Saturday, November 3, 2007

People in Galicia are so nice

I bought the bread and cheese at the Mercado de Abastos in Santiago de Compostela. The bread is “pan de maiz,” or cornbread, though nothing like the cornbread we know in America, and the cheese is “tetilla” cheese, a mild, tangy, Galician cheese. The pan de maiz is crumbly like soda bread and the cornmeal is definitely mixed in with flour, but it has that characteristic, hearty flavor of “honest bread,” as M.F.K. Fisher would say. I ate it for days, even on the 12-hour bus to Bilbao; neither bread nor cheese went bad just sitting in my hotel room.

Even more than the cheese and bread, and the green-skinned freixoa fruit I tried, I liked the way the women at the market smiled at me when I bought it. Maybe I am getting starved for company, but people in Santiago de Compostela are so nice! People started asking me again where I was from and telling me that I spoke Spanish well and smiling such warm, genuine smiles at me. It was almost like I was in Mexico again. I wonder if it means anything that so many Galicians emigrated to Latin America.

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