English Article Journey Story Thinking and Sharing

Friendly People of a Warm Village

Ernest Hemingway once said, “There is nothing to writing. All you do is sit down at a typewriter and bleed.” I disagree with him. Of course, his words symbolically express how difficult the writing task is. But, even with the exact terms, I totally agree with the words of Robert Frost, America’s great modern poet. “No tears in the writer, no tears in the reader. No surprise in the writer, no surprise in the reader,” he said.

When I write, I try to be faithful to my own feelings. I have not yet gained the eyes of a writer. But I try to see the world through the eyes of an artist, even for a moment. In that case, we can get closer to the inner side of an object that we have never seen before. But most of us miss the truth, and even more often, we distort or exaggerate the subject. To borrow Frost’s words, if a writer writes without knowing or empathizing with an object, their readers cannot sympathize with the author’s writing. Instead, their readers are being deceived by the author.

Among the articles I wrote during my time in Spain, I have published only a few through my blog. But how many of those who read my writing would agree with my writing? Of course, my blog does not allow access to search engines. Moreover, most of the articles I keep in private mode after a certain period. So the people who can read my writing are only a few people I know directly. Depending on the type or difficulty of the article, I sometimes shared it with acquaintances connected to my KakaoTalk.

Sometimes, there is often no response from them. In that case, my writings did not resonate with them at all. On the other hand, sometimes, I get feedback from them. However, this does not mean that my writing will change according to their reactions. On the contrary, I want to permeate my writing by expressing myself relatively honestly about what I feel and think. This is because the author’s unique color is embedded in the essay. However, if I write to people I know with only the posts I share and their reactions in mind, my writing is likely to be fake or deceive them.

Again, to borrow Ernest Hemingway’s words, “Prose is architecture, not interior decoration.” It means that writing is not good because we decorate it with many beautiful words like decoration. David Brin, an American scientist best known for his science fiction novel The Postman, wrote, “If you have other things in your life—family, friends, good productive day work—these can interact with your writing, and the sum will be all the richer.” he emphasized. Writing is not possible in a delusion apart from one’s own life. When paper is based on our own experiences, we can design and color it in our own way, just like when we make a building. Only then can a consensus with the reader be formed appropriately.

Go to the Gáldar Region

Last evening, I went with my family to a village in a canyon in the Gáldar region. The people live there by building their houses in huge rocks in steep rock valleys. It’s not even a well-known tourist destination, and it was purely my mistake that I went there with my family to a place I did not know about. When my daughter came here from New York last March, I was on a short two-day, one-night trip to Lanzarote with the kids. The day before I left, I was booking a house on Airbnb, and by mistake, I booked a place in a valley in the Gáldar district in Las Palmas, not in the Lanzarote district. So I did a reservation search after setting it to Lanzarote, where I was obviously planning to stay. But later found out that Airbnb’s technical problem was not filtering the region properly.

The Canary Islands comprise seven large and small islands. And most of them are so far from each other that you have to take a plane or a boat to get to the other islands. However, there was a problem because Airbnb ignored such characteristics and made the entire Canary Islands into one region. Therefore, not only Lanzarote, which I was aiming for, but the whole Canary Islands appeared as the information. As a consumer, I made a mistake because I never expected it would. I tried to cancel the reservation immediately, but according to the owner’s policy of the house, I could not get a refund for the rest of the fee except for the cleaning fee. So I am compelled to reschedule the date I’ll go with her when my wife comes in about a month.

Finally, my wife came to Las Palmas a few days ago. I will return to America soon, and my wife will live here with our son for about 3 months.

Therefore, this trip to Gáldar was purely unintentional. Yesterday, my family and I arrived at our destination deep in the mountains of Gáldar, almost at 9 pm.

PHOTOGRAPH: Wusuk Kang © 2017

My son is a ninth-grader at Atlantic School in Santa Brígida. It is one of the best private schools on the island, and many students attend UK universities. With a population of about 19,000, the village is at an average elevation of 520 meters above sea level, so it is on relatively high ground, with many high-end buildings and beautiful scenery.

santa brigida 157
PHOTOGRAPH: Google Images

PHOTOGRAPH: Wusuk Kang © 2017

We had an appointment at 2:30 pm that day with Fernando, who is in charge of Spanish at my son’s school, and the high school principal. It was to introduce my wife to the teachers when I was about to return to America. We arrived at the school on time for our appointment. A female English teacher from Ireland who teaches English at the school attended the meeting. She was an interpreter for all. After more than an hour of fun meeting, we drove around Santa Brígida, where the school is located, and spent the rest of my son’s class.

