Antonio, Banderas Rojas

ANTHONY FLAGS.

Did you know that “banderas” is Spanish for “flags”?

So, if Antonio Banderas were to Anglicize his name, he would be Anthony Flags.

Not quite so attractive anymore, is he? (Well, OK. Maybe Antonio Banderas, by any other name, would still smell as sweet.)

Red flags (banderas rojas) have been flying along the beach for several days now. The lifeguards hoist the colored flags every morning during season. Green means the sea is calm and safe for swimming. Red means stay out of the water. There’s also yellow (caution) and I think there’s another flag that means conditions are so unsafe lifeguards aren’t even on duty (I’ve never seen that one). The Mediterranean Sea tends to be very calm. When the sea is rough, it still doesn’t look anything like the Atlantic or Pacific Oceans. But looks are deceiving. The riptide and under-toe are surprisingly powerful and unpredictable. I respect those flags and I respect the lifeguards. I’ve been surprised by the number of people in the water on these red-flag days. Life guards had been patrolling the beach but, for some reason (perhaps not wanting to upset the tourists), they hadn’t been doing much policing of the swimmers. Until this afternoon.

ROUGH SURF TODAY AT SUNRISE. (CLICK TO SEE BIGGER WAVES.)

San Geraldo was out on the terrace watering plants when we suddenly heard whistles blowing insistently. He looked to the beach and saw lifeguards running from all directions. They dove in and began swimming to what looked like a body sporadically bobbing to the surface. Two of the lifeguards reached the body and they all began to swim back in. Minutes later, an ambulance arrived. A lifeguard on a jet-ski zoomed in and circled the group in the water, and then waved “safe” (like in American baseball) to the EMTs and other lifeguards on the beach. All was well. Apparently, the swimmer didn’t even need medical assistance, just help getting back to shore.

BEFORE THE LIFEGUARDS REACHED THE SWIMMER (CIRCLED).
(CLICK TO ENLARGE.)
RED FLAG. STAY OUT OF THE WATER!
(CLICK TO ENLARGE.)
THE RESCUE.

A short time later, I headed down to the beach to enjoy the sun. I figured I could at least put my feet in the water. The same guards who had just risked their lives for someone who didn’t follow the safety rules were back on the beach watching the water. People were allowed to wade, but there was no swimming permitted. Three bozos headed into the water, swam out, and pretended to be drowning. One of those lifeguards returned from her post further down the beach and signaled to the three to get out of the water. The way she handled them was a joy to behold.

AFTER THE RESCUE, THESE “FUNNY” GUYS PRETENDED TO BE IN TROUBLE.
(THE SURF WAS MUCH MORE AGITATED THAN IT APPEARS HERE.)
THIS LIFEGUARD, HAVING BEEN PART OF THE RESCUE, DIDN’T FIND IT FUNNY.
SHE EXPLAINED THE RED FLAG, TOLD THEM IT WAS NO JOKE.
AND THEN TOLD THEM TO GO SIT DOWN.

Back to Antonio
I think one of the guys was named Antonio, because I’m pretty sure I heard the lifeguard say as he came out of the water, “Antonio, banderas rojas!”

Author: Moving with Mitchell

From Brooklyn, New York; to North Massapequa; back to Brooklyn; Brockport, New York; back to Brooklyn... To Boston, Massachusetts, where I met Jerry... To Marina del Rey, California; Washington, DC; New Haven and Guilford, Connecticut; San Diego, San Francisco, Palm Springs, and Santa Barbara, California; Las Vegas, Nevada; Irvine, California; Sevilla, Spain. And Fuengirola, Málaga..

32 thoughts on “Antonio, Banderas Rojas”

  1. Is it bad that this little vignette makes me think of Devo's 'Crack That Whip'? From the expression on her face I'd not be surprised if the next photo was her with one of the men over her knee.

    Hmmmm.

  2. A whole new career for you two! Right from your balcony! Don't need TV there!
    I guess there are bozos everywhere.
    Great shots Mitch!

  3. In the 1970's, Jim and I were used as decoys for a life-saving learning experience through a friend of ours. We had to pretend we were drowning on guarded beaches(4). After going through the actions of 'Help !', fake vomiting, shaking etc ~~ being hauled into shore and just as the guards began mouth to mouth, we would stop and stand up. Guess who was not happy?! The guards were furious but our friend(their boss) said it was part of their learning process and job. This could happen anytime so be prepared! All I know is that these guards are well-trained and mess with them. Hear! Ron

  4. Holy cow! Great job, rescuers! Great job, balcony photographer! People! They're the worst. (Stolen from episode #11, season 12, Seinfeld… well… I don't really know what episode it's from, but it is stolen from Seinfeld ;))

    1. Judeet:
      "Well, what about these nitwits who get on a plane with nothing to read. You know who these people are? These are the people that want to talk to you. They got nothing else to do, why not disturb you." "I will NEVER understand people."

      Season 6. Episode 23.

  5. Note to self: Always check in different countries about the meaning of flags on the beach.

    Here in Australia lifesavers put out two red flags for you to swim in between. It will be a safe area without undertow. If conditions change, the flags are moved. They will carefully monitor this section and endeavour to make sure swimmers stay between the flags. If a siren sounds, get out of the water as a shark has been sighted in the water.

    1. Andrew:
      I wouldn't have thought of it, assuming red always meant danger. Note to this self, too. Thankfully, we don't have to worry about shark sirens. Almost unheard of on these beaches.

  6. Rescue excitements notwithstanding, returning to names in their Spanish/English equivalents, I've always felt particular sympathy for anyone who happens to be named 'C.O.Jones'. How many people, you may ask, really have initials of 'C.O.'? Very few? Well maybe, but a brother of mine for one – which gives him initials of C.O.C. I say no more.

    1. Raybeard:
      It fascinates me that parents don't give a thought to what their kids' initials will create. But, I worked with a woman I'll call Molly who was married to a man named Frank (fake first names and you'll see why). Her name was Molly Love. His was Frank Cox. Smartly, she took his last name and completely dropped hers.

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