In this episode Reza and Craig are joined
by Mel from the UK and Victoria from Spain.
Mel was born in London. She also lived in Kent, Manchester, Nottingham
and Nicaragua. Now she lives in Galicia, Spain. (In a nutshell = en
Victoria was born in Ourense and studied in Santiago. She has also lived
in Barcelona and Valencia. She mainly worked in bars for 14 years. Now
she lives in a small hamlet (hamlet = aldea) in Galicia.
Most people work the land in the hamlet. There are no shops or
businesses. People there grow grapes. It’s a very quiet, peaceful life.
The grapes are sold to large ‘bodegas’.
Many people in the area have a pension from Switzerland from the days of
Mel works as an English teacher in Ourense.
She once went to Nicaragua. She fell in love with a Nicaraguan and went
there in 1989. She stayed for a year and a half. It was just after the
Sandinistas had lost the election.
She says that it wasn’t dangerous, but that people were very poor. There
was a wonderful sense of community.
She remembers the heat and high humidity. They had powercuts (powercut =
apagón, corte de luz).
There was petrol rationing (racionamiento) and two days a week without
The houses were connected. People argued when the electricity stopped
and cheered (to cheer = aclamar) when it came back on again.
Mel loved the community feeling. A fat neighbour used to sit in a
rocking chair (mecedora) outside her house and tell stories to the local
Everyone had rice and beans. It was a sprawling city (a sprawling city =
una ciudad con crecimiento descontrolado)
People kept animals, They were self-sufficient (autosuficiente). People
sold mangos and avocados in the street at the traffic lights. Coffee was
a big business, but the nice coffee is exported.
Drugs were not approved of. You couldn’t even buy cigarette papers.
Mel didn’t know any Spanish. She used to smile a lot. She paid a Spanish
teacher for lessons. She went to a bar to practice onece a week.
In Nicaragua they speak Spanish very slowly and clearly.
Galicia has its own language. Some South American countries call all
Spanish people Gallegos.
What makes you happy?
Mel: The countryside, the beach and walking.
Reza: Red wine and cheese.
What annoys you?
Mel: People eating with their mouth open. People sniffing (to sniff =
sorber los mocos), repeated noises, idiots.
Victoria: lack of respect
What one thing, if you were to tell someone about yourself, would they
find it difficult to believe?
Mel: She’s climbed and travelled a lot. She took Reza and Craig to climb
the Sierra de Bernia. It was easy for Mel, but Reza and Craig found it a
If you could change something about your character, what would you
Mel: I’d be less irritable and impatient. She’s like to be more chilled
and relaxed. Mel learned how to meditate in Australia. She has a siesta
each day and does breathing exercises. She doesn’t sleep deeply.
Reza sits down sometimes and thinks about anything that comes into his
mind. He’s not really into Buddhism. He thinks that the self is very
Vicoria never has a siesta. She wakes up drowsy (somnoliento,
adormilado) and feels bad. She’s quite anxious and nervous.
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