Sanitation engineering / Ingeniería de saneamiento

La versión en español está después de la versión en inglés.

I TOOK A LONG WALK around the center of town yesterday afternoon. There wasn’t much going on. A warm weekday afternoon in summer, during siesta, is not the most exciting time. Siesta can start as early as 1:30 and end as late as 5:30 (more or less). Most shops are closed. And in the city center, even many cafés and restaurants are closed.

I did, however, get to watch the trash get emptied in our neighborhood before continuing on my trek. That never gets dull.

The Kid Brother was an absolute pleasure when we spoke Tuesday night. Two weeks in a row. We did two Abbott and Costello routines and I even had to sing “If I Were King of the Forest” from the Wizard of Oz. The Kid Brother contributed to my performance (to get me started) by delivering the line, “You’re not afraid of nuffin’?!?” followed by the line, “Supposin’ you met a elephant?!?”

The other afternoon, when I returned home from coffee with our friend Miguel, our stairway was filled with the aroma of chocolate baking. The fragrance was so strong at the floor below ours I thought, “Brownies!” But, when I reached our floor, the scent of chocolate lessened. I told San Geraldo it smelled so good I had thought he was baking brownies. Later that day he did. And that’s another reason why I call him San Geraldo.


AYER POR LA TARDE DI una larga caminata por el centro de la ciudad. No pasaba mucho. Una cálida tarde de lunes a viernes en verano, durante la siesta, no es el momento más emocionante. Siesta puede comenzar tan temprano como 1:30 y terminar tan tarde como 5:30 (más o menos). La mayoría de las tiendas están cerradas. Y en el centro de la ciudad, incluso muchos cafés y restaurantes están cerrados.

Sin embargo, pude ver cómo se vaciaba la basura en nuestro vecindario antes de continuar mi caminata. Eso nunca se vuelve aburrido.

El Hermanito fue un placer absoluto cuando hablamos el martes por la noche. Dos semanas seguidas. Hicimos dos rutinas de Abbott y Costello e incluso tuve que cantar “If I Were King of the Forest” (“Si Yo Fue el Rey de Bosque”) de “El Mago de Oz.” El Hermanito contribuyó a mi actuación (para que empezara) al pronunciar la frase: “¿No tienes miedo de nada?“ seguido por la línea, “¿Suponiendo que te encontraste con un elefante?”

La otra tarde, cuando regresé a casa del café con nuestro amigo Miguel, nuestra escalera estaba llena del aroma del chocolate horneado. La fragancia era tan fuerte en el piso debajo del nuestro que pensé: “¡Brownies!” Pero, cuando llegué a nuestro piso, el aroma del chocolate disminuyó. Le dije a San Geraldo que olía tan bien que pensé que estaba horneando brownies. Más tarde ese día lo hizo. Y esa es otra razón por la que lo llamo San Geraldo.

Plaza de la Constitución, Church of the Rosary, and the fountain called “Monument to the Three Generations.”
Plaza de la Constitución, Iglesia del Rosario y la fuente llamada “Monumento a las Tres Generaciones”.
The sign was erected in 2016 to commemorate Fuengirola’s 175th anniversary as an independent city. This is what the same street looked like 120 years ago.
El letrero fue erigido en 2016 para conmemorar el 175 aniversario de Fuengirola como ciudad independiente. Así era la misma calle hace 120 años.
Plumeria (aka frangiapani).
Plumeria (también conocido como frangiapani).
Fuengirola bus “station.” There’s no station, only a ticket window. The plaza and pavement are often filled with people and the street clogged with buses. If you want to continue southwest to Marbella, this is where to catch the bus (25 minutes by car, an hour and a half by bus).
“Estación” de autobuses de Fuengirola. No hay estación, solo una ventanilla. La plaza y el pavimento a menudo están llenos de gente y la calle está atascada de autobuses. Si desea continuar hacia el suroeste hasta Marbella, aquí es donde tomar el autobús (25 minutos en coche, una hora y media en autobús).
Avenida de Mijas. The entrance makes it look like an elegant shopping street. It’s not.
Avenida de Mijas. La entrada hace que parezca una elegante calle comercial. No es.
One of a few cafés open in the center of town during siesta. Along the beach, most places remain open all day.
Uno de los pocos cafés abre en el centro de la ciudad durante la siesta. A lo largo de la playa, la mayoría de los lugares permanecen abiertos todo el día.
Mostly closed.
Mayormente cerrado.
On the Paseo across from the beach. Closed for good. Not an uncommon sight around town.
En el Paseo frente a la playa. Cerrado para siempre. No es una vista poco común en la ciudad..



I’m the one with the red bow in his hair.
Yo soy el que tiene el lazo rojo en el pelo.

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..

29 thoughts on “Sanitation engineering / Ingeniería de saneamiento”

  1. And I thought that siesta lasted for an hour!! lol I love Spain’s priorities.
    Now to that sanitation truck….I was wondering what I was looking for. Then! They pull back the trash cans into place! I LOVE this! Everything all tucked away and tidy once again. Impressed indeed.

