WE were all broke then and only two banks in the entire area, located in Vera. Our tourism season was one week at Easter and most of the month of August; nothing before or after. Following those whirl wind lucrative celebrational dates you could sit back and tighten up your game of dominos or dream. Not much else could be done.
The nearest traffic light was some 60 miles away and although it was talked about constantly few had actually seen it. But, explaining the mechanizations’ of how it worked and why could take up an entire afternoon and that served everyone’s purpose too.
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A tall tale of the future creeping in on us it was surmised but no one believed it could actually happen.
Counting seagulls was another festive program but had gone out of fashion. Unless of course, you’d just moved here and found the entire thing, the blue sea, white gulls and chugging boats novel rather than a nuisance.
For me life in Mojacar began in 1969. Not much had happened before then so all of history was repressed to one single incident.
If you wanted to hear that famous story concerning “the sky is falling—the sky is falling” you’d just have to go up to the village, sit in the square and damn me, you’d hear it again and again.
A fire ball, then raining bombs from the sky, over Villaricos and Palomares and they still weren’t cleaned up. Not much has changed since.
Yet, I must note our good fortune in that few three headed fish have been netted nor double headed burros seen on parade.
It was quiet then. The twitter of an errant bird was not heard nor the howl of a lonesome cur. And if that wasn’t enough promised excitement you only had to wait until Saturday when you made the trek to Vera for supplies.
Possibly get change to rid yourself of that forlorn 500 peseta note that you had begrudgingly accepted and continued to burn a hole in your pocket. You couldn’t spend it. No one had that much change.
Everyone gave credit though, as much as you wanted.
We be poor- all of us. But, no one knew it. Hadn’t anything to compare ourselves against. There were subcultures then, like gypsies; but not distinguishable or noticeably down trodden. Some wore shoes, others didn’t but it wasn’t of any importance. Everyone was immediately friendly, overtly so, as if trying to gain favour in another life yet to be lived.
If you had anything you shared it, offered it about.
You could sit next to a wine merchant in the market and sample his wines until you fell asleep but it was always best to have bread or sausage to share.
Then you could have a right proper sit down and discussion about the finer qualities of the wine or some other important world topic.
If this all seems unrecognizable have a look at the photos and tell me where they were taken from. Where they are today.
If you want to see a few more of these old photos visit my friend Chris at the Jolly Lemon. He has posted quite a few of them on the walls; enjoy some of Katie’s gourmet cooking for less than €12 or call Jennifer on 607 726 692 who can show you a lot more.