Travel the world with Alfie and his crew members Jude and Ben

Sunday, January 15, 2006

Olives, olives, olives

well, where the hey diddlydoo do i start?

We stayed with ziza and yair and shanti their daughter for three weeks, living in an amazing yurt. During our stay we became really close to the whoile family! Shanti is only 10 although she seems much older, she learnt English and Spanish at the age of 7 and is now fluent in both, as well as Hebrew. Ziza is an amazing cook, and we spent many evenings drinking herb tea and discussing issues, they are a fine example of genuinely good, good people, salt of the earth i believe.

During our stay there we spent a weekend at the beach, mid november, and i managed to get burnt, it was crazily hot. It was also a nudist beach, so ben was happy. I dont know who started the myth that mediterranean women are hairy, thery certainly are not! It was like a fashion parade, some with odd sort of landing strips, some with equalateral triangles, and some with "whoops, i took far too much off, ah well, i try and make it look like a rabbits tail....."

we also spemt a few nights at beneficio, a serene valley of tipis and domes, full of vegetable patches and naked hippys, one such hippy was living directly above our tent, and seemed intent on vigorously weeding his cabbages whenever we were sat outside, quite a view i must say! The photo is of a lovely house in Benny built by an Italian baker.

we met a finnish girl called evalina in the carpark, we invited her in alfie for tea and she invited us to her house for dinner, "park on the roadside" she said, "it´s only 10 minutes down the mountain." Forty minutes and one dutchwoman later we found the stone house encased in plants and trees and enjoyed a lovely israeli meal with her and her partner and his children.

So, we left ziza and yair to venture 5km´s up a terrible dirt track to cerro negro, black mountain, to stay with trevor on his farm. We worked solid for three weeks clearing under the olive trees, and were surrounded by the most magickal view. Orgiva was to the far right, sigorones - a community of trucks and buses lay in the dry river bed, and the mighty mountains towered above it all, with their rosemary bushes basking in the sun whilst the peaks lay under a blanket of snow, stunning. We stayed in a 1 roomed stone bothy, whose window welcomed the morning sunrise as it peeped over the neighbouring mountain. I actually found myself looking forward to my middle of the night wee just so that i could gaze at the stars from 600 metres up!

We also house sat for trevor for a week and a half, we even had 2 unexpected quebecan woofers turn up, so we became stand in woof hosts, getting the monring porridge ready and the like. My main joy there was looking after the animals- jessie is an old dog, each night i´d shut her in - and yet every night she´d find a way out and trundle down to the bothy and proceed to whine from 4am until we let her in. Then there were the three kittens that i managed to litter train in a week, we spent so much time just marvelling at them. Unfortunately one became too mischievous and attempted to share jessies dinner, to which she promtly killed it, very sad for us, so we buried "kinky" (bens name...) in the garden and had a very sombre evening.

On cerro negro we made some good friends: Matthew, who we are going to meet in bulgaria and maybe buy a bit of land with (cheap there, they enter EU in 2007) to start a community - anyone interested? Also, Inca - (Czech) and steve, they live in a dome that overlooks the house of chris something, stewart is it? He wrote driving over lemons and a parrot in a pear tree, he´s wriitng a new one too. We spend a lot of time with them. Inca and i started ther cerro negro womens group, we currently have 5 women who meet each week to share tea, songs, silences, discussions, it´s lovely. We then leave the calmness of the group to go and pick up the men (BEn, Steve and anyone else). We enter the dome to be met with a fusion of smoke, beer fumes, card playing and noise a plenty, such a difference. Steve is a karate teacher, his teacher´s teacher was the man who brought karate to the western world, crazy. We went one night to karate, to "Malcolms" studio, and were mildly surprised on entering the studio to see a ginormous naked painting of malcolm looming above the window. I found it very difficult to focus on my kata forms with malcolms meat and two veg greeting me from mirrors at every angle...

We´ve done a fair bit of gardening at the local steiner school, and went to a fiesta there a few weeks ago, it was wonderful. A hot sunny day full of falafels and eastern european bands singing "I´m your wienus, i´m your fire, your desire" i did a drama workshop too.

Then two weeks ago we went to the cannabis cup, yep, the cannabis cup. It´s a local contest for the best marijuana held in sigorones, we had a stall there selling our handmade jewellery and paintings and made, wait for it....... 14 euros! So, the contest began, 14 entrants with 14 massive buds of weed and 4 very cool looking judges. Each bud was judged on look, smell, taste and buzz, but as you can imagine, it dragged on rather, and 2 hours later we decided to go and make dinner in alfie, we returned an hour later to find them on contestant number 10, the judges were by now looking decidedly chilled out, if not a little wobbly!

So, now we are working for ourselves, no more woofing for a while, we did 10 weeks solid and needed a break, my fingers have started seizing up from usinf all the tools for so long. We are staying on the piece of land next to ziza´s, it belongs to a women who lives in ireland, her olives go to waste ewach year. SO, we´ve offered to pick all of her olives, and will get them cold pressed at the local mill, and will split the oli 50 50 with her. By cold pressing the oil you get less, but it´s much much richer. Our plan is to adapt the van to carry it in alfie and to sell in england when we get home, "Hand picked organic olives from the Alpujarras....."

Life is good, we´re having fun, it´s bloomin hard work picking olives (not so much picking actually but whacking trees with long canar that grows everywhere) but we´re doing it for us and thasts the sifference. On saturday is the school christmas fair, we´re making handmade chocolates, silk paintings (thanks to rach for sending stuff over), jewellery and anything else we can sell. It´s lovely being a part of such a close nit community that is very "alternative" in its existence, although there are far too many english here, says me, the english girl... Matthew worded it well when he said Orgiva either chews you up and spits you out or welcomes you with open arms, luckily we encountered the latter.

I hope you are all well, i´ll bet winters looking beautiful over there,

All my love Jude x x x x x

P.s went to see harry potter in spanish with shanti on tuesday, hilarious, have no idea what went on, spanish cinemas are crazy, food everywhere, noise every, kids jumping over seats, and when we thought it couldnt get any worse, from the seat behind came the broadest birmingham accent you´ve ever heard :
"Jaysun, will yow gow and git us a pakit uf tafuys mayte!"


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