Blogs in this series

Life in Culebrón is a disconnected series of pieces about the banal and ordinary of everyday life in an inland Alicante village seen from my very British perspective.

Saturday, March 23, 2013

The Real Spain

We were probably as guilty as anyone. We wanted the Real Spain. That's the one where dark skinned men ride donkeys and raven haired señoritas swirl their skirts. Houses should probably be whitewashed and bougainvillea trimmed. A BMW xD35i would be a cause for young boys to point. Benidorm and Torremolinos would, like Bhopal or Fukushima, be places to avoid.

Not a lot of donkeys in Cartagena.  Though we did get the Friday off work because it was Dolores  - Nuestra Señora de los Dolores - Patron Saint of Cartagena. There were bands marching up and down the street getting ready for the processions, fine tuning their timing for Holy Week. They were surrounded by shoppers. All next week it will be big time Catholic ritual as the brotherhoods, dressed in robes that became the model for the Klan, parade around town carrying huge religious statues. One of my students told me that he dislikes the religious parades but he loves being in Cartagena for Holy Week. The town's alive he says.

On the way home to Culebrón we stopped in the industrial estate between Santomera and Abanilla to go to the restaurant that shares a metal box type industrial building with a sweet manufacturer. Lovely sugary smell as we left. We reckoned the restaurant would have a cheap set meal because there were lots of production line workers sitting at the tables outside having a smoke. We were right; the bar was heaving and the food was cheap. There were maybe five blokes behind the bar and the waiter dealing with our section was actually running between tables. It was as typical a bar as you could possibly want though there wasn't a whiff of bougainvillea.

We've got builders in. There are a couple of blokes plastering as I type. They'd said they'd be here around 10.30 and one of them did show up pretty punctually for a builder at 11.10. Before coming here they'd been to check that the solar powered hot water system they'd installed somewhere else yesterday was working properly. One of them couldn't come straight here after he'd checked that job because he had to take his daughter to her swimming class.

So, you see, we got the real Spain after all.

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