By Euro Weekly News Media •
Published: 04 May 2012 • 12:46
THE year was 1969. In the United States, we were all feelin’ groovy.
NASA had gone to the moon. The rest of the youth wanted to get to San Francisco and I went to Spain.
Left behind was a psychedelic world full of colours, bright fluorescent hues, flowers, and love.
All that went out of my mind upon arriving in Madrid. I had to get booked on the next flight to the coasts.
No order, rules, or politeness prevailed.
Pushing, shoving, and chaotic deportment was the imperative to garner your tickets.
The worst offenders were the elderly. In those days, the flight was from Madrid to Alicante then Murcia and finally Almeria. Somehow arrival happened.
Spain’s first impressions were created for me on a clear autumn day about 20,000 feet altitude looking out the airplane porthole. I concluded it was the ‘most bullfighting country’ I had ever seen.
All along the journey I witnessed the frequent circular threshing floors which I presumed were bullfighting rings.
Every farm seemed to have one.
Boy, was I gonna have fun! Come on now. Who the hell has heard of threshing floors until you got here? And I’m from an agricultural community.
We sorted out a rent-a-car, acquiring one of the two available, and headed out for Moo-Jha-Car.
No one had told me that there wouldn´t be signs pointing the way. My male bravado wouldn’t allow me to ask for a map or directions.
The road trip should have lasted just two hours but in our case engulfed a full seven! In desperation, I had to ask and in kind, they pointed and off I sped in a cloud of dust.
Damn this country was old. Coming over the curving Carboneras road, even the rocks on the mountain sides looked especially ancient and gnarled (as they still do).
It only took moments to realize that somehow I had travelled back in time to what I calculated to be 1850 (!).
People were not wearing large sombreros as I had expected nor sashaying about in brightly coloured flamenco outfits. All were dressed in shades of black. The young wore grey with maybe a white scarf to brighten up their image.
Any decent woman over the age of 25 veiled her face against the wandering glances of the infidel tourist and covered herself with black tights and long sleeves even in the September heat.
In the restricted community another prevalent rule was rigidly adhered to, with the death of any good acquaintance or distant relative one was meant to wear the black mourning garb.
The longer you wore it, the more respect you showed the departed.
So, it wasn’t unusual to never wear any other outfit — other than black.
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