Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Hospitalera in Corcubion - Day 11

I´ve developed a thing about hair. I just can´t believe that humans lose so much hair and that it is everywhere. Wipe a tiled wall and there will be at least one offending snake left crawling across the wall. Shake the sheets when making a bed and they float up and settle back on the sheets - long blond hair, dark wavy hair, short and curly hair (you know what I mean!) It is starting to drive me nuts. Every morning the broom grows a beard Santa would be proud of - and I have to scratch it off. I´m sure they could manufacture duvet´s for the poor with all the hair that is shed on the camino.
I´ve had a few mishaps with the shopping. There is a stray cat that visits the albergue and we decided to buy some cat pellets when we went shopping the other day.
¨You get food for el gato¨says Isa. We have called the cat Sebastian (because Isa is from San Sebastian) but we don´t know if it should be Sebastiana. No one is prepared to catch the cat and look between its legs. Its happy to walk into the albergue and meow for food but it isn´t too happy with human contact. I've got scratches to prove it. So, off I go to the pet food section and see a very nice packet with a picture of a charming kitty on it. When Sebastian/a came in arching his/her back screeching for food, I opened the packet only to find that I bought Kitty-litter! Screech, screech went the indignant cat so we opened a tin of tuna.

With so many household brands with no pictures on the containers I have put laundry wash in the toilet bowls (no pictures of where the nice smelling´stuff should go. ) I´ve washed down the walls with disinfectant and the other day I cleaned the mirrors with stain remover. They need to have a colour picture manual of household items for those who don´t read Spanish. Isa and I have developed a very vocal ´hospitalera´language.

"Squish, squish" she says whilst demostrating the squeazing of an imaginary hand-held stain remover spray onto an imanginary item before I do the washing.

"Chaka, chaka, chak" accompanied by waist high Ninja-like chops of the right hand means "chop the onions and peppers".

"Floo, floo, floo" whilst rapidly waving the hands, palms up, up and down in the air means shake the sheets on the beds. There is a sound for every activity and duty.

We walked into Corcubion yeserday to do some shopping. The man in the Farmacia very kindly changed my glasses (yes, I managed to break another pair) for a new pair so I can see again. We had a photo of Isa and me printed for the new albergue book that pilgrims write messages in. I now wish that I had copied some of them. We are variously described as ángeles, engels, angel etc - all meaning ángels´. Well, pilgrims think you are an angel if you let them in early or give them a glass of cold water, or perhaps let them go upstairs and shower before having to sign them in. It doesn´t take much to be an ángeles´on the camino.
When we returned to the albergue there was a surprise waiting for me - Sebastien, the French pilgrim-cum-hospital-clown who we had met on our first day from Lourdes to Asson had finally made it to the Fistera Route. Kiss, kiss, hug, hug - long lost family member. Sebastien thought he had picked up bed bugs in Negreira so we found him a shirt (2 sizes too small) and a pair of mens boxers to change into whilst we put all his clothes and sleeping nag into hot water and then the washing machine. He walked around all afternoon with his clown´s hat and boxers. Newly arriving pilgrims were quite startled by the sight but once explanations were made they all nodded sagely and accepted this as the wise thing to do.
Our first Japanese pilgrim arrives. He speaks English and Spanish. "Thunk-ooo. Thunk-oooo!" he says when I tell him about dinner at 8pm and breakfast at 7h30am. "Thunk-ooo, thunk-ooo" he bobs up and down from the waist up with his praying hands together when I tell him that there is tea or coffee in the living room. He looks like one of those plastic birds one attaches to the side of a glass that bob up and down. He is painfully thin (only 50kg he tells me at dinner) like a stick figure. He has a large see through folder with a ton of paper, maps, guides, google maps, GPS positions. "Preparation is most important" he says nodding vigorously I wonder what Sant Iago, the fisherman from the east, would think about this wise man from the far east who has walked all the way from St Jean Pied de Port to visit his tomb?

Later in the afternoon a smiling pilgrim arrives and when I meet him at the door he grins and says, "I think I know you". I had never seen him before. Mistaken identity?
Then he showed me his Pilgrimage-to-Santiago forum badge - the first I've seen. Ah-ha! Who was he?
"I´m from Ireland" he said.
"Sagalout!" I shouted. Big mistake.
"No, he is from England" he said.
Whoops! He was Brian - Brian McKenna from the forum, a delightful pilgrim with a big grin and so happy to be at San Roque I think I would have kept the albergue open just for him.
Isa made spaghetti with mushroom sauce and we got three peregrinas to make fruit salad which we had with cheese and membrillo - a firm, quice jelly-jam that you can cut in thin slices to serve with the sliced cheese. Two young German pilgrims sang a lovely song about about walking with your back to the wind, the sun in your face and when you die, being in heaven for 40 days before the devil knew that you were dead. (At least I think that is what it was about.) The young German chicos didn´t go to bed until after 11pm so Isa went up and left Lola and me holding the fort. I am getting more and more tired and am in need of a loooooong sleep. This up at 6am and getting to bed after 11:30pm is for the younger birds.
Penultimate day and I have mixed feelings. I love it here but I miss home and my family and I want to see my little Emily who was 7 moths old when I left and is now over 8 months and is sitting, crawling about and doesn´t know her ´Silly´granny.
Hasta manana.

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