I returned from Humbugs and just a short time later (just after the five o’clock end to siesta) we received a visit from Theresia. Arboleas is a small town, and it hadn’t taken long before word had spread that “The Texans” were the new owners of property here in town. That is “Texans,” mind you, not “Americans” but “TEXANS” …and there is a difference, folks… be sure about that! I think that Theresia was quite interested in coming over to meet us, being that we were new to town, and we were happy to hear what she had to say.
Theresia has lived in the area for many years now and was a wealth of information! She is a city councilwoman and had previously worked for the tourism office of Arboleas until funding was cut and that office was closed. The office was located in an old train station which is right near our house.
It’s a shame that the visitor information center has been closed. I’m sure it would be an asset to the community, but as with all of Spain at the moment, funds are being cut and this is just a sign of the times.
Theresia knew exactly who we meant when we asked her to help us contact Diego about emptying the septic tank. The problem was, the number we had was not a correct number. Luckily for us, she was armed with a cell phone and fluent Spanish! She called someone else who called her back with Diego’s number, then she called the number and ended up finding out that it was not Diego but his son José who would empty the septic. No matter, we were just happy someone was going to do it! We arranged for José to come tomorrow morning.
After all that was squared away, we sat and chatted for a while with Theresia. She told us many stories about the locals and at one point she mentioned Pepper and we excitedly said, “Oh yes! We’ve met Pepper!” She looked perplexed and when we said she lived next door, Theresa said, “Oh, no, not that Pepa! Another one! That’s a very common name. Short for Josephina.” So then we felt like silly Americans again when we realized that we were hearing Pepa from everyone, but only thought it was their British accents which makes “Pepa” sound the same as “Pepper” to us. Ooops.
We heard all about yet another Diego who was born and raised in Arboleas and whose family worked on the railway when it passed through this area. We learned about the nearby town of Serón and the abandoned mining town of Las Menas. (You can read about it here on another blog) I took a lot of notes because I was very interested in visiting the abandoned mines and Curt was very interested in visiting and sampling the famous serrano hams that are cured in the town of Serón! We learned where to swap out our butane gas bottles and about the Spanish traffic law that will cost you a fine for driving with flip-flops on.
And it’s not just flip flops, it’s any shoe without a back strap. This was good to know, because the last thing we want is to get a traffic ticket in Spain.
The most interesting bit of information Theresia shared with us, however, had to do with the septic. We were standing outside and she was telling us the basics, which we were already aware of, for example: don’t use an excessive amount of caustic cleaners, don’t flush random things that may not break down easily, etc… and then the conversation went like this:
Theresia: Now, I know this sounds terrible, but the best thing you can do is find yourself a dead cat, and toss it in.
Theresia: I mean if you can manage to find one, they say it gets it all working. You just have to find one.
Me: I’ve seen a lot of cats here, but not any dead ones…
Theresia: Well, they say if you can find one, you just toss it in!
Me: (pointing to the lid of the septic tank) In there?
Theresia: Oh yeah, just open it up and toss it in.
Me: I don’t think I’d want to open it up, to be honest.
Theresia: Well then you can always use a big piece of liver…
Theresia: Sure. Liver. Then you could just cut it up into pieces and flush it down the toilet. They say that works, too. But not as good as a dead cat.
Me: What about those little packets they sell in the store? You know those packets that you flush to help build up the bacteria?
Theresia: Oh, those? They say there is no proof that they really work…
Okay, so luckily Bob had already given us this package of Fosas Sépticas as a “housewarming gift” after talking to him about our septic troubles. He laughed with us that while most people bring a bottle of wine to new neighbors, he was bringing this. We had a good laugh with him about that. Now, just in case you think Theresa is the only person to suggest this dead cat treatment for the septic, or that it is uniquely a Spanish idea, I’m including a link so you can read more about it. Rest assured that we went with the bolsitas.
We bid adios to Theresia and she said she’d check back with us tomorrow to make sure that José made it over and took care of emptying the septic tank.
Even though it was nearing evening time, we took a little drive before dinner. We drove to the nearby town of Huercal Overa and passed through the little town of La Cinta where we saw these pomegranates, and passed though another community where we saw another Spanish gatita.
Then we went back home and had a nice dinner of pork fillets, rice, and vegetables. Earlier in the week we picked up this bottle of wine for 1,10 Euros. If you aren’t “current with the currency,” that’s crazy because that’s less than $1.50. Now, granted, don’t serve this at a dinner party, fancy or otherwise, because it was nothing to write home about; but it still is amazing how inexpensive bottles of wine are here in Spain!!
We had to stop in at the Chino to pick up the wine opener. Ironically, I think it was more expensive than the wine itself.