I love Málaga - the men, the beaches, the temperature, the seafood, the sweet wine. Last weekend I took a detour and stayed in Marbella. It was a small and cute place, but as my friend pointed out, "Está sobrevalorada." [It's overrated.] As with all places you visit though, it pays to talk to locals.
I stayed in the old town (casco antiguo), in the Bohemia Hostel. I'm not normally picky about where I stay, but this place gave me the creeps. It was old and needed fixing. Needless to say, it'll be getting a negative review from me. The location was very convenient, though. A few minutes from the beach with the best sand, restaurants, the Park Alameda, and the old town.
On Saturday I travelled by bus very easily to Puerto Banús, the rich area. I went to the street market, which had a mix of crappy, dollar-store merchandise and higher-quality, more expensive goods. I walked away buying nothing and feeling disappointed by the prices. While waiting for the bus back to Marbella, a Filipina struck up a conversation with me. I commented on how Marbella was filled with Asians from different countries, while in Jaén it's a whole other ballgame. She told me that San Pedro not only was one of the best places to visit, there were also tonnes of Filipinos and of course, our food. My mouth started watering as I explained that I hadn't eaten Filipino food since Christmas, when I visited my parents. She told me there was a place near my hostel, and she kindly walked me there. It was hilarious speaking with the owner, who scolded me for not knowing Tagalog, and for having an "ugly" Andalucían accent. "It sounds like there's something stuck in your throat! 'E' que, e' que' [Es que, es que].... qué asco!" she chided.
We had a good laugh, and I had my Filipino food that I'd been craving: chicken adobo, where the meat is simmered in a sauce that combines white vinegar, soy sauce, bay leaves, pepper, and other spices. Poured over white rice, it's a heavy dish but so satisfying. I then walked to the beach, stripped down to my bikini, and fell asleep on the sand.
Overall, Marbella is a nice place to relax and get away from the heat of Andalucía's interior. But with its prices and small size, I'll probably stick with Málaga next time.