Finally, after class, I got my son in the car and went to the University of Las Palmas. There, he practiced one hour of squash under Elena’s guidance. I also have been taking squash lessons from Elena for an hour starting at 11:30 am a few days a week. Following Monday is my last squash training with her. While practicing with Elena, my squash skills have improved at one level. After I return to the United States, I will participate in the squash tournament in Manhattan on May 5-7. I have already applied for participation and am looking forward to good results.

PHOTOGRAPH: Wusuk Kang © 2017

Our family finally departed for the reservation site around 6:15 pm. However, daylight saving time began, and the sun was relatively high. So we went first to Tejada, the highest village on the island of Las Palmas. My son wanted to show his mother the town. I saw the clouds rushing over the lofty mountain peaks. So it was like a river flowing over a field. The fantastic nature continued until we reached Tejeda.

But when we got to the village, my wife wasn’t as interested as expected. Instead, she was interested in a shop that made sweets and bread from the almonds produced there. So we stopped by and bought some bread and cookies for snacks and dinner. She remembers the store because she recently watched a four-part documentary about the Canary Islands produced and aired by EBS-TV in Korea. The program introduced this almond farm and this shop. But this village fascinated me because the natural environment surrounding it was so fantastic. But in that documentary, I think I saw this town from a different perspective. So if I get a chance, I’ll watch the documentary.

Yes. Even if people visit the same place or look at the same object, their viewpoints may differ. And that’s the ordinary world. A society that forces people to view the world from one angle makes people suffocate. Unfortunately, there are still many such societies in this world. You can judge the world with your own thoughts and values, but it is a hazardous idea to claim it is the only right thing to do. However, there is a growing tendency to not tolerate it in Korean society. However, the reality is that people have very different opinions. It is very natural to have differences in your own thoughts and those of others. There is no need to simply compare my values ​​by using otherworldly standards. It is natural for me and others to exist together or who differ from them.

Therefore, there is no need to fuss and claim that I can think differently from others. Still, there is no need to concede that many people think differently from me. Different beings called “I” come together to form a “we “group. If “we” are the same molecular structure of one atom, there is no need for “I.” The “I” at this time is just a cloned human being. So we are all just clones. But we are not clones. We are all unique and independent human beings.

PHOTOGRAPH: Wusuk Kang © 2017

This is my 4th visit here, but I still love Tejada. My son, who met his mother after three months, used to express himself affectionately to his mother. He hugged his mother tightly in front of the closed Tejada City Museum.

As we headed from Tejada to Gáldar at around 7:40 on our reservation, I notified Frank, the landlord, on WhatsApp. By the way, people here use this app all the time. It is like KakaoTalk, which is familiar to Koreans. WhatsApp was developed in 2009 by former Yahoo employees Brian Acton and Jan Koum and was acquired by Facebook in 2014. It is the world’s best personal messaging app, with over 1 billion users in February 2016. Airbnb host Frank said he would wait for us at Café Mima. It was about 35 minutes away by Google navigation, but the road to the destination was not easy. Although the distance from Tejada was only 16.5 kilometers, most of the road was steep and narrow. When using Google Maps in the United States, unexpected directions were never given, but occasionally in the Canary Islands. Sometimes, it will guide you to a no longer used path. When such a thing happens on a mountain road like this, it is a massive time loss, let alone embarrassment. It happened twice that day.

PHOTOGRAPH: Wusuk Kang © 2017

Our destination was at an elevation well over 1,000 meters above sea level. I barely met the host at a later time than expected. My family and I parked our car near café Mima and followed Frank up the hill to reach the cave house.

PHOTOGRAPH: Wusuk Kang © 2017

There was a really well-equipped elegant kitchen with everything. There were plenty of tableware and tools, beer and wine in the refrigerator, and various simple ingredients, including rice, ready to cook. So we could use it to our heart’s content. Espresso coffee and new coffee beans were also available. They carved each of the four bedrooms into a stone so that a bed could fit in each. Of course, the entire house is a cave house built of big rocks. The bathroom also had a large, well-designed bathtub carved out of stone.

According to Frank, the outside temperature at night drops to 6 degrees, but indoors stays at 17 to 19 degrees. After a late dinner with a packed lunch, my wife had prepared at home, we went to bed. Despite having four separate dens and a bed in each room, my son slept with his mother. One disappointment was that there was no internet. Because it is a very remote place and high altitude, the Internet is used using a satellite antenna, but even that connection is sometimes disconnected. Airbnb apparently said the Internet was available. Who would want to go where there is no internet today? Although the mobile signal was weak, it was not very inconvenient. The information could be checked and used without difficulty. However, foreign tourists who do not use mobile carriers will be embarrassed if the Internet is unavailable.

I woke up early the following day and went outside and looked around for a while. The crowing of roosters from here and there perpetually spread into the valley. Finally, my wife and son got up, so we bought some bread and food at café Mima and returned to the cave for breakfast. And we went out for a walk in the neighborhood.

