Thar she blows / Por allí resopla

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

SAN GERALDO AND I HAVE lived in Fuengirola nearly eight years. People regularly tell us they’ve seen dolphins swim by. We’ve never seen one. There are whale and dolphin cruises that leave from the port, so we know they’re out there. We’ve been on whale cruises in Maui, Hawaii, and in San Diego and Santa Barbara, California, but we’ve never gotten around to taking one of the local cruises. During my walk away from our home on the beach yesterday into the neighbourhood of Los Pacos, I was finally able to shout “Thar she blows!” It was a blue whale, a rare (as in never) sighting. Thanks to the carwash, the whale’s spout was visible even in the fog.

I had planned to walk further into the countryside but it began to spit rain and, although I figured I would survive it, my camera wouldn’t. Besides some of the trails had been inundated in our recent storms and were still a bit of a mess and I wasn’t wearing hiking shoes but a pair of nice Puma sneakers. So, I turned back.

Speaking of which, do you call them sneakers? San Geraldo calls them tennis shoes (often “tennies”), whether he plays tennis in them or not. Our English friends call them trainers. I grew up calling them all sneakers and then specifying if necessary. Basketball shoes, tennis shoes, running shoes.


SAN GERALDO Y YO HEMOS vivido en Fuengirola casi ocho años. La gente nos dice con regularidad que han visto nadar delfines. Nunca hemos visto uno. Hay cruceros de ballenas y delfines que parten del puerto, así que sabemos que están ahí. Hemos estado en cruceros de ballenas en Maui, Hawái, y en San Diego y Santa Bárbara, California, pero nunca llegamos a tomar uno de los cruceros locales. Durante mi caminata de ayer fuera de nuestra casa en la playa hacia el barrio de Los Pacos, finalmente pude gritar “¡Ay, ella sopla!” Era una ballena azul, un avistamiento raro (como nunca). Gracias al lavado de autos, el pico de la ballena era visible incluso en la niebla.

Había planeado caminar más hacia el campo, pero comenzó a escupir lluvia y, aunque pensé que sobreviviría, mi cámara no lo haría. Además, algunos de los senderos se habían inundado en nuestras tormentas recientes y todavía estaban un poco desordenados y no llevaba zapatos para caminar, sino un par de bonitas zapatillas Puma. Entonces, me di la vuelta.

Hablando de eso, ¿las llamas zapatillas? San Geraldo los llama tenis (a menudo “tennies”), ya sea que juegue tenis con ellos o no. Nuestros amigos ingleses los llaman entrenadores. Crecí llamándolos a todos zapatillas y luego especificando si era necesario. Zapatillas de baloncesto, tenis, zapatillas para correr.

“Thar she blows” [Por allí resopla] se refiere al grito del vigía de un ballenero al avistar una ballena.

My sneakers.
Mis “sneakers” [zapatillas].
If I was being specific in the ’60s, what tennis shoes looked like.
Si estaba siendo específico en los años 60, cómo eran los “tennis shoes” [zapatos de tenis].

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..

41 thoughts on “Thar she blows / Por allí resopla”

  1. OMG! You HAD ME GOING and I was fully prepared for a whale photo! I got one, but not the one I expected. (Although I admit I was surprised a blue whale would go into the Mediterranean.)

    I still say sneakers. I’ve adopted some British-isms but not “trainers.”

    1. Steve:
      My English is so confused now. I find I often say some words with a Spanish accent… even Jerry’s name — and mine. And, since the only English-speakers we know here are from the UK (or Spaniards who speak British English), I find myself using English words as opposed to American words so I know I’ll be understood. I keep noticing inconsistencies in my word usage and my spelling when I write my blog.

  2. Perhaps its time to book one of those dolphin cruises so you can see what a real one looks like? 🙂 Or soon after the pandemic

    1. Cheapchick:
      That was the plan with our friend Lulu ages ago. Then the pandemic hit. So, now we wait for it to be over and for Lulu to be back in town.

  3. real pleasure to see sunshine in your photos, we have had nothing but cloudy skies here for days now and some snow. Tired of grey sky.

    1. Laurent:
      We tire of gray sky after a few days (SG after one), so I feel for you. Lots of blue sky and sunshine again today, and 70F!

  4. That second picture today is everything!!!!! Is that a whale weather vane? It made me smile.

    You two should do the whale cruise again. I always find them exciting when we do them in P-Town. There are just no words or picture to do them justice. Just seeing and being that close to something that large and graceful blows my mind.

