day 9 of our escape to andalucia, december 2002

Torrox — Fiesta de las Migas

Sunday morning lie-in, but a buzz begins to build from the square below us. A sound system is being tested as the two bells ring (clank) for mass. We go down to the square as the Music Academy Nuestra Señora de las Nieves begins to play. It's the 21st Torrox Fiesta de Las Migas.

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Music in the main square

Making Migas

The migas-makers

Migas is a mix of olive oil, garlic, water, semolina flour and salt mixed in a large pan. Everyone who attends the fiesta gets a plateful, as well as a glass of vino dulce, a sherry wine, straight from the barrel. We partake: it's a couscous-like texture, rather dry, interesting but not earth-shattering (though obviously meant more to some locals, who went back for seconds), but probably a good accompaniment to salad or another, more flavourful food.

Many hundreds of people crowd into the village by the bus- and coach-load. There is a lot of cheerful drinking, spontaneous song accompanied by tapping of glasses, catching up with gossip and news, laughter and banter. Greatly outnumbered, tourists wander about looking paler and more foreign than usual, and taller than the locals who are here to enjoy themselves.


Waiting for the migas to cook

Stirring the migas pot

Serving the migas

A stage has been erected in the main square, and dancers and singers entertain into the late afternoon. Young women have squeezed into their tightest jeans, tighter even than normal in this country of buttock-hugging trousers. Young men are being brasher than usual. Their parents and grandparents dance unselfconsciously to whatever music is going, traditional or modern. There are lots of wrinkles, men with hands made huge with hard labour, old ladies with missing teeth and wide grins.

Those South Americans who seem to be everywhere in the world now are selling woolly sweaters and fake panpipes. Gloomy hippy types with unhealthy pallors sell the instantly-forgettable stuff that hippy types sell the world over.


Tapping the sherry barrel

A few of the thousands who poured into Torrox

Folk dancing

By four o'clock the market square is empty of migas-eaters and full of the residue, and a steady stream of smiling people is heading back to the coach park.

The amplified music booms on in the square until 10ish, but after the power has been switched off, we can still hear drums being beaten in corners of the town, and the occasional burst of laughter into the small hours.


Folk dancing

The migas-makers gone, only the plastic plates and spoons remain

After the fiesta...

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