Bleary eyed and jet lagged, my son and I arrived in Spain at 9:00am local time, 3:00am US time.
View of Spain From The Airplane:
Neat syncopated diagonals. Land scraped and scratched since the days of the Ancient Romans. Cultivated, dry and hard. Are those orange trees or are those olives?
Here I am, a tourist, a visitor from a land that the Spanish settled, a land where precious few Spaniards now ever visit. What will I recognize?
Bus to Train Station:
Glad it's packed in here as it is helping me to stand vertically after the 7 hour flight. My son gripped his suitcase as my husband warned the boys of pickpockets. "They'll steal your underwear while you're wearing it." Well, that would be an interesting journal entry. Hey, who's hand is that?
Noon - Atocha Train Station Catching the AVE Bullet Train to Malaga:
It was impossible to figure out where to go to change our tickets to an earlier departure. I stood in one line for an hour, only to learn it was the wrong line. Another line for 20 minutes, again, wrong. I spoke to 5 bored, bureaucratic railway employees in the process, and joked with another local girl in the final line to get on the train. I was fairly impressed with my ability to understand the lisping accent of the mother tongue. All that Aldomovar paid off.
On the AVE Headed To Malaga:
Carrizo, the bamboo like grass native to Spain, grows in clumps in rivulets and marshes. As we race pass agricultural lands, I can see that the Spanish farmers use it as an economical field divider. Amazing that I pass similar clumps of carrizo as I drive the highways in Texas. I have to believe fresh shoots of carrizo were was transplanted in the Americas by the Spanish conquistadores over 500 years ago. How else did this Spanish native plant get to Texas?
The light is yellow gray, like the yolk of a hard boiled egg. The fields are shorn, golden on velvet black soil. They were recently harvested.
The trees I saw from the plane were olive trees. Miles and miles of olive trees. I checked my watch to see how many hours until we stopped seeing them as we hurtled past the orchards in the bullet train. They never ceased, the entire 3 hour trip.
Olive trees mature and begin to bear olives reliably at 30 to 50 years. Our crops at home are annual, replanted every season, sometimes twice. These trees had been in these fields for at least a century, and judging by Spain reliance on olive oil for food, I know that someday my grandkids or great grandkids for that matter, would marvel at these same fields.
Grey blue haze clung to the horizon, hovering above the soft mauve, sage and ivory tones of the earth. The land looks like tired suede, and reminds me of a coat I once had, soft brown, with patchy holes, stained. Spain is beautiful, distinct, yet familiar.