Tarantula & Plan B

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

ALONG THE PASEO IS A small cafe that didn’t survive the pandemic. It had been named Plan B. I wonder if they’ve got a Plan C.

On my walk yesterday, in the middle of one of the roundabouts along the way, I passed a monument donated to the City of Fuengirola by the Lions Club. I wonder if we can give it back.

As I continued my long walk up the hill, I planned to continue walking to a nearby resort to get more photos in the very good light of a grouping of elephant sculptures (click here). But after walking about 4 km (2.5 miles), I came upon the sign across the road welcoming me to Benalmádena and I was reminded that that was as far as I was allowed to go. Our covid restrictions have been extended until 10 December and I can’t leave the municipality. So, sorry, no elephants.

On my way back, I spotted a tarantula in my path. I laughed to myself, ‘Oh, we don’t have those here.’ When I got closer I realized it was only a baby agave plant that had the misfortune of falling on pavement instead of dirt where it would have easily taken root. There were others. When I got home, I read up on tarantulas. We do have them in Andalucía.

When we lived in San Diego in the ’90s, I took a drive one day with a friend to the Wild Animal Park (now called the San Diego Zoo Safari Park) north of the city. We walked through the butterfly house and met a keeper holding a plastic terrarium containing a tarantula. My friend asked the keeper if it was dangerous. “Oh no,” she casually replied. “It’s no worse than a bee sting.” I backed up a few feet. I’m allergic to bee stings; that tarantula could kill me.

Some time later, a friend was visiting us from Los Angeles. We came home one evening and headed up the stairs to the front door of our condo building, which sat at the bottom of a canyon. A huge (seriously) tarantula sat in front of the door. Our friend and I headed back down the stairs. San Geraldo went inside, grabbed a broom, and swept the tarantula off the landing and into the shrubs — while I yelled “He’s going to grab that broom and toss you! We lived there another year and a half. I always entered through the garage.


JUNTO AL PASEO HAY UN pequeño café que no sobrevivió a la pandemia. Se llamaba Plan B. Me pregunto si tienen un Plan C.

En mi caminata de ayer, en medio de una de las rotondas del camino, pasé por un monumento donado al Ayuntamiento de Fuengirola por el Club de Leones. Me pregunto si podemos devolverlo.

Mientras continuaba mi larga caminata cuesta arriba, planeaba continuar caminando hasta un resort cercano para obtener más fotos a la muy buena luz de un grupo de esculturas de elefantes (haz clic aquí). Pero después de caminar unos 4 km (2,5 millas), me encontré con el letrero al otro lado de la carretera que me daba la bienvenida a Benalmádena y me recordó que eso era lo más lejos que se me permitía llegar. Nuestras restricciones de covid se han extendido hasta el 10 de diciembre y no puedo salir del municipio. Entonces, lo siento, no hay elefantes.

En mi camino de regreso, vi una tarántula. Me reí para mí mismo, ‘Oh, no tenemos esos aquí’. Cuando me acerqué me di cuenta de que era solo una planta de agave bebé que tuvo la desgracia de caer sobre el pavimento en lugar de tierra donde fácilmente habría echado raíces. Hubo otros. Cuando llegué a casa, leí sobre tarántulas. Los tenemos en Andalucía.

Cuando vivíamos en San Diego en los años 90, un día conduje con un amigo al Wild Animal Park [parque de animales salvajes] — now called San Diego Zoo Safari Park [zoológico de san diego, parque de safari] al norte de la ciudad. Caminamos por la casa de las mariposas y nos encontramos con un cuidador que sostenía un terrario de plástico que contenía una tarántula. Mi amigo le preguntó al portero si era peligroso. “Oh no,” respondió casualmente. “No es peor que la picadura de una abeja”. Retrocedí unos metros. Soy alérgico a las picaduras de abejas; esa tarántula podría matarme.

Algún tiempo después, un amigo nos visitó desde Los Ángeles. Llegamos a casa una noche y subimos las escaleras hasta la puerta principal de nuestro edificio de condominios, que estaba al pie de un cañón. Una enorme (en serio) tarántula se sentó frente a la puerta. Nuestro amigo y yo volvimos a bajar las escaleras. San Geraldo entró, tomó una escoba y arrastró la tarántula del rellano hacia los arbustos, mientras yo gritaba: “¡Él va a agarrar esa escoba y tirarte!” Vivimos allí otro año y medio. Siempre entraba por el garaje.

Still in Fuengirola.
Todavía en Fuengirola.
An agave flower stem covered with new plants after blooming.
Un tallo de flor de agave cubierto con plantas nuevas después de la floración.
San Diego condo. We lived so close to the San Diego Zoo, we could hear the lions roar at night.
Condominio en San Diego. Vivíamos tan cerca del zoológico de San Diego que podíamos oír rugir a los leones por la noche.

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..

34 thoughts on “Tarantula & Plan B”

  1. A rather uninspired monument, maybe you could have a heroic bronze of a certain saint made and offer it as an enhancement.

    1. David:
      I should. Anything would be an improvement. (Well, I shouldn’t say that. We’ve got some other pure crap pieces around town.)

