Wednesday, June 27, 2007

swiss miss

The Swiss Miss, a woman in her late 40´s who has been biking and walking since Geneva, began walking with me and my two friends and announced, "I don´t believe in sticks." This was an interesting was to begin a conversation given that a)she had just told me that she was continuing on to Finisterre because she thought she needed to work on being less judgemental; b)all three of us were using sticks. We continued walking and shrugged off her comments.

We saw her again later on at the albergue. Luke and Stacey and I had just finished eating a delicious meal we call "Completo" in honor of the term used to describe an albergue that has no more beds. Food tastes better when you´re homeless (and when you are eating avocadoes after going without for over a month).

This particular albergue offered sleeping mats for bedless pilgrims. Due to the large overflow, we were instructed to push them together, 3 people for 2 mats. As we made preparations to do so, the Swiss Miss took one mat for herself and insisted that the hospitalero had given her special privileges. When a couple of other people questioned her, making a sweeping gesture around the room while explaining that we are a group and have to work together to enjoy the privileges of the albergue, she began to shout and point at people one by one. "I came here alone. You came here alone. You came here alone."

I heard gasps in 4 different languages.

There was more shouting and pointing. Eventually the hospitalero came in and gave her a thin mat and put her in a terrible location under the stairs where she got light and sand in her eyes.

The rest of us packed together on the mats, giggling in those same 4 different languages like it was a slumber party for 13 year olds.

I´ve not witnessed anything like this before on the Camino. It was such an abberration that everyone seemed confused.

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