One of my favorite design features of European buildings is the fact that you can blackout your room with 100% darkness by shutting the external blinds. When I lived in Buenos Aires I only closed them completely over the weekends, otherwise I would have never woke up during normal working days.
Today my alarm rang at 11am so that I could take a shower and be at a street corner to meet Iñaki and Olga by 11:30. The previous ‘night’ (4am) we’ve all agreed to cook a seafood feast at Amalia’s apartment, surely all of us had regretted making those promises once the alcohol came down closer to sober levels. I took a quick shower, dressed up with my single dressing shirt and trousers and sprinted down the rainy street. Seconds later I was down in the city center completely wet and all corners looked just the same for me. I had no connection on my phone neither had a reference indicating the meeting place. Moments away to realize how lost I was and what were the chances to find them, Iñaki came walking towards me with an umbrella.
We had breakfast at a bar, I had a tortilla española -basically my only choice with protein and no meat- and a hand made orange juice. We then went to Vodafone, I purchased a prepaid card and loaded the highest package on it only to reuse that my iPhone was programmed to be used with AT&T and no other carrier. I got some money back and donated the rest to the charity-needing cellphone enterprise. This does not feel good, particularly when you are unemployed and have just started your trip. While I was assimilating the idea and thinking my options on how to get my maps on the phone, Iñaki came to me saying ‘great, now you have to do a tough work just like anyone do, read a paper map and ask people for directions… It’s fun, you’ll be alright’.
Because of the never ending rain we modified the original plan of going to the marketplace and instead we purchased the fish and seafood at what is known as the highest quality seafood place in Bilbao. Just like any other place in a Latin country, the people at the counter received requests that not only involved what the exact product was required, such as ‘I need 1kg of prawns’. It was rather something like ‘hey, I’m having my in-laws today and need something better than usual, we’ll be four but we all eat a lot, and you know, we may have more people coming because its Saturday and my brother may come with his girl, I don’t want to cook for too long, give me something suitable for this occasion!’.
We left with several bags in our hands all filled with sea stuff, some of them were still moving. The living creatures were destined to transition into hopefully a better life once thrown at the salty cooking pot. I must admit the taste of those craps was way more superior than any other one I’ve tried before. The prawns were extremely fresh cooked on a bed of thick grain salt for a minute or two, and then turned to the other side. No oil or condiments were added. The fish was slightly varnished with olive oil and once baked the ‘refrito’ (olive oil fried garlic) was added.
This quality and quantity of fish, seafood, bread, cheese and wine would have costed a fortune (if found) on a restaurant and it was great helping cooking at home and getting to see local people how to do all that. We talked about food hours before eating, while eating, and the conversation continued way long after the food was over.
Suddenly it was midnight and more wines were been emptied by the hour, no one felt like going out as the panoramic view from the city showed a very persistent rainy night. I got to see right before our view a tall building under the sign of Iberdrola. This is the biggest client of the company I used to work for, and conveniently the major shareholder too.
We did not get to assemble Salsa today. She is still in the boxes and will need to get to her tomorrow. The weather at Roncesvalles seems to be miserable and there is no public transportation on Sunday. I may start the camino from Pamona. Tbd.