Yes, yes, also around Vergajar * there are cloudy days, rains and even downpours!
In a day like this, typical for Finca San Mateo, waking up usually takes me some time. First I slowly open my eyes. Very slowly even, because half of my mind is still in the world of dreams… Then, welcomed by the morning light, I stand up and open the windows to see and hear the joyful nature outside. But this time something seems to be different. After a while, I start to feel like something was definitely not right. Still missing my coffee, but being awake enough to think little more clearly, I begin to realise where the feeling of confusion comes from.
I cannot hear any singing, ticking, croaking, braying or barking.
Lack of any signs of life.
And this is an unusual state of this garden.
It is really a good reason to concern. Here, in the area known among the Spaniards as campo **, silence is an extremely rare phenomenon and always causes anxiety. Being aware of it, I get up and walk towards the window, ready to see all the possible signs of the end of the world. However, a familiar reality luckily appears in front of my eyes, just the setting of it is wet. Everything is covered with rain and thickened with dark gray screen. It is a completely unfamiliar image of Andalusia and its colours do not remind any Spanish postcards at all.
The world suddenly becomes dark. The palm trees that drip with tears of nature are gloomy green, and the sea line blur completely with the surface of the bleak sky. As if some indefinite force has unexpectedly stripped the world of glittering vitality, enabling vegetative mode instead.
Well, this is definitely not just a metaphorical expression.
We understood it even before we settled here. At that time, during one of our wanderings around the area, we had a pleasure to meet some very interesting person. This extremely talkative owner of a hostel in Mojacar pueblo is called Jose. During the friendly talk he told us about the importance of Spanish habits, like siesta or good evening meal. He also portrayed the specificity of the direct dependence of the average Andalusian’s existence on nature. And, what is very important, he did it in a very vivid and experienced way.
According to his words, the routines of life, for instance work, sport activities, meals and fiestas (the order is given accidentally), are only kept when the sun is shining and the azure sky is not obstructed by clouds.
With other words, people live their lives only when there is a good weather.
So what during those average twenty days of the year when it rains in Andalusia? For Jose our doubts were truly incomprehensible. He strongly believes that any rainfall always means a break in daily activities and absolutely obliges inhabitants of southern Spain to stay at home.
I am just wondering why I have not heard about this rule before? When I was living in Poland or Belgium for example? In these countries, implementation of the rainy day principle would be maybe little less practical, but definitely desirable step.
To tell the truth, during the conversation with Jose I was convinced that our friend, as it happens among Spaniards, slightly colours the reality. However, after a few months of staying here, I was enormously surprised. It turned out that his theory was one hundred percent compatible with reality.
Just imagine, that despite the downpour, you need to pick up some important document from the post office. Or even better, from the city hall (in Spanish called ayuntamiento). Remember that the working hours from 9 to 14 during the rain period may change radically. So when at 13 o’clock the door of the office is closed in front of your face, you have no right to feel irritation. On the contrary, it would be strongly recommended to stay tranquilo *** and tolerant. After all, the higher power (rain) and its rights are sacred here … Whatever happens, do not panic, because if you cannot do it today, you will be able to fix it mañana ****.
Or the day after.
Or next month.
Always remember that life moves much slower here than in any other corner of Europe.
Instead of going to work or to the post office, you can have an expedition to the supermarket, which (unbelievable!) is open even during a storm. Well, this situation is completely understandable. It is obvious that without high-quality and high-flavour food products, the functioning of a Spanish citizen would be seriously disrupted. Especially when it is raining, a rich in calories meal allows you to stay strong, but also motivates to leave the zone of a couch potato.
During the trip to the store you cannot forget that rain makes driving conditions extremely dangerous. Not like in the northern Europe, where it is just a part of the everyday routine. In Andalusia the regional radio regularly reminds you about the risk. It is wet and visibility is limited after all. And it is so easy to skid and have an accident when neither the tires nor the drivers are familiar with water, right?
As a bonus of the situation, in the moment you successfully reach the local Mercadona, you become a part of a friendly shop chat about extreme weather conditions and their consequences. During this kind of conversations ( you are involved regardless you want it or not) you learn about leaking roofs of neighbours, collapsed branches of trees in nearby villages and that fifteen degrees Celsius is too frio ***** to leave the house.
God bless this country!
After all the thoughts that went through my mind when I was looking through the window of my bedroom, I finally decided to go down. It is raining indeed. Even the dog does not want to go outside the terrace. He definitively senses the strong, unpleasant wind that begins to blow …
As a result of these unpleasant weather conditions, everything and everyone finally accepts the specific, Andalusian hibernation.
And because I am already a part of this extraordinary world, I am making a mature decision.
I have no intention to fight with the windmills and I am also staying home.
I am going to enjoy the fire in my fireplace, the warmth of my soft blanket and the taste of tea with lemon and honey. I am also going to provide myself with books, a notebook and my favourite pen.
After all, I belong to the lucky creatures called the inhabitants of southern Spain as well.
So no worries.
Because in the end…
The delay is irrelevant when you have … mañana option.
* My own name for Vera, Garrucha and Mojacar neighborhood. You will not find it on Google
** An extensive, rural or suburban area, where fields, lonely palm trees and countless cacti predominate. The area is extremely favourable to the development of insects, all kinds of reptiles, birds and small (or slightly larger) mammals.
*** calm, quiet