November 29, 2020

Route through perimeter Spain: The worst is uncertainty


Other lotteries say that in days of crisis, when the future is not clear, people play more, but this veteran observer of the street, who has been in the same point of Logroño for nine years, has proven that this uncertainty of the covid does not help to the business. “Some longtime customers have not been here for a long time. Older people are afraid to go out. Here the bug has given a lot of cane “, he relates.

Javier, a salesman for ONCE, believes that the uncertainty of the covid does not help the business. José Luis Roca.


Each person and their fears are a world in the capital of The Rioja. In the pharmacy of Marian roaThe clientele enters somewhat hastily. There is an atmosphere of essential last purchases in the city, as if they were going to close. People from the Alfoz towns come to Marian Roa to take orders to supply the house. It has been to pronounce the television the expression “state of alarm” Y reactivate the preventive buying instinct.

And “in a moment of uncertainty like the one we have now,” says the apothecary, as there is no remedy or vaccine for the covid, his public takes psychological parapets. “People ask us for propolis, royal jelly, multivitamin complexes … Something to stimulate their immune system and to feel stronger for what may come. ”

Last coffees

A collective tension ran through the working morning of Logroño before, on Friday, the total closure of the hotel industry came into force in the region. And, as if it were the eve of the final judgment, the residents of the center filled the terraces with the doubt of exactly what date they will be able to do it again.

“Some lifelong customers no longer pass through here,” says lottery Albecha


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“It goes for a month”he says trying to clear the uncertainty Salvador Martinez, the owner of Café Ópera. Inside, four office workers have breakfast under a television that parades the speakers of the parliamentary debate on the state of alarm. Men and women drag their chairs, get up, wrap themselves up and approach the bar, rather than paying, to say goodbye: “Well, Save, until it can be,” one of them says after picking up the change.

The owner of the Opera de Logroño does not expect the second wave to be less bad than the first. Jose Luis Roca


The other waiter busily walks in and out, looking in his black t-shirt with the La Rioja flag and the # SalvemosLaHostelería hagstag. Paco Martinez, Salva’s uncle, president of the union, is at that moment meeting with his board of directors in another part of Logroño, trying to assess the blow to lives and property.

Salva says that a manager from Logroño, “client and friend”, has told him that, in the first phase of the pandemic, in the city “the landlords of the businesses forgave 90 percent of the rents to their tenants.” In the second wave, the owner of the Opera believes that “they will no longer be so willing. The landlord also needs the pasta …”

The jurisdiction of the Covid

On the road, luxurious wineries shine without the bustle of the wine tourism buses at the door, in the mere silence of the half-disarmed vineyards, which breaks the buzz of a truck when it passes against the backdrop of the Sierra de Cameros.

Uncertainty shakes La Rioja like a rich lady leaning out, well dressed and with her jewels, on the edge of a cliff. But his health situation, being serious, is less bad than that of his neighbor Navarre. The La Ribera muga is passed and it is crossing from 707 cases per 100,000 (accumulated incidence in 14 days) to 1,159.

The figures put pressure on the prestigious health system of Navarra


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A figure like that puts strain on the once brilliant Navarrese health system. The uncontrolled covid has imposed its new laws. Now one reigns strange sadness in the streets of Tudela, by which retirees walk aimlessly to any bar. In a corner of the Plaza de los Fueros, in front of the music kiosk crowned by the names of Gaztambide, Gayarre, Sarasate and Eslava, the reminders of the last deceased of the term are hung.

There are three still recent, between 80 and 92 years old, on the notice board. Two old men have come to read the obituary. The funeral texts modestly hide the motive for death. If it was from covid, it will be known at the funeral.

The deserted Plaza de los Fueros, in Tudela (Navarra). Jose Luis Roca


Navarra has 18 percent of its hospital beds occupied by patients with coronavirus. And 37 of their intensive care beds. And there are already 694 official deaths in the pandemic.

Confined politics

In Villafranca they count twelve deaths in the nursing home and three in the rest of the town. In that quiet town in the Merindad of Tudela, the pepper and asparagus canning plant operates discreetly behind its fences, but it has closed the camping restaurant, famous for its menus. In the solitude of the place, the poster of “rules of use of the swimming pool” remains like Chernobyl.

