Wednesday, September 24, 2008

wild pigs by k

no, i'm not talking about spanish men! i'm talking about wild pigs...jabali. i had an encounter with several the other day and, for a brief moment, i imagined headlines saying "san francisco woman attacked by pack of wild pigs in barcelona." not quite how i imagined it would all end, especially here in this very urban city! so, how did i happen to come across a pack of wild pigs?

a couple days ago i decided that after i took arel and dorian to school, i would make my way up tibidabo to a trail called the carretera de les aigues. it is a wide dirt trail, a lot like the fire trail in berkeley, that snakes along tibidabo for miles. a lot of barcelonans go up there to walk, ride mountain bikes and jog. my plan was to get to the trail from school and then jog home because we live only a couple hundred meters below the trail. my challenge was to find a quicker way to get up to the trail than the way i had come down a couple days earlier. after hitting several dead ends, i saw some movement in the distance and thought there were sheep in front of me, but on closer examination, i saw a group of very large jabali with one youngster! several people had told me i might see them on tibidabo, but they are bigger than I thought. the biggest ones definitely weigh more than me...and that's big! I decided to go up a different road, but when I looked back they were following me. Since I'm not well versed on the habits of wild pigs, I got a bit nervous and thought through what I would do if they charged. My plan was to pick up rocks and throw them at them. Not sure if that would be the correct course of action, but that was my plan.

Anyway, I got to another dead end road and started to wonder whether I was ever going to find my shortcut when I saw a man looking at me from in front of his house. He probably thought I was a crazy foreigner in my running shoes and shorts. Not wanting him to be suspicious of me, I asked whether he could tell me how to get up to the Carretera de les Aigues. With a definite smirk on his face he told me which way I could try. He said there was a very bad trail that had been mostly destroyed by the jabali, but that I looked like a sporty chica and could probably make it. As I headed to the stairs he told me to go down, the pigs were back. I asked the man whether they were dangerous. He laughed and said they only wanted to be fed! That calmed me a little bit, but it was very disconcerting when I was hiking through the brush, on a trail that was barely a trail...totally destroyed as the man told me, to hear these large creature walking around near me where I couldn't see them. I'm not sure what jabali like to eat, but I hope it's not people! I cursed the Spaniards for not maintaining their trails, I cursed the pigs for wanting food, and I cursed myself for needing to take a shortcut!

I did end up finding a slightly larger trail and did get where I wanted to go, but it was definitely a lot more work that going the slightly longer way.

Besides dealing with wild pigs, the biggest challenge has been dealing with the bureaucracy...many tales of red tape to be told! But not now, dinner must be served.