Tuesday, April 10, 2007

We spent Easter weekend (holidays in Catalonia: Good Friday to Easter Monday) out in the pueblo. Nice weather, very tranquil, far away from computers and translations. We took the dog out every day--walked up the Segura road, up the road to L'Ametlla, down toward Guimerà, up the valley to the spa. Perla the dog loves bounding through wheatfields; that's quite practical now that the wheat is still green and about a foot and a half high.

It's rained a great deal here recently, the first real hard rain since winter 2005, more than three inches in Barcelona. When you figure Catalonia gets 20-25 inches of rain a year, three inches is a lot. So everything out in the country is green and looks like Ireland. This'll last until about the end of May or so, when the dry summer begins to kick in. Out in Vallfogona they don't irrigate anything except the vegetable gardens along the bank of the stream, but parts of central and western Catalonia do irrigate extensively.

Remei made me haul out a bunch of old junk, which weighed a ton, out of the top two floors of that enormous old house we have. Remei's mother, of course, pitched a fit that we were throwing out her beloved garbage, but she calmed down pretty soon and was actually very well-behaved in general. I mean this stuff was garbage, too, broken doors and smashed-up chairs and mattresses from the 1950s; we didn't throw out anything that was either useful or had any possible sentimental value. Remei gave Ramon from Cal Matruqueu fifty bucks to drag the crap to the dump in his tractor and wagon; it was the big news in town on Sunday afternoon. "Hey, look, they're throwing out a bunch of crap at Cal Elvira and the Anglés is getting all sweaty and Rosa is hollering at him. Let's go check it out."

Vallfogona has a couple of Rumanian families; everyone seems to get along fine, though the Catalans say the Rumanians aren't very communicative. Let me tell you, small-town Catalans can be pretty damn uncommunicative at times, too. Everybody seems to respect these Rumanian folk because they're family people with jobs; I doubt the locals would tolerate any outsiders who weren't. Pretty much the only social mixing seems to be at the Barça games on TV at the local bar, which the whole town shows up for. I noticed there was a sign up in the bar in Rumanian saying that Orthodox religious services are held in Rumanian at the church over in Arbeca on Sundays. I bet ten years from now half the people who live in Vallfogona year-round will be Eastern Europeans.

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