Monday, July 25, 2011
Next we had the big race. Saturday morning. Five and a half kilometres of either walking or running. Two separate starts half an hour apart but the first runner home was only seconds behind the first walker. There was a little lad walking home swinging his hips, like someone from a "Carry On" film, apparently in second place but as soon as he crossed the line the judges disqualified him; they said he'd run. It was odd, hundreds of people there but hardly any of the usual suspects from the village.
Gachamigas are poor people's food. Flour, water, garlic and oil traditionally cooked in a big deep frying pan and tossed like pancakes. There was a gachamigas competition as part of the do so we expected to find a few people cooking around open fires but instead we encountered a picnic. We'd eaten at home and we hadn't taken any food or drink. We were invited to almost every table for a drink and a bite to eat. We felt like spongers. Maggie spent some time talking to and eating with people up from Alicante to visit relatives but we really sat with Enrique and Victoria's family. Good choice as Enrique's gachamigas carried off the first prize.
Missed the football competition but we were back for the evening meal. No main dish this time just lots of little snacklets - maybe not the best food we've ever had in the village but good company and a good event. Luisa made us feel particularly welcome. The Mayor and a few other politicians from Pinoso are always invited to the meal at each of the village fiestas and it was good to see new faces there after the PSOE victory back in May. Eli, who I once worked with and who is now a councillor, introduced me to Lázaro the new Mayor. I like that sort of thing.
We were too lazy to turn out for the hot chocolate and sweet bread on Sunday morning but being so devoutly religious we were back for the Sunday mass. The fiestas are for our patron saint, St. James, so I suppose the mass and procession were, technically, the main event of the weekend but my reason for turning out was that I'd been asked to take a few snaps. The photos weren't good - always a stray tractor in the background or a telegraph pole out of someone's head. It was a chilly evening. Eli, processing with the other politicians, commented on the coolness. "Well, it is July," I said. The look on her face suggested that she misinterpreted my English humour for a linguistic failing.
So that's it then. All over. The village can get back to normality. Definitely the village fiesta at which I have felt most welcome since we first arrived here. People were uniformly kind and friendly. Smashing.