Yesterday we traveled over a torturous road to a small mountain village, Huebro. We came to hang around in the big hill town of Nijar. We huffed and puffed our way up to the look-out tower that gives a view over the sea of plastic greenhouses that fill the plain. The real sea glitters beyond. Joe remembered that we had visited Huebro before. I had a vague memory of the terror that can only be experienced by a driver, helpless in the passenger seat when hair-pin bends are being negotiated on a narrow track with no guard rail. Joe could only remember the little taverna where delicious tapas and cheap but good wine was the staple. And so….we went. Is it better to close one’s eyes or one’s mouth in such circumstances? Choices, choices.
Thank the gods of travel that no one wanted to leave Huebro and go to Nijar on the way to…and we only met one brave soul on the way back.
What we found in the little taverna, next to an enormous church (is it ever full, I wondered) was a lively group of young families and this gentleman. He was preparing seed potatoes for planting. Of course, Joe got into a conversation with him and they discussed the virtues of various types of potatoes. He had an allotment somewhere close to the village and he was preparing to plant in hopes of a good crop in April. He had brought his sack of potatoes from home and was enjoying the company around him as he did his chore. The owner of the café certainly did not mind. I don’t think she minded much. She was a no-nonsense type. When Joe teased her by saying he hadn’t enjoyed his paella, she retorted, “Hombre, I don’t care. You cleaned the plate. Now pay me….and cash, we have no machines here.” Certainly the wine she served made me much more relaxed on the drive down.
The old man told us he was eighty years old. When is it that we start proudly telling people our age, I wonder. It never even crossed my mind to ask him but he seemed to think it was something I should know. I told him his potatoes probably kept him going and he laughed.
So, the old is centre stage here. Can you see the new?
My poetry book, “Northern Compass” available on Amazon.com and Amazon.ca