Today as I almost swam down the streets of Santiago, I noticed how hilly this city is. There are a lot of stairs, and it became obvious as to why they have large drains in the middle of the streets. The laneways turn into rivers and the staircases turn into waterfalls when it rains. My thoughts turned to those pilgrims walking on Caminos as the thunder cracked and lightening flashed alarmingly close by.
I sheltered in the doorway of a shop that was lit up like a Xmas tree. It was stinky- selling meat products. Not like our butcher shops at all. It looked like it should have pin ball and slot machines within.
I had to make a hasty retreat though and swim a bit further to shelter as my confidence was shattered after cockily beginning a conversation with the lady behind the counter. I used just about my entire vocabulary (pretty much one sentence) and she proceeded to spout what I imagined was her whole life history (including what she had for breakfast). School time can’t come fast enough. I won’t survive if I don’t learn some Spanish!
So it was raining heavily, and my feet were wet, but the upside if this was that the smell of urine was being washed away. This is something that really bothers me here in Spain. Why do men have to pee against a wall, a tree or a post like a dog. Is it a primal instinct? Weird.
Another thing about Spain is the rubbish (trash) collection. There are large bins everywhere. People take their stuff to these bins in the street. It seems to work really well, however, I have had to learn intermittent breathing patterns as I have to hold my breath when I pass by. I’m getting good at this. Should come in handy if I need to swim around Santiago again sometime. Momentarily, I fancied myself entering swimming events with my new found skill.
Another weird thing I have discovered is that the Spanish people think we are strange saying thank you and sorry all the time. I have been made acutely aware of how often those words fall from my lips and I’m having to stop myself. It annoys them! Apparently the way to say thank you is to return a favour or deed another time.
I stopped in again at Pilgrim House to use the wifi and find out where I could buy some coloured pencils. I can’t draw but my mind seems to think I should give it a crack, so I thought it might be a good idea. Took this awesome photo there!
I went next door and had an amazing empanada for lunch (best in town I reckon), and then swam off against the tide to higher ground. Ending up in a supermarket after purchasing the all -important art supplies that are going to turn me into a famous artist, I went to the supermarket. This is always fun in another country. Nothing much in there is familiar and google translate was working overtime as I tried to decipher the labels. was thinking of getting some Epsom salts for Monica to put in a bath when she gets here (arriving tonight after a long flight and long drive) but only found this and I’m not sure what google translate means!
I had grand ideas of baking some Aussie ANZAC biscuits but I don’t think Spain knows what golden syrup or dedicated coconut is. I then thought I could make some soup but my bag was getting too heavy and I had a long trip ahead of me to get home ( uphill again and in the rain)
Such an interesting place…. stopped in my tracks when I saw that I could get an impecable white Colon if I used cold water and this product!
And I left feeling slightly ill when I saw that their fridge was full of these things! I once ate them in scrambled eggs and found out later they are baby eels…. And the smell of the Pescadería ugh!
Writing all this I realise what a busy day I had! It was about 4.00 by then and the sky was getting darker so I swam down to the bus stop and watched people taking photos of each other with the Two Marías.
These statues are of two sisters who after decades of dictatorship, rebelled by wearing bright colours and lots of make up when they took their constitutional each day at 2pm. They used to tease the university students and when they both died (in the 1980’s) the art students made these statues and put them in the park. They have become legendary and brought colour in dark times.
So then I jumped on the bus. It appeared that there was some sort of domestic happening, although I can’t tell because when Spanish people talk they get very passionate and animated. They always sound like they are arguing! Anyway, The grumpy old man in the front seat was yelling at a woman up the back, and every now and again, someone in the middle joined in. Fantastic entertainment for one euro!
I dragged my soggy self up the hill to the house and came across this beautiful little soul. He made my day
I’m now waiting for Gonzalo to arrive home. He drove all the way to Madrid (6 hours) to pick up Monica and her dog from the airport! They are now driving through snow to get home again !