How Daniel from Doncaster met Maria from Minsk in an Irish bar in Spain is a heart-warming modern tale, writes Jim Duffy.
This week I witnessed one of the best things to come out of iPhones, tech companies and normal human behaviour. It was totally random, but heart-warming and a little humorous all at the same time. Rather than experience my own Tinder date, I was given a front-row seat as another couple met up. It was not what I expected.
“The rain in Spain stays mainly on the plain” is actually pretty accurate. The Costa Blanca has a great climate where it does indeed feel like it has 320 days of sunshine a year. But, when it rains in Spain, it does not do it in a Scottish dreich way.
Rather it pours heavily almost like a monsoon. So, as I was expecting a few days of this heavy watery stuff to fall from the sky, I decided with my wife to head to Alicante for a night out. Not that Alicante was going to be any drier than the Spanish countryside, but it was wee change from watching the clouds hang over the Spanish mountains. So, onto my iPhone I went to book an Airbnb.
Like all big cities, Alicante has a plethora of bars, eateries and eclectic places to hang out. There is tapas galore and cafes that serve this all day. There are steak houses, just as in the UK, sushi bars, gastro-type bars and of course Chinese, Thai and Indian.
A search on Google of “bars near me” revealed there was a quaint little Irish bar only three blocks away from where we were staying. The photos looked good and to be honest I have not had a Guinness for years. So, the black stuff came calling.
“The Little Duke”, which seems a peculiar name for an Irish bar, lived up to the expectations that Trip Advisor had set. On a night when the thunder and lightning filled the sky, coming all the way across the Med from northern Africa, the Little Duke hit the spot. It was warm with old-style wood everywhere. The gantry was full of whiskies and gins and, of course, Spanish brandies. The lighting was soft with honey glows and the Guinness tap behind the bar looked as it has over the decades. It’s an icon really, a thing of beauty. We sat at the bar near the big window looking onto the street. Time for a pint, a gin for my wife and a quiet night chatting about anything really, anything except Donald Trump. But then it happened.
Singletons looking for sun
The chap sitting at the small high table across from us was busy on his phone. He was engrossed as he tapped away. Every now and then he would raise a smile and then put the phone down. A short time would elapse, the phone would ping and he would be summoned back to his digital world. We left him to it, until he started some conversation with us. The long and short of it was that he lived Doncaster, was divorced and was here in Alicante to look at apartments. It is not an unusual story to be frank. Many “singletons” decide that selling up in the UK and moving three hours south is a good way to spend the next chapter of their lives (remember that 320 days of sunshine...)
It transpired that Daniel (not his real name) was waiting for Maria (again disguised) and that they had met that day on Tinder. So, having only been in the country for 48 hours, Daniel was already dating. That’s fast I thought. But, it seems that it is commonplace as people travel across the globe. Rather than spend the night alone in a bar, they will hook up with a local and share some quality time. That quality time would begin in 35 minutes as Maria’s arrival was imminent.
Daniel said he was a little nervous and he apologised for chatting so much. But, we said he was fine as we were intrigued about who would walk thorough the door. She sounded even more interesting than you might imagine.
Maria was from Minsk and now lived in Alicante. She had red hair and indeed looked very Russian. So here we were in an Irish bar in Alicante with Daniel from Doncaster waiting nervously to meet Maria from Minsk. The power of tech...
It was explained to us by Daniel that he regularly used Tinder and that he had engaged in some long-term relationships as a result. His profile, he said, was honest, so any prospect would have no surprises and it made the night go more smoothly.
We were beginning to get more excited at the arrival of Maria than Daniel. So, it was agreed that if and when she arrived, we would of course keep quite and leave them be.
Daniel needed to visit the gents and off he popped. On his return, Maria from Tinder walked in. Yes, with gorgeous red hair and looking Russian and very sophisticated. They both greeted each other and the date commenced.
As we sat “unaware” of the Tinder experience taking place beside us, it was quickly evident that they were getting on like a house on fire. Phew... But, it made me think about how things have changed so much in the last 20 years. Technology does sometimes take a pummelling, but on this occasion it worked and as we left our little Irish bar, Doncaster and Minsk were laughing and joking and communicating as if they had known each other for years.
Isn’t it amazing what technology can do, when it’s raining in Alicante?