Today the hospitaleros were supposed to have a day off as a cleaner comes on the weekends. But day off doesn’t really mean day off when Mavis is in control.
I actually slept in and didnt get up until 6! That’s not entirely true I was awake through the night because it was particularly hot in our room and someone was coughing outside my door so I probably only nodded off at 4! The challenge today was to get Mavis to leave the aircon on cool long enough for our room to cool down and certainly until the sun was gone. when I went to reception I was handed a lovely card the Irish girls had left before departure- definitely worth being here!
We slowly bid farewell to the last few pilgrims who seemed traumatised that they were holding us up. Even the Italian girl who, on arrival, was sure she was never to walk again. We told them not to worry it was no problem and I think they appreciated that. Sometimes it takes a while to tend to your feet and tape your knees in the morning – trust me I am a master at these activities! We were thanked with huge European kisses and hugs!
Anyway this morning our duties meant we still had to keep the washing machine and dryer running to get the sheets done and the cleaner would do the rest. We Auspitaleros had decided we wanted to have enough energy to greet the pilgrims each day in the way we would hope to be greeted. This military attention to folding of sheets was to be our demise! We would take the lessons from yesterdays pilgrims, welcome is a priority, boots and rules second and folding of sheets third! We had the lemon flavoured water sorted, we had lollies in a bowl and we had huge smiles ready for the onslaught. But our priority regarding sheets – was yet to be communicated.
How were we to manage Mavis? Mavis actually did care, after all we were all in agreement that bedbugs would not live here. But we were confident that precision folding would make no difference. We decided we needed a bilingual speaker who could help us negotiate.
At 7.30 I ducked out for a quick cafe con leche and found internet actually working outside a bar I’d visited a couple of days ago. I decided to sit on the bench seat next door and utilise the wifi but I think the street cleaner was onto my scheme and he quickly headed my direction and washed my seat down!
Not to worry I headed back to the albergue and packed my things to head out to the shop where I had bought my spanish sim because I needed to get it working as the wifi just didnt seem to work for blogging in the albergue – not that i had time to do any blogging with Mavis at the helm!
The cleaner arrived and I found myself having a long spanish conversation because she spoke slowly for me. She even complimented me on my spanish which gave me back the confidence I had been losing with Mavis.
I went down the back to our room and packed my gear up neatly in case she wanted to clean it while we were gone. Zebra and I then wandered up the street leaving Mavis and the cleaner to chat in Spanish together.
We visited the supermarket to buy some snacks and then we went and joined the local pool for a month so we could swim whenever we wanted and also have a long shower. The albergue tap timed out every 30 seconds or so and pushing the button constantly was a drag.
Upon returning to the albergue to put some food in the hospitelaros fridge I discovered my Tim tams had been taken out of the plastic bag they were wrapped in and opened into a container and my vegemite was missing! I had only just recovered it from my lost baggage!
As any self respecting vegemite eater would imagine I was devastated! I assumed the cleaner had decided to clear the fridge. But when Mavis returned to see I was visibly traumatised I realised it was Mavis!
Hyperactive Mavis had been given some pumpkins from a neighbour and decided she needed to clean the fridge which included throwing out my well wrapped tube of vegemite, that I had strategically hidden at the back with my Tim tams, to make room for these gigantic vegetables! And no my vegemite was not that big!
It would appear that Mavis assumed it was not an edible item and a South American must have left it! She was concerned that something was smelling in the fridge. But it was unopened. We too were concerned about the smell. In fact, we were going to chat with her about the smell before throwing anything out because we didnt know if the smell was her spanish meat and cheeses and we would hate to throw someone’s food out!
Anyway thus followed a comedic retrieval from the bin out in the street. I tried to tell her not to worry but at least she was as persistent in her work to retrieve the vegemite as she had been in her sheet folding demands! Luckily for her a tall French pilgrim offered to help just in time as she had tipped the bin on an angle and it looked as though she was about to topple headfirst into the plastico bin in her unending quest for the vegemite. (By now she had also dropped the broom stick in that she had been using to poke around with).
Well after this very emotional journey from fridge to bin I was handed my vegemite unopened in the strip seal bag inside the shopping bag I had wrapped it in to prevent leaking in the event the pressure in the plane affected it. Mavis was strangely quiet and meek and I thanked her profusely and requested she ask before throwing anything again.
Well by this time it was already 1.15pm so we readied ourselves for opening.
Yesterday I had renumbered a bed layout someone had left in previous years. We had gone to the paper shop and obtained 30 copies so that we could colour each bed as we allocated them each day. That way we could keep part of the dormitory clean if we didnt fill up. And Mavis wouldn’t have to cut up 90 tickets each day and there wouldn’t be rubbish all over the floor.
Anyway after the tim tam and vegemite scandal I found myself taking control of the register and credential stamping and Zebra took control of the sheet folding. Mavis was taken aback as she had insisted on military perfection and time consuming two person folds.
Never before had any of her 7 children or 27 grandchildren dared to refuse the two person fold. No more would she hold this record. “I show you how to fold it alone and quickly!” said Zebra!
At last we had broken the bedsheet hold Mavis had had over us. Mavis started to speak mas dispacio, we negotiated the following weeks chores and we organised to eat out together for the first time. Mavis also offered us the cervezas she had purloined after last nights pilgrims had departed.
All was well with the world.
Hasta manana xxx