Monday, July 31, 2006

The Water Carrier

Man, it’s hot! Apart from a strong wind in the afternoon, the air is flat, slightly steamy, and hot. No doubt the rest of Spain is hotter, since we are just a few hundred metres above sea level and only a few kilometres inland, but it’s bad enough. The weatherman yesterday told us that the hot weather we’ve been enjoying for the past two weeks is likely – to get hotter.
He didn’t look too worried; he probably has an air-conditioned home, an air-conditioned car and an air-conditioned studio. Come to think of it, he’s probably, partially, the reason why the weather is so bloody hot.
My house backs into the side of a ‘terraza’ – one of those thin flat fields that climb up the side of the hills and are built up with heavy stones that the peasants used to fashion before the water table fell and the foreigners arrived clutching wads of cash and golf clubs. Together with thick walls (it’s an old house) and high ceilings, it’s moderately cool inside.
We have mosquito netting on some of the windows – the cats are working on reducing the percentage – and a few ‘plug-ins’ here and there. The town hall claims that it has recently fumigated the area, and indeed, there are no other bugs around, except the aforementioned mosquitoes and their daytime friends the flies.
The shopkeepers are unclear as to whether they have sold more or less tee-shirts and humorous ashtrays this year (our sole commercial activity besides rum-and-cokes and apartments) although most agree that there are more visitors who, for some reason or other, spend less.
Since residents rarely venture into the humorous ashtray shops and favour their own tee-shirts (often displaying an amusing play on the word fcuk), the shop-keepers are keen to attract… yet… more turistas with plans to build a huge car-park in the village (containing a hotel, a disco, offices, apartments, tee-shirt emporia and other attractions which, together, - and let’s face it - pay more than parking spots do). Anyway, the walk will do ‘em good!
A new statue has been erected at the back of the village of Mojácar. It is the third in a line of mojaqueras draped in their finery. In fact, such mythical hooded creatures, dressed in shawls, skirts and aprons, with perfect chests covered in a brocaded blouse, with their faces covered with a shawl gripped between their teeth, would carry huge earthen pots of water on their heads up from the fuente. You can imagine how hot they used to get.
This particular one, in bronze, appears to be shaking the dust off her feet. She cost the Ayuntamiento 25,000 euros, and is the Parthian shot of our mayor Gabi, who will be handing over the keys to the petty cash to his successor RosMari Cano in two months. Whether a more appropriate statue for the pueblo would be a man dressed in sandals, hat and sunglasses, with a camera round his neck and carrying a small plastic bag with ‘souvenir’ written on it is hard to say. After all, we don’t like to recognise anyone’s efforts towards this community unless they are at least fifth generation or, at a pinch, in the air-conditioning business.


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