    1. Jim:
      Have you been the Anonymous of recent days? I’m sorry I didn’t reply! I think officially siesta is 3 hours but it varies, and some shop clerks get back when they get back, which can be annoying. But that seemed to be more common in Sevilla than here with the enormous tourist population.

      I love those dumpsters. The worker standing on the street manages the dumpsters with a remote control.

  2. A brilliant piece of engineering, lots of capacity, looks good at street level, less manual labor to empty. Doing that took courage.

    1. David:
      They’ve been around for a long time. But there are still above-ground dumpsters here and there. All the dumpsters on the Paseo were upgraded in our time here. What a wonderful improvement.

  3. Even trash collection looks interesting.
    And since I gave you Waltzing Matilda, thanks for this one …I’ll be acting it out all day!

    1. Bob:
      I thought of you when I shared that video. I had a feeling it would be a song that would stick with you. (Not like satin; more like cotton… or chintz.)

  4. Thanks again for showing us your world. Does seem unusually quiet, but as you say it’s siesta time. That garbage disposal system is so futuristic. Love!

    1. Ron:
      That walk was misleading. It IS much busier than that now. But things do quiet down during siesta, and any activity will be found on or near the beach… which is why I walked through town.

      I love the trash system. So cool and much more attractive.

    1. Deedles:
      You’re so right. And there are rarely smells emanating from them. Visually more appealing. I love it… and I love watching them work.

  5. Bet that fun conversation with Kid Brother made your heart sing (too).

    The sanitation system there is amazing. So much more advanced and streamlined than anything you’d see in most US cities.

    1. Wilma:
      He’s the kindest person i know.

      Yes, i love the trash collection system. I saw these above-ground “tubes” in Sevilla when we first arrived and had no clue what they were or how they worked. They’re especially helpful (and more aesthetic and pleasant smelling) on the old narrow streets than the large above-ground dumpsters

  6. “I’d wrap him up in cellophant!”

    I LOVE your village; what a great retirement location. the streets look better now than they did 120 years ago.

    now why can’t WE have a trash system like that? and SG’s brownies?

    1. anne marie:
      What have they got that I ain’t got?!?

      This is a wonderful city. Although I could see the beauty of the Mediterranean Sea and the convenience of travel, it took me a while to truly appreciate living here after the amazing historic city of Sevilla. And, yeah, 120 years ago, it was all dirt roads and burros.

      I love the trash system. And they really stay up on things. I had the last of the brownies today, but I think SG plans on returning to the kitchen again this afternoon. Maybe apple cake!

  7. Just saw this link about NYC maps on another blog and thought of you:

    Says, ‘the Brooklyn Historical Society just published nearly 1500 maps of New York City – all its boroughs and Long Island – going back to the 17th century. Includes transit maps, topographical maps, cultural maps and nautical charts, as well as plans for Central Park and Prospect Park.’ Evidently involved several years worth of work reconstructing info from fragile old maps.


    1. Mary:
      Thank you so much. I will probably be lost for a month on this site. And I LOVE maps. So does the Kid Brother. I’ll have to share this with him when I finally see him again. This is incredible!

  8. Brownies on demand! It’s funny how the kid brother can be so variable in his moods and talkativeness. (Then again, I guess we all are.)

    I think it would drive me crazy for everything to shut down for four hours in the middle of the day. But this explains why Spaniards eat dinner so late, right?

    1. Steve:
      The Kid Brother CAN be a bit more extreme in his moods than some. Then again, so can I… and so could everyone in my immediate family. Although we’ve adjusted to siesta, it still does frustrate us at times. The reasons for the hours we keep I think are all interconnected. Late lunch and siesta to avoid working and activity during the hottest part of the day. Likewise late dinner, to wait for the streets and air to cool down. We lived in a hotel our first summer in Sevilla. It was a hot summer with temps over 40 many days. We waited until after 10 for dinner because it was too hot before then and most places still didn’t have AC (or didn’t like the expense of using it with so few people in town). We found one plaza that had great air circulation if there was any air to circulate. We were there almost every night.

    1. mcpersonalspave54:
      Thank you again! Although I’ve gotten used to the siesta, I’m not a huge fan. You have to keep track of what stays open, and getting business done can be inconvenient. Then again, there’s something calming and civilized about it. I first experienced it in Italy in the ’70s. I remember rushing to the market before lunch to pick up what we needed (like wine) before they closed. Don’t know how long the tradition will be maintained here.

  9. Wow! I am so impressed with the trash collection as I trip over the mountains of black plastic trash bags covering the sidewalks and curbs in Queens.

    1. Claudia:
      They do sometimes run out of room, especially in August. But the City regularly picks up the excess and empties the bins. It’s such a huge improvement over the large visible dumpsters. I’ve been appalled in recent years by the piles of black trash bags on the streets of New York. But that’s better than the random trash without bags.

  10. That’s how our town does recycling. Three underground bins, one for glass, one for paper, and one for cardboard/plastic/aluminum and other recyclable packaging. And THAT’s what makes the Hottentot so hot.

    1. Walt the Fourth:
      And two for organic matter. I figured you had something similar. I remember being so impressed several years ago when you shared your newly renovated market plaza with the built-in electrical outlets in the pavement.

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