It’s reassuring to find that things don’t change too much.
You go away for a while and come back to discover that people still stop and talk at will, blocking the pavement without a care, even if they are a group in wheelchairs like this morning when I was out for a run.
Cars are still parked in bus bays and get towed away. You still hear the expletive JODER!!! when someone gets back to their quite legally parked cars only to find that they are completely blocked in with the cars in front and behind absolutely bumper to bumper. Well, it was probably the only way the other drivers could fit in, after all. The lady I overheard this lunchtime should be glad her car was not concertinaed between the other two.
And then, of course, there is still cocido. I was so pleased to see this sign outside a restaurant on the sea front.
Our hotel continues to overfeed us. Their problem is that they are so proud of the dishes made on the premises that they want you to have them all. We have persuaded them that we CAN survive on only two courses at lunchtime: an entrante + one other plato. So they tell us what the three courses are and we choose accordingly. Today we had decided to go for the entrante – vol au vent de mariscos – very nice – and the last course which was pork chop with rice. The middle course was empanadillas, not my favourite and so one that I was happy to miss. However, the waiter was really insistent that we had to try the. They make them on the premises and they are very good, we were assured. He went on so much that we agreed to let him put a couple of empanadillas on the plate with the pork chop. If we wanted more, we could ask for more. Ok. Fine. We went along with it and the empanadillas were OK but we’re not big fans of little mini pasties and so we didn’t ask for more.
Now, on Thursday evening, at the cena especial organised by the chess people, we had some very nice empanada, one of the best I’ve eaten, followed by some equally good pulpo. Finally the promised arroz con bogavante arrived. Bogavante never fails to amaze me. Is it just me or is it really an awful lot of fiddling around to get very little out of the claws of the creature? Still the flavour is good and the rice they serve it up with is excellent. I thought I’d got away with a small portion until my plat was whisked away and refilled, coming back with about three times as much as first time round. Ooooof!!!! The following day I heard one of the Spaniards turning away food at lunchtime with the excuse, “Anoche comimos mucho arroz con bogavante”. So, even the natives find it overwhelming. I have to say, though, that the seafood has been very good this week. I’ll be back for more.
At our cena especial we had the company of two delightful young ladies, the ten year old twin daughters of one of the chess players. The parents are Catalans of Andalusian descent and the mother is one of those tall, proud Andalusian women with long dark hair and striking features. The little girls are just clones of Mamá. The best thing about them was that they were so polite and pleasant, joining in the adult conversation when necessary and otherwise just getting on with things. Even our friend Colin from Pontevedra who had popped over for a glass or two of wine was impressed.
The little girls are being educated in Castellano, Catalán and English. The parents told us, in rather bemused tones, that they (the parents) speak to each other on Castellano but to the girls in Catalán. Very strange. But they are very happy with their daughters’ progress. So bilingual or even trilingual education can work, apparently. I’ll be interested to see what their opinion is if / when the girls change schools as they get older.