We were busy working in the forest when we received a call from our friend Manuel. He had made too much cazuela, would we like to come for lunch? We didn’t have to stop to think, of course the answer was “yes” !!
The lunch was ready by the time we arrived. The work of the day for him was pruning his grape vines, and he had 2 men to help him – Antonio and Antonio. (You read that right! We always joke that there are only 4 first names in the village!)
While we ate the delicious cazuela (rice, potatoes, broad beans, onion, garlic, salt cod and rabbit), the talk was stimulating. Had we heard about the submarine crash in the Atlantic? What did we make of it? Kenton and I are as amazed as everyone else.
Had we heard about Nissan closing 20 factories worldwide? Was the economic crisis as bad in the UK as in Spain? We all agreed that the crisis was world-wide, no one had escaped it.
We talk about the US and UK bank bailouts. “What in the world has gone wrong, what were they thinking?” ask the Spaniards. (Spanish banks are generally in better shape than their US/UK counterparts, as they have been more tightly regulated) Better to keep your money in your pocket than to put it in the bank, says Manuel. We all agree.
Many people would consider these guys ‘simple campo guys’. But we found all 3 men amazingly well-informed, much more so than most English people we meet. They devour the news reports, and discuss issues with their friends and family. They don’t refuse to watch the news just because they may find it depressing.
I believe one reason for this is these men remember well the restrictive Franco years, and revel in the freedom to talk about things they find interesting or important. They do not take that freedom for granted.