PHOTOGRAPH: Wusuk Kang © 2017

Flowers were in full bloom here and there, and the sound of bees flying incessantly echoed in my ears. And there was a small church in the middle of the village, and there was only a tiny sign and a wooden cross to symbolize that it was a church. Looking at the cave from the outside, there was no way to tell if it was a cathedral or just an ordinary cave house. Last night, Frank gave me directions on WhatsApp, telling me to go find the church if I couldn’t find Café Mima. But Café Mima had no signage, and the church sign was too small to be easily noticed at night. The cathedral’s interior had a “primitive” look, to borrow my wife’s words. A church with only the essential furniture inside.

PHOTOGRAPH: Wusuk Kang © 2017

I feel friendly to all 49 residents of this remote village. They exchange loud noises instead of moving closer to communicate with neighbors who are far away from each other. They talk to each other by shouting, just as birds sitting at a distance speak. The bottom scene of the photo shows a woman talking to someone on the top of the road. Here, go up or down a very steep route to converse with the other person in a low voice. However, since the houses built on the rocks are so far apart, they seem accustomed to raising their voices to converse. Even young children seem used to walking on steep roads. Their health seems to come with the harmony of nature.

PHOTOGRAPH: Wusuk Kang © 2017

The steep slope is not an obstacle for those who raise sheep and goats and cultivate fields by clearing steep areas. They build man-made cave houses on sloping rocks and use them as permanent houses. They also use the small space for farm fields. In the distance, on the mountain slopes beyond the valleys, we could see terraced fields cleared for crops.

PHOTOGRAPH: Wusuk Kang © 2017

For them, nature is the object of harmony. In many ways, I could find how they immersed their lives in nature. Fortunately, although the elevation is over 1,000 meters, there is no cold winter. Although the weather at night can drop by 5-6 degrees Celsius, those temperatures will still be tolerable for plants and animals during the night period. According to an article, the Summit of Gáldar is made up of a valley called Barranco Hondo de Abajo. The Spanish government designated the area as a cultural and historic site on September 24, 1993, and protected it. The reason is that the cave houses from ancient times and the cultural relics and natural environment derived from them are worthy of protection. It concentrates on traditional architecture in this village, and the most outstanding feature is the cave house. Man-made caves are formed along the valley and lead towards La Solana, forming small groups with different names in different regions.

PHOTOGRAPH: Wusuk Kang © 2017

Artificial caves have different names depending on the shape of each group. At the top of where we stayed, a sign says El Callejón, which seems to refer to a type of cave. As shown in the photo below, the signpost La Poza also indicates the shape of the artificial cave house. There are signposts for each artificial cave designated as a cultural heritage site in this village, so it is possible to identify the type of cave at a glance. However, it felt like a home address to me, who is not familiar with the field. There were signs with various names in each house, just like address signs.

PHOTOGRAPH: Wusuk Kang © 2017

This cafe without a signboard seems to be a key place in this neighborhood. Of course, there was also a relatively large building that served as a town hall, but for locals who love to sing and dance, this place to eat and drink would be perfect. Here’s my description of this guy sitting in a chair and posing with me; As soon as he saw me, he took a handful of bread and cheese he was eating and gave it to me. Of course, I took it and ate it without hesitation. I left the village after having a great time with these people. It must have been around 12:30 pm.

PHOTOGRAPH: Wusuk Kang © 2017

From this village to my house in Las Palmas, it took about 1 hour and 6 minutes by Google navigation. Beautiful views spread out everywhere on the way, which made me happy. The most memorable scene for me on this journey was a mountain pass I passed last night to approach this village. It was a single road that only one car could pass through, but seeing the beautiful scenes spread out to the left and right gave me exclamations. Unfortunately, I was so focused on driving that I couldn’t capture those beautiful scenes on camera. Still, instead, I tried to catch them in my eyes and heart. It was indeed a beautiful flower road that continued and unfolded. It was a feast of nature itself.

PHOTOGRAPH: Wusuk Kang © 2017

After arriving home, having a late lunch, and resting a bit, my wife and I took a walk on the beach near the house. The seawater was draining a lot, creating a different scenery than usual. As I walked along the long beach, I remembered the lovely people I had met in the mountains and the wonderful village. It was the name La Mariposa, meaning “butterfly,” which I had accidentally booked on Airbnb. I had a great experience thanks to that man-made cave, La Mariposa. On Tuesday, I leave my wife and son here and catch a flight to America, where my daughter lives. I brought my son to this island on January 3 this year and spent three months experiencing a lot of busy work. Now is the time to get back on track. When I have time, I plan to reflect on the meaningful times I have not recorded. Therefore, this article will be the last article I will write on this trip to Spain.