    1. Mistress Borghese:
      The whale is a sign to advertise a car wash adjoining a gas station alongside the highway. We’ll definitely do the whale/dophin cruise here. We had planned to go with our friend Lulu, who’s back again in Finland. We were waiting for the pandemic to pass… and still are. So, when we feel safe, and when Lulu’s back, we’ll go. Our first experience in Mauii was phenomenal. San Diego and Santa Barbara were both amazing experiences. In Santa Barbara, a mother whale and her calf had been right next to the boat. We were standing at the bow and lost them. Everyone thought they dove and swam away. Suddenly the mother shot out of the water in front of us from underneath the boat. We could almost touch her! (And it scared the crap out of us.)

  5. Thar she blows, huh? I thought I was going to see a bootleg picture of me boogie boarding at the beach 🙂 This is more attractive. Born and raised in San Diego. I call them tennies. Trainers sound like those baby’s first walking ankle support shoes.

    1. Deedles:
      The first time we went on a whale cruise (in Mauii), my best friend was living there. He wouldn’t go on the cruise with us because he said every time he did, the passengers would try to roll him back into the water.

      1. Deedles:
        You would have loved him! We knew each other from Boston. SG and I were living in D.C. when he moved to Maui. From there he went to San Diego but he died the month before we moved there. He was always filled with joy and people were drawn to him.

    1. Wilma:
      I don’t think I’ve ever heard SG use the word “sneakers.” Then again, no one has ever heard me use the word “tennies.”

    1. Jim:
      Running shoes, yes (if they are specifically running shoes), but never runners. Fascinating.

  6. sneakers; it’s what we’ve always called them. tie them together and hang them across the telephone wires.

    1. anne marie:
      Yes, the Northeast. We probably have a lot of language in common. But I never tied my together and tossed them over telephone wires.

  7. When growing up in the Cleveland area, they were tennis shoes. They might have become sneakers now; I haven’t had occasion to check when I’m back in the area.

    1. Wickedhamster:
      I would have expected them to be called tennis shoes in Cleveland. Where I grew up, we called that the midwest.

  8. “Runners!” I have occasionally used “sneakers” in the past. There’s also a tendency to call them by their brand names — “my Nikes,” “my Reeboks,” etc.

    1. Debra:
      Maybe “runners” is a common Canadian term. I used the term “running shoes” but I meant that very specifically. I have heard them called by brands, especially when the brands are considered cool. When I was a kid, we did often refer to our Keds. A bit older, Converse.

    1. Bob:
      I wonder what it is in Upstate New York. A lot of terms were the same as the Midwest (like pop instead of soda).

  9. I grew up calling them tennis shoes, or tennies. That’s what I still call them, but it seems to confuse the sneaker-calling public. I thought you actually saw a whale, silly. We once saw a minke whale from a ferry. I think we were headed back to Seattle from Victoria, B.C.–a fun place to visit. People around here say they see dolphins all the time, but I haven’t. I guess I hang out in the wrong places. A few years ago, a friend and I ate at a restaurant just outside of St. Augustine. When we walked to the water, a manatee swam up to us to say hello.


    1. Janie:
      Oh, a manatee! That would be amazing. I’ve never seen one. We’ve seen lots of whales, even from shore — just never here.

    1. Walt the Fourth:
      Albany I think was more akin to NYC in usage. I wonder if they call them sneakers in Buffalo or Rochester. I can’t remember. Do you say soda or pop?

      1. Soda. Although, for a short time, my family lived in a “pop” region near the NY-PA border, just south of the Finger Lakes.

      2. Walt the Fourth:
        Isn’t it fascinating how quickly dialects change in New York State? (And all over the country… and world.) A good friend here talks about his origins in the English midlands and how easy it is to tell his accent from the one of a city less than 10 miles away.

  10. Definitely trainers here in UK ! I assume they are called sneakers because you can ” sneak” about in them……quiet, soft, shoes as opposed to hard soled ones?

    1. Frances:
      I’m sure you’re right about the term “sneakers.” Now I need to go study up on word origins!

  11. Tennis shoes, with an admonition from my mother that I was never to be sneaking around, so don’t call them that! More often today, running shoes – my primary footwear the last decade.

    1. David:
      My primary footwear the last decade, too, although I still say sneakers. However, the Pumas pictured were sold as cross-trainers!

  12. It is an eastern thing, I think, like WCS said. I grew up in NJ calling them sneakers (as did my Massachusetts family), and never used tennis shoes — ever! (though, yup, I agree with you on the photo). But, here in Missouri, no one (ever!) calls them sneakers… I was always laughed at 😉

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