I’ve been holed up here for 3 days now, basically sitting watching the peregrinos walk past.
I sit like all the old local people you see at crossroads in all the villages you have been in while on holiday.
I envy some if those peregrinos. The ones who have walked 4 kms. out of Sarria and already look exhausted. I envy the fact that it will get worse for them for some time and then, almost as suddenly as you feel the relief when you remove that splinter of wood from your finger, you realise you have just walked twice that distance and feel ok.
Things start to get better and you feel bad when you don’t get to do your walk for the day.
I sit in a plastic chair looking back down the track at the steady stream of peregrinos, some novices only starting out on their Sarria to Santiago pilgrimage, others, seasoned veterans who started their Camino way back. For some this isn’t their first Camino either.
As I watch I try to decide which is which, how long will it take me, will they give themselves away easily our will they look like veterans only to make the schoolboy error of forgetting to look for the arrow showing them the way.
I sit like a wiseman, wishing Buen Camino and trying to trace the nationality. Abdul, in the little tienda across the road is a master at this.
He listens carefully as they come up the hill. Watches their movements, looks for the weakness.
Like a tiger he pounces. “Guten morgen!” Ooops, got it wrong there Abdul. Quick adjust, “Goedemorgen!” – Spot on, they fall like deer into the jaws of his shop. Once inside it’s a slaughter. Every trick in the book is used to extract the dinero from their purses. It’s bloody and brutal but it’s nature.
Occasionally he doesn’t even have to try. I call them the lesser spotted American Tiendanistas. You know the sort, husband alongside carrying the rucksack full of cash or cards. She spots the sign. “Oh my, look Stan, a quaint little shop with just the loveliest plastic gord which looks vaguely rude”.
Sorry, got a bit carried away with the old stereotyping there. They’re not all like that of course. I have met some fantastic, warm, funny Americans along my way. I wish they were here now to help me while away the last few hours while waiting to meet AM.
There were the ones who always gave the name of their town or city and the state – Austin Texas and there were others who just gave the state – Texas. When I spoke to Sabi from Austin Texas she told me only people from Austin do this because they think they are better than people from the rest of Texas. Funnily enough Brad from Texas agreed so I had to ask whereabouts he was from and he said Fort Worth.
The number of peregrinos is dwindling now as the morning moves into afternoon. It’s quiet, save for the multi-national music being used as another lure tactic by Abdul.
It’s still too early to go to the bus station to meet AM.
I’m wishing the day away.
Hopefully the next blog post I write will have a piece from her as an introduction to her Camino.
Rodar sobre ocho de esta noche.