Sunday, May 13, 2012

Camino Entry 29

Day 29, December 23rd, 2011

Grape vines in winter.
I picked some grapes this morning, left over on the vines in a vineyard.  They had almost thawed from last night's frost.  So good, so sweet, so cold.  I am reminded of William Carlos Williams:

This Is Just To Say

I have eaten
the plums
that were in
the icebox

and which
you were probably
for breakfast

Forgive me
they were delicious
so sweet
and so cold


Whenever I feel homesick, the solution is to ask, "Am I absolutely certain that this is exactly what I should be doing right now?"  The answer is always yes.

I wonder if my demon on this camino is the need to arrive . . .

Expenses, Day 29

Café con leche: 1.10
Provisions: 5.00
Albergue: 10.00
Dinner: 7.00
Total: 23.10
Trip Total: 668.83


You know that it's cold in the albergue when you piss in the toilet and steam comes out.

We had a warm dinner, though.  Ernesto made paella, which I record the process of which here for posterity:

One stick of butter and a minced onion -- grill in pan.
Add raw rice and a cup of wine.  Mix.
Simmer meat and matching type of broth in pot with garlic.
Add broth and meat bit by bit to the rice and onions.  Cook down and eat.

We also had wine, ice cream with peaches, chorizo and artichokes with bread, and a Korean feast.  All in all, it was a triumphant feast.  Good comrades and good conversation, if a bit too much wine.

Two temporary additions to our group = Mardas, a Latvian, middle-aged guy with a pony tail who has been living on the camino for the past five years as sort of a traveling steward (he's a bit of a loner), and a young Japanese guy who has cycled from St. Jean Pied-de-Port.  He's gotten this far in only three days, and on a 30 euro bicycle that he bought in France!  And here I am, 29 days in . . . I daresay the thing will fall apart on him by Compostela, by the looks of it.

So, around the table we had (in no particular order) (and I include our nicknames):

1 American (me) (Superman)
4 Koreans (Warrior, Beauty, GPS, and Master)
1 Japanese (Samurai)
1 Brazilian (Joker)
1 Venezuelan (Beast)
1 Latvian (Mardas hasn't got a nickname yet)

No Ursula today, although she stopped by the albergue.  She is in a hotel for Christmas, and took a field trip today to see some incredibly old documents -- supposedly they are the oldest written Spanish in the world.

Languages spoken at the dinner table included: English, Spanish, Portuguese, German, Korean, and Japanese.  I am so lucky to be here, and I cannot imagine living without having this kind of experience.  How can people live their whole lives without realizing how big the world is?!?

I cannot imagine not having lived the past year in the company of people from all over the world.  They are my brothers and sisters.  I would not be a complete person without this experience.

And I definitely chose the coldest spot to spread my sleeping bag.  Ego and my reputation as a Michigander are at stake here, after all.  We'll see what ego thinks about that in the morning.

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