a wandering woman writes

Wednesday, October 12, 2005

Lo que la naturaleza no da...

Salamanca no presta.

What nature doesn't give, even Salamanca can't lend you.

In the photo: my beautiful city. Plaza Mayor, walking home from work, Tuesday night.
Isn't she gorgeous?

Right now she's all swept up in international intrigue, cross-continental controversies and (I'll admit to having indulged in this myself) world-class Fidel spotting. Or speculating, since we can't be sure he's really here.

Wise old Salamanca is the site of the IberoAmerican Summit taking place between today and Sunday. We've been swarmed by police, on foot, in paddy wagons, in boats on the trusty Tormes, on horseback and motorcycles, poised on roofs, circling overhead in helocopters. The local paper assures us NATO has anti-aircraft guns and cruise missiles and various aircraft christened for ferocious animals (cougars, as I recall, and some F these and F those) poised and at the ready. We're all a bit nervous.

200 streets are closed in the center of town (we can't possibly have many more) and a large part of the University is closed for a long weekend, which does make my strolling through town a bit like a walk down Main Street in the shootout scene of High Noon - deserted and deathly quiet. Until the helicopter pilot arrives overhead, of course, which inevitably he does. Every 5 minutes. Not a big place, Salamanca. They tell him to circle, he circles. Salamanca-sized circles. Him I won't miss.

Anyway, hopes are high for this summit - to be attended by all but a handful of Latin American heads of state, along with Spain's King and Queen, and the heads of state of Portugal and neighboring Andorra. They hope to tackle poverty and education, forge business deals and more firmly "connect" Spain and Portugal with their Latin American offspring, after a few years of drifting. Still, as the "day before" went on today, and Salamantino speculation mounted - "Will Castro come or no? Chavez says yes he will and together they will hold a public meeting in the streets of Salamanca - will you go, americana?" - I had Salamanca's famous refrain on the brain. The Spanish use it to sum up the realities of the gift of intelligence. Even Salamanca can't enlighten the unenlightened. Even Salamanca, beautiful, wise, culta, can't give the summit what it doesn't bring on its own.

But we can offer warm hospitality, an incredibly beautiful environment and damn good ham. And try the morcilla at the little bar tucked behind Sfera on Calle Toro, Sr. Chavez. You won't regret it.



  • Ah, Darling, it is so good to have you back here. I was getting homesick for Salamanca, the place you are making my heart feel more at home in every time I read your words. Someday, I must meet her in person. She is, indeed, quite lovely.

    By Blogger Laura Young, at 4:47 PM  

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