Only grudgingly will the pensioners pick up their umbrellas and strap on their shoes today for the old “café-stroll-café-stroll-bar-stroll-bar-bar-bar” routine. Something like 45°F or less today, and pissing. Our Czech couch-surfers have decided now to stay an extra two days…for to ride in this is to re-invite bronchial malady in one and misery for both the duration of their 45km strike for Monasterio. Last night they whipped up Knedliky, a Czech supper dish which featuring dumplings, fruit, powdered sugar, and melted butter reads more like dessert. For dessert, we had jamon, pan, y queso.
Intercambio’s great. I like tutoring because I walk the town, entering homes and gathering notes on how people live here, and perhaps what they expect of their neighbors. Everyone knows Savi and I are here; the bartenders are a community, the teachers are a community, and those people interested in escaping this lovely bubble are a sub-community within the larger frame of the town’s population and they all talk, are all accomplices. Waiting has been my method of advertising my services. People we don’t know call our phone, having taken our number third- or fifth-hand, and are now my students. In a lot of cases, I don’t even know my students’ names until I get to their respective houses.
The borrachos are good borrachos. 400 years, 400 years, ah ah ah ahhhhhh~
We four drank two bottles of wine and half a bottle of good Portuguese port last night, from Porto herself. It’s cheap the way seafood’s cheap on the coast, or oranges are cheap in Florida. We two were gifted a set of shot glasses for the slamming of slivovice and to keep us from drowning in the port.
My omelette skills have become worthy of professional criticism. Normally I don’t puff up, but god damn. For example:
3 big, fresh mushrooms
3/4″ of a stick of butter, or more if you don’t fear for your arteries
some olive oil
a splash of balsamic vinegar
salt and pepper
some great cheese for grating
Preheat the oven to 325. Dice up the onion. Drizzle some olive oil on a cookie tray and splash some balsamic onto it. Dump the onions on and mix them well, so that they’re all stained brown; add salt and pepper. Melt the butter in the pan and crack all four eggs in. Take off the heat and scramble the hell out of them until they’re more or less an even color and consistency. Shake in salt and pepper, grate in some cheese, and splash in some milk; whip it good. Now, once all of the extras are mixed in, leave the pan on medium heat for a healthy five minutes.
Take the onions out of the oven. They should just be beginning to caramelize, or brown a bit about the edges. Scrape the mushrooms onto the cookie sheet and mix them well with the onions. Add salt and pepper and place them back in the oven for about ten more minutes.
Once the top of the eggs begins to look solid, run a spatula under them to make sure they aren’t sticking to the pan. When you can slide the whole “egg patty” around in the pan a bit, remove them from heat. Remove the veggies from the oven and scrape them into the egg pan. Grate a fresh dusting of lovely cheese over the steaming heart of your masterpiece and then, when you’re ready, fold it into the “calzone” position. If the pan looks dry when you fold the omelette over, add a bit more butter for the greasing.
After a few minutes the cheese will have melted enough that the egg-labials will have bonded together. Pluck courage and flip the delicious fucker over. Wait another two anxious minutes and cleave her in twain with the spatula and serve with juice, or home fries…and coffee with chocolate shavings and steamed milk. HA!
Really, this is a paradisaical place. Our boarders all say they will stay only for a night and on the third night we drink and laugh and wave them off in the morning. The mire is thick what with the zero crime, the cheap everything, and the commonly held favor of relationships over careers. I swear it is the El Dorado I’ve expected to one day find; it is the end, the clearing in the woods where the sun warms the grasses and the berries are the fattest. For little effort everything a person can be well provided-for and live out their days here in relative peace. To stoke folks’ sensibilities there are regular futbol matches, annual bull fights, and inexorable telenovelas (if the severity of one’s piety can only be ameliorated in a wash of daily scandal ). People revere the elderly (“ustedes” in its right place) and the elderly suffer gambling addiction and the softened Spanish of the youth. The neatest example I can point to with some ease is the difference between the Spanish spoken by the faun in Pan’s Labyrinth and that spoken by all of the other characters in the film. That old Spanish is almost decadent in its enunciation of each letter; the tongue swirls around the “s” and hisses, clucks consonants and – I feel – the warm, airy essence of Spain breathes in the spaces between syllables. This space, if you speak Spanish in Europe, is endangered. The new Spanish is rapido, and for that slushy such that more people may be understood and understand one another. That sweet air has flooded into the noses and tails of words, leavening them further and perhaps, homogenizing them. So be it, yes, so be it but I know what I like.
We will go now for Spanish gazpacho and later, dine on Czech potato salad. We have a personal keg (5L) of Heineken and secretly, at the bitter end of the night and hunched over myself, I will be alone for a moment with a Kit Kat bar.