2011 10 01
Our plans are to head back down the Guadalquivir tomorrow and make for Cadiz.
Yesterday we got around to filling out another round of postcards to go to various people we either like or want to impress with the fact we actually made it to Spain. We ran into a hitch.
The main post office in Seville, the big multistoried downtown head office, has no stamps. Perhaps "manana" the lineup of a dozen citizens was informed. The clerk informing us of this most regrettable situation wore the ubiquitous face of the Woman of Constant Sorrow that Spanish women, like their Portuguese counterparts, have so perfected.
You knew from her comportment that there would be no stamps tomorrow.
The crowd, largely English tourist in makeup, was vocal in its outrage and mockery. Clearly they were newcomers to the Mediterranean lifestyle. Stepping forward I approached the postal worker and confirmed in a loud voice "Sello acqui manana?"
"SI, yes" was the greatful reply. "Gracious" I rejoined. "Muchos Gracious" I ended with a big smile of appreciation.
The woman's face brightened, not a complete piercing of the mask of sorrow but recognition that she had saved Spanish dignity and had met the performance demands of Spanish institutionalism.
You see, in the Mediterranean it is not about actually accomplishing something. It is more about really really wanting to accomplish something.
Our postal clerk had gone to exceptional lengths to convince us that her post office would actually be selling stamps in short order. Around here that is just as good as actually selling stamps.
In Canada we do not have good or efficient postal service. Nor do they here in Spain.
In Spain at least the postal workers wish they did.