Hola from Madrid!
After three weeks near Murcia on the Neanderthal dig, I’m back in the big city and trying to regroup to start Part II of my adventure.
Part I in the tiny town of Dolores de Pacheco probably yielded the most fodder for fun. The last three nights, we finally all broke loose, along with the Perseid Meteor Shower. The night the meteors started falling, we all headed back to the cave at Cabezo Gordo, to listen to a local orchestra performing the music from E.T. It really was surreal. There, under the stars, not 100 feet from the cave where we spent our days excavating where the Neanderthals lived, was an orchestra of beautiful music! We knew the locals understood the significance of the location, when after the E.T. theme music finished, suddenly another tune began: the theme music for Indiana Jones, followed, amazingly, by the theme from the Flintstones! That modern stone age family could somehow be seen as the descendants of our Neanderthals, after all, and Indiana Jones, well, that’s what we were on, an archaeological adventure.
It turns out, an imprpomptu poll had been taken among the young women at one point: who was more handsome: Ryan Gosling or Harrison Ford in Indiana Jones IV. You guessed it: HF won.
The meteor shower was followed by a night of heavy drinking, which, you kind of need when you have 15 people crammed into a grammar school, living, eating and working together. The drinking actually spurred a great idea by me, one of the Spaniards and our lone Italian paleoanthropologist: we needed a party with a lot of sangria and some really good Spanish food, so, the planning began…and was then soon stalled by what will forever be remembered as the paella incident.
The core of our party was to be a traditional paella cooked by our Spanish planner. Things started to go awry when he found out we couldn’t have the party during the day when the comida or main meal is eaten. As for me, I always assumed the party would be at night. Who drinks during the day? Well, the Spaniards for one, but a party is a night-time thing in my book. Once he realized that we couldn’t have a party in the day, he told me he wouldn’t cook a paella. The only reason this concerned me is that I put my marketing chops to good use and completely sold everyone on paying a few euros to go toward food, including an authentic paella by an authentic Spaniard.
Then, things got out of hand. This Spaniard (who shall remain nameless) explained that he would NOT cook a paella at night, since it just. wasn’t. done. I argued that we were with a bunch of foreigners who didn’t care what was supposedly correct in Spain, that they just wanted his damn good paella. We argued, back and forth. Me being minimally persuasive due to the language barrier (trust me, it’ll take time before I can again argue in another language) and him insisting that paella was just not eaten at night. The rice is too heavy, and there is no WAY he was going to cook a paella at the wrong time of day.To my utter surprise, he was so adamant about this, that he stormed out the room, slamming tables and doors as he went!
Paella was not had by all in the end, but I started drinking soon after the argument: 4 glasses of beer at dinner, a gin & tonic out later, followed by crema de orujo, a concoction similar to Bailey’s that’s from Galicia, where my grandfather is from.I don’t know what’s in this stuff, but it is now a staple to my diet! Ahhh, forgetfulness and the ability to laugh followed soon thereafter. by