Day 16 In memory of dumpster diving

I delayed going to the salon until 5.45 this morning. I had had a difficult nights sleep and was awake much earlier than this. I kept imagining Chinchas! Thank heavens I was just imagining! Our sheet washing and Mavis’s vacuuming had taken care of that! (Or had it – how old was the bag, did she change it?)

I then watched as a Hungarian man and his mother limped off and wondered how far they would go. He looked worse than I did on camino number one. Well I thought he did.

I stopped two Italians talking outside the dorm window. I didn’t even need to shove a biscuit in their gobs. They were very nice and apologetic. I also reminded everyone inside to keep quiet and not wake Mavis up by banging the door near her room. Or by talking loudly in the baño. I wonder if she knows how much effort I put into her comfort every morning?

As usual I put the first load of sheets in the wash and offered biscuits to the other early risers and then I wheeled the hiking stroller outside so the pilgrims had some room to move.

I chatted with an elderly German man who had brought his second grandson onto the camino. He suggested they charge a fee and start maintaining the place. I told him I thought the building was run by Hosvol volunteers but owned by the council. I dont really know. He said he had a great sleep because of our work but it could be so much better if the facilities were updated. He had been here before! This is Spain and it is very different to our home so who knows really how these things work.

I said good bye to the Aussie from Tassie and her friend

At around 6.30am Zebra arrived and I said I was tired so she suggested I return to bed. I’d been awake since about 4.30 – it was a great idea but as I lay gently slumbering in my cama I could hear a faint drone from the distance. Was it the street sweeper? Or was it Mavis and the vacuum again? I couldn’t be sure but either way my rest was over! I sat up and started blogging and in my half awake state I accidentally changed my keyboard functionality from English to spanish! What a nightmare.

I went to the china shop to buy a speaker so I could wake the pilgrims with some music tomorrow! I couldn’t sing gregorian chants and I really wanted to start the day happy tomorrow – it would be my last in Najera! It would be great to get everyone out by 7:30 again- as per the rule- but i had overheard Mavis telling spanish people 8 was okay remember!

I then sat in bar naxara and had a coffee. Daniel the barman said Hello lovely lady! I heard you were mean to a Mexican man last night and he couldn’t get dressed after his shower ! I laughed and said he wasn’t naked! He had clothes on Zebra said he was told lights out at 10 – she wasn’t mean. She was considerate of all the others! But Mavis wasn’t ! Neither was the Mexican man just quietly.

The afternoon was eventful with two chincha chicas! one was a lovely Bulgarian girl who had just graduated as a dentist in Germany.

In addition to clean clothes I gave her a nice cotton shirt to use as a towel. We also gave more people frozen bottles for the water.

The other chincha chica (as we had christened them) was an aunt from Barcelona travelling with 4 nephews- Mavis wanted to implement operation Chincha on all of them. Only the aunt had bites! I told Mavis if she was worried about all of them we would have to do everyone in the dormitory. We had no way of knowing who else could be carrying them. And we only had so many clothes to loan out. ( possibly because she kept pinching them!) The chincha chica thanked me for saving the boys from Mavis as they were finishing tomorrow and would never come back on the camino if she gave them the treatment the French Girls got!

Zebra and I had a beer each that pilgrims had left the day before. It was hot outside and inside. From our seat we had a magnificent view of the dumpsters from where Mavis had famously recovered the vegemite! We watched the dumpsters and laughed at this memory! Mavis the dumpster diver!

we had a lovely hamburger dinner at bar oca around the corner- gotta love the side of bread with bread! But they were lovely people there.

After we returned from dinner we found Mavis doing a word puzzle as usual, and, as usual the Italians and Spanish were still eating and the kitchen was a mess! It was 9:30 and lights out at 10! There were clothes on the line and momentary chaos as we got everyone to the dormitory.

Then a large spanish lady who had arrived by bus and not worked up a sweat all day. She then sat in the cool air con eating the welcome melon all afternoon before telling Mavis she was tengo frío! A big spanish man who had been sitting in the sun drinking and had no spare clothes and no Saco also was tengo frío! No one was under an air vent. I felt like moving to the air vents!I gave them mantas and said buy a Saco! (Blankets and sleeping bags).

It was still quite warm outside and unlikely to send any cool breezes inside at all. Mavis progressed to yelling “todos frio”. It was bizarre behaviour yelling at a fellow volunteer- particularly given how hot it was outside. I calmly stood my ground and pulled the thermometer off the wall to show them both- it was 25 c in the salon – likely 28 in the dormitory! I have worked in property for years- commercial leases even include a range of 22 to 24 maximum. Was this really happening?

I knew most pilgrims were comfortable because they were happy and relaxed and no one was shivering or sweating! only two complaints had been made – one from a man who had been drinking all afternoon in the sun and said he thought he had heat stroke- I suggested he should go to the medical centre if he was that unwell as it is opened all night! He stumbled to the dorm dropped his things as he went and was happy with the manta (blanket). He had no sleep sheet or bag!

The lady who had eaten all the melon was happy too when I gave her a blanket . Not Mavis. She seemed oblivious to the compromise and had no thought for the majority- I had shown her the scientific report the other day. It said circulation of air prevents raised co2 levels and increased germ transfer in dormitories- she didn’t care!

We had been a bit too warm in our room last night so we left the door open into the dormitory for some air. I had packed my sleeping bag away. Tonight would be the same. We went to bed exhausted again. And just a tad warm after Mavis turned the vent off near our room! Don’t worry I turned it back on!

Interestingly during the night I went to the bathroom and saw that the spanish lady who had said she was too cold had removed her jumper! And kicked off her bedding. This was after I’d turned the vent back on! She was hot too!!!!!

OMG it’s hard to please everyone! But, if everyone carried a sleeping sheet and a throw or sleeping bag it would be easier for them to self regulate and the dormitories could have fresher air!

buen fantastic camino a todos!

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