Friday, April 25, 2008

The Hyatt

It was about five o'clock in the evening and we had been biking up a steep pass for about five hours. We were out of water and there was no town in sight when Cindy spotted a farmer bent over in a garden and suggested I ask for water and maybe a place to put our tent. She was an older woman, tough looking, bent and knarled from work, mud covered her hands and knees, was caked on her shoes and a small swath went across her face. I hated interupting her work, but she was happy to stop and give us some water. She took me up the drive a bit and through a gate and into a managerie of animals, buildings, grapevines, parts and pieces of things scattered everywhere. There were noisy goats tethered by one leg, chickens pecking the ground, a man tying grapevines, one dog tied up and one running around. There were stoves, cabinets and machinery long past their usable days mired in the mud. There were many projects half started or finished, I couldn't tell. I was overwhelmed with ...stimulus. I thought we shouldn't stay but I asked anyway, it was late and we didn't have many options. She shrugged her shoulders and agreed to let us camp, though I wondered were we would put up a tent. I went to get Cindy and we spent about an hour setting up camp and looking at the place. We had an amazing view of the coast line we had biked the previous day, it was a grogeous spot to camp. The man tying the grapevines never hesitated in his work and the woman began bringing in the sheep and goats and feeding the chickens. I eventually went to the man to see what he was doing and he "explained" that these were their grapevines and they had a little winery in one of the buildings. About that time the woman finished with her chores and motioned Cindy and I into the only intact building on the place. The man followed. The place smelled wonderfully of herbs and cooking, wine fermenting, machinery and old tools. It was more of the same that was outside but with more density. There was corn, peppers, herbs and dried, salted meat hanging from the rafters. A moped right in the doorway, a table in the middle of the room askew and full of utensils, pots, toilet paper, big loaves of bread, feed for the pigs, a frying pan, a lemon, a hat, a flashlight, some wieners. We stepped around kids toys and tools and ducked under extentsion cords to get to their winery. They showed us with pride their fermenting wine and then poured us a liter. They showed us some pasta in the cupboard, a pot of lamb (from their herd) and tomato sauce from their garden on the stove and and told us we could have that for dinner. Then they showed us their fresh eggs, fresh pressed olive oil, salt, pepper, coffee and sugar and told us to have that for breakfast. They demonstrated how to turn on the stove, the T.V. and the lights and gave us a flashlight to get to our tent, then they packed up, gave us the key and left. We stood there dumbfounded. There we were, the Tyrannian sea to our east, mountain walls to our west, a beautiful sunset and the place to ourselves. Under the glow of one naked light bulb we had dinner (minus the lamb), wine, and bread. Later we stumbled to the tent a bit toasted off their wine, stuffed of their spagettii and and full of their kindness.


cindylist said...

Wow. What a great post - brought a tear to my eye with the simple beauty of it all. I'm happy for you both to have share such bounty.

Anonymous said...

That was a wonderful post, Tracy and Cindy. It was so rich of description, made me feel like I was there...well, almost. ha ha. I can't wait to catch up on the other posts I've missed.
Take care!
love, Tracy