are using those, you won’t stop using them just because you read this article, but at least you are aware now that the smell that triggers your gag reflex on the streets of Malaga is coming from the wet-wipes you’ve cleaned your ass with.
Dog shit in Malaga
Spanish people love dogs. I guess they practice having children by having dogs or I don’t know why, but almost every family has at least one dog. Did you know that the Canary islands isn’t called Canary because of the birds? The name Islas Canarias is from the Latin name Canariae Insulae, meaning “Islands of the Dogs”. Well, Malaga is the city of the dogs then.
There are so many dogs and so many dog poo around that the city hall decided to launch a new program that involves taking DNS sample from all dogs, so when people leave behind the dog shit, it can be tracked back to their dogs and the owner, so the city hall can issue fines.
Well, it sounds modern, but in reality I can see that it doesn’t work because we have the same amount of dog shit on the streets all around. But the biggest flaw of this system is that the real problem is not just the dog shit. That is not smelly, it’s just annoying when you step in it. The real problem is the dog urine that covers literally every wall, every corner and everything on the streets. When the sun hits it and it starts evaporating, that is a real smell bonanza!
Flowers and hay-fever in Malaga
What I love in Malaga is that all year around I can see flowers. As I walk around in the city there are flowers in many colors, so I can troll my family at home, sending them selfies at Christmas standing in front of some flowers and palm trees, wearing a T-shirt, while they try to survive the -20C degrees.
But it’s a love-hate relationship with the flowers because I have hay-fever all year around. There is always some pollen in the air, there so no winter and snow to cover it to give me some break. If you also have hay-fever, you can get antihistamine anti-allergy medicine in Spain in any pharmacy without subscription. Daily one pill should do the trick, except when it doesn’t.
Homeless people in Malaga
In Malaga, homeless people are like street furniture. They are part of the city. As you will see, in front of every supermarket there is at least one homeless person begging for money. They are always there. If you go to the same store every day, you will see the same homeless person there every day. The locals know them by their name. They are like the local vigilantes, but with less skills than Batman or Thor. Their only superpower is to be able to sit still for very long time without doing anything.
Graffiti and street art in Malaga
Malaga is not the only city on the whole wide world that has graffiti, I know, but there some neighborhoods where you can find really interesting and professional graffiti. There are some artists who managed to become so famous and successful that they even asked to decorate the walls of official buildings, schools, etc. Also as I can see, graffiti artists don’t vandalize each other’s work in Malaga. At home, even if someone throws an amazing graffiti, within a couple of days someone just goes and tags something lame over it. Here in my experience graffiti artists leave each other’s work alone, which is nice for us common people to have beautiful art to look at on the streets.
Upside down light switches
Maybe you don’t even noticed, but every switch is upside down in Spain. Normally, when you turn the light on, you switch it up, and when you turn it off, you switch it down, as the sun goes up and down. Makes sense isn’t it?
Not in Spain! Here is Malaga every light switch is upside down. I guess someone long time ago made a mistake and since then it become the standard. Not a big deal, not really annoying, it just shows how unique this place is… they can install light switches upside down, because… why not?
Stupid signs in Malaga
One of my favorite things are the stupid and unnecessary signs in Malaga. People here are obsessed with rules. Of course it’s not the people’s fault it’s the authority who has stupid rules in the first place, to squeeze some more money from people, who became rule freaks.
Honestly, tell me… if there was a fire here, would you find the fire extinguisher without the sign right next to it?
I mean, literally, who the hell would be like: “Oh damn, I can’t put off this fire because I can’t see the fire extinguisher sign, because a real fire extinguisher is blocking the view!”
Most of the times the fire extinguisher is hidden in compartment in the wall. In that case I totally understand the sign, telling that right here, if you open this door, you can find a fire extinguisher. But when it’s right in front of you, and it looks exactly like the sign, then seriously… what is the point?
Here is another hilarious example from Mercadona, telling people that they can’t buy alcohol in the supermarket after 22:00. By itself this sign is not stupid, but if you look closer, you can see another sign in the background?
The photo is barely visible I know, so here is a hint: If the supermarket closes at 22:00 and it’s forbidden to buy alcohol after 22:00 then who the hell they put the alcohol restriction sign for?
The only to get access to the alcoholic drinks after 22:00 if you break into the store during the night. But in that case would the sign stop you from stealing alcohol? I don’t know, maybe there is a precedent in Spain when someone broke into a store, he was about to steal some alcohol in the middle of the night, when he spotted the sign and said: “Damn! It’s after 22:00… I can take anything else, but alcohol!”
Pijamas as streetwear in Malaga
In certain, not too fancy neighborhoods you can see people on the street, wearing slippers and bathrobes. They look funny as hell as they walk around, usually to do the groceries or just to socialize on the street with their neighbors. Interestingly in Malaga there are only a few neighborhoods that are obviously fancy or poor, most of the districts are a mixture of everything. Right next to a modern building with expensive apartments you can find tiny old rundown huts. So these bathrobe people can show up pretty much anywhere.
Personally what pisses me off is that Spanish people don’t take their shoes off in the apartment, basically carrying all the dirt (including dogshit, vomit and who knows what) from the street to their homes to their bedrooms and guess what, eventually to their beds too. These bathrobe people are one step even worse because instead of shoes with plastic or rubber sole, which is harder for the dirt to stick to, they wear the same fluffy, hairy slippers that they use at home too. That is just over the top gross for me.
Army of stray cats in Malaga
I am pretty sure you already noticed that in Malaga there are a lot of dogs. Many people walk dogs, some of them even more than one at the same time. Sometime I have the feeling that if Malaga has 500.000 human population there is at least the same amount of dogs around. Dogs are everywhere, you notice them easily, especially their poo. But you need some time to notice that we have enormous amount of cats in the city as well! They usually hide well so they are not as noticeable as dogs at first, but eventually you will notice that you see cats everywhere.
There are two places particularly with huge cat population in the city, one place is the end of Muelle Uno, where the port and the Malagueta beach meets. There are huge concrete blocks on the shore and guess what, hundreds of cats live there. The other place is along the passage on the beach as you go from the Malagueta to El Palo. Again, on the shore between the rocks there is a huge cat population. If you like cats, you can bring them food, they will happy about that, also if you have a laser pointer you can entertain them and yourself for some time. They love chasing a laser dot.
Fun fact: Did you know that cats are terrified of cucumbers? I am not joking you can scare the living shit out of a cat with a cucumber. So make sure you don’t leave your excess cucumbers around if you have a cat.