  2. Something else we have in common–I’m also allergic to bees (with several anaphylactic episodes under my belt–pre-Epipen)–and I had a bit of a terrifying encounter with a real tarantula when I was about seven. While I lived overseas during most of my childhood and early teens, one year was spent in TX. We visited a relative in OK who lived way out in the country. While playing outside with kids one day, I raced towards the front steps when everyone screamed at me to stop. Yep, I was just about six inches from putting my bare foot right on top of a very, very large tarantula. If I hadn’t run into my father (almost knocking him down) while tearing off in a panic in the opposite direction, I’d probably have reached the east coast sooner or later. Ugh. Had nightmares about that incident for quite a while. Though not quite as many as I did about the 6′ snake that someone threw around my neck that same year…let’s just say TX and OK don’t hold many good memories for me. 🙂

    1. Mary:
      My general allergy developed after years of bee stings and a local allergy. So only one trip to the emergency room. But, I keep forgetting to get a new Epipen! Texas and Oklahoma wouldn’t hold good memories for me either!

    1. anne marie:
      “Interesting.” I had an aunt who would use that word whenever she didn’t like something but wanted to be polite.

    1. wickedhamster:
      I’m hoping maybe there are better people in place for the selection process. The Lions monument is from 2010.

  3. We have several rules here at Casa Bob y Carlos: I take care of snakes because Carlos shrieks like a girl and runs in circles until he faints, while he takes care of spiders and bugs because I shriek like a girl and run to the nearest realtor to put the house up for sale.

    That said, the Lions Club sure loves n ugly monument.

    1. Bob:
      I’d probably leave a snake to SG. I take my chances with spiders and bugs and hope they’re not just like bee stings. That Lions Club monument (from 2010) is one of the worst I’ve seen around town and we have some REALLY bad monuments around town.

  4. My mind goes directly to the southern Italian folk dance, but that’s another thing all together…We have tarantulas here in New Mexico. They are harmless and fairly reclusive. They are the least of my worries here. Rattlesnakes and other wild creatures are more worrisome. Take for example the Tarantula Hawk Wasp which I see at least once each spring flying around the vegetable garden. It’s the tarantulas that are its victims.

    1. Frank:
      That tarantula hawk wasp is beautiful. But I don’t think I’d be getting MY finger anywhere near it. As for the tarantulas, I’d rather not take my chances on an allergic reaction.

  5. Had I seen the baby agave I too would have thought it was a hug bug too and that tranulata? I’d been out of the house the next day!!!!!!! No big spiders for me.

    1. Mistress Maddie:
      I appreciate small spiders and the stunning artwork of orb weavers, but I’ll still keep my distance. And when the spider is big enough to lift a SmartCar, I’m gone.

    1. Debra:
      You won’t find me confusing the dance with the spider! Although I’d probably be able to dance that way if I stepped on one. Anyway, the dance (tarantella) in Spanish is tarantela.

  6. What a boring and uninspiring monument! Waste of money I say.
    I am in charge of spider disposal should they hitch a ride on us and come inside the house. I am getting pretty good with a glass jar and lid…..and out they go to hitch another ride inside!! lol
    Now, if it happened to be a tarantula I may have to pass this one off to someone else!

    1. Jim:
      I was shocked when I saw that “monument.” I wonder what the City thought of the gift when it was unveiled.

      Would you pass the tarantula duty off to Ron … or to passing stranger?

      1. Jim:
        Uh oh. And I would imagine you don’t get many passing strangers in your neck of the woods. We can just escape to the terrace and yell for help.

  7. We have very pretty red-rumped tarantulas here. Apparently it is just their hairs that “sting” you. While I am fond of spiders, I am wary of them. But I bet agave spines hurt worse that a tarantula bite/sting. Looking forward to seeing the elephants once your restrictions are lifted. You must feel like a windup car that keeps running into a wall.

    1. Wilma:
      I’m pretty sure tarantulas bite as well as use their hairs to sting. But it’s rare for them to bite humans. Still, I’m not taking any chances.

  8. So pleased that I live in tarantula free England ! I had a little ” air plant” delivered yesterday that looks very similar to your agave. Hoping it will grow and thrive under my tender care!

    1. Frances:
      But I have a Spanish friend who’s terrified of spiders and says she never saw as many as spiders as she did when she lived in the Peak District.

      I love air plants. Had a collection of them when we lived in California. Have been tempted to buy some here to mount on a wall (since the cats would love to toss them around). I hope you enjoy yours and have great success. My mother had one she brought back to Brooklyn from San Diego one year. Years later, it produced the most spectacular bloom.

    2. Have a look at etsy.com and enter ” air plants”. Mine came from Biotope aquatics Ltd and they def. post overseas!

      1. Frances:
        Thanks! I can have a good time. Our local nurseries have a lot of them, but they’re not local enough. One is only 10 minutes away but it’s in the next municipality and we can’t go there due to our latest covid restrictions.

  9. Poor Plan B.

    That Lion’s Club statue is a little too self-referential. Why didn’t they put something up with more civic purpose or at least aesthetic appeal?

    I’d have been tempted to collect some of those poor suffering baby agaves and bring them home and plant them. And thus be saddled with more houseplants.

    1. Steve:
      Yes, I thought the Lions Club “monument” was an insult. And don’t think I wasn’t tempted to “save” some of those agaves. I’d be just like you if San Geraldo weren’t so completely opposite. Little plants. Saving plants. Nursing plants. That makes him crazy. But now the responsibility is mine… all mine!

  10. Poor little agave/tarantula. It did look like one. I’ve only seen one in the wild – in Colorado desert just as I was stepping out of a vehicle (that is where I was born, Montrose Colorado, still have relatives there). As for the cafe Plan B, people are resilient. Hopefully when things are safer they can recreate themselves. Everyone has gone through alot in this pandemic

    1. Cheapchick:
      This being a resort town, restaurants and bars regularly open and close but, as you can imagine, this year has been especially hard. The economy was booming and so many places had opened in the months before the pandemic. Many of them couldn’t even make it through the first year. So many closes places, but so many new places already opening or announcing. The tide will turn… again.

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