A Venezuelan camper, in a tracksuit and slippers, walks carrying a bucket in full sun, as if looking for something among the empty bungalows. “It is not known when they will open -He says-. When this happens. “” This “is the order to close all bars and canteens. Dishes are only sold at home.

The Virgin of Villafranca de Navarra. José Luis Roca.


The mayor of Villafranca, Carmen Segura, 50, has had to be confined at home with a son who has tested positive. By videoconference he attends El Periódico de Catalunya. Her boy has no fever, no pain or diarrhea, and she hopes it will stay like this: “The confinement you live first with mother’s concern -Explain-. And with the computer, signing digitally. Working but, with a feeling … When they give you the positive, when they do the test, when you are looking to see if symptoms appear … it is three days that you have an uncertainty … “.

Not far from his closed house, in a corner of the town, a tile shows a painted virgin dressed in white, flanked by a red scarf and some plastic flowers eaten by the sun. A sign begs: “Santísima Virgen del Portal, free Villafranca from all evil”.

“Don’t take me out”

Like a scourge, the covid fuels the political battles in Navarra. The mayor of Villafranca, from UPN, blames the situation on the left: “We are like this because the Government of Navarra began by frivolizing the severity of this virus. And measures were taken at the wrong time. There has been a lot of uncoordination. In September there was an incidence as high in Navarra as there is now in Spain and for which the state of alarm has been decreed, but it continued without doing anything … ”

In Tudela, each seated at the two ends of a bank, the early retirees Ignacio and Francisco talk about politics, but from a different sign. Of someone they saw on television, the first says: “He is a façade, an ignorant. Poor people.”

“I don’t know how I will explain to my grandchildren this difficult moment in history,” says an early retiree in Tudela


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Ignacio does not know how he will explain to his grandchildren what happened in 2020. “I will tell you that it was a tough moment in history. And we’ll see how it will be overcome. To this day no one knows how this is going to end.”

A boy and two friends speak loudly and without a mask at the door of a bar converted into a food delivery vendor. The waiter joins the gathering with the chin mask. “Don’t take me out, I’m on leave,” asks the leader of the talk.

Dripping ambulance

The medical vans arrive at the Navarra Hospital Complex more frequently than any bus in the city. One, another, another … Sometimes it is an almost rhythmic cadence, like a gong of sorrow. Pamplona is the capital of the community with the highest incidence of covid in all Spain

Sergio Galindo, Baztan Bidasoa ambulance technician, is still a kid, although he already has eight years of experience in medical transport. “We have had to live this, and now we all give the best of ourselves,” he says with great seriousness, protected from the covid only with a mask, next to the vehicle from which his human cargo has just unloaded.

An ‘astronaut’ helps a patient at the Hospital de Navarra. Jose Luis Roca


Any boy from his fifth would express himself with more disbelief, but he says it quite naturally, without any false modesty and without throwing stones at anyone. We have a pandemic, it is what it is, does not give it more laps. “Stay away, a covid patient is coming,” he recommends before saying goodbye, illuminated by the blue glow of the lights of a new ambulance that docks at this dock of fear and pain.

An elderly man suspected of covid has arrived at the ambulance arcade of the ER. He comes seated, very serious, and is approached by astronauts in white overalls to lower him. At that moment he abandons the apparent calm that he brought, and complains, murmurs and creaks like an old piece of furniture when they move it.

Heads and tails of the pandemic: the devastating helplessness of the man contrasts with the laughter of a traveler in Bilbao. In the hours that pass while that grandfather is put through the hospital mouth, undressed, put on a sick coat, takes his temperature, does PCR and the rest of the rites of hospital digestion of a coronavirus patient, in In the capital of Biscay, 155 kilometers from there, an anonymous guest of a central hotel is having a good dinner.

Stick your thumb up to answer the waiter that the cod is very tasty; and the txakoli very good. He has already had a few drinks, and gets up and walks over to other tables waving without a mask and with a big smile. He is followed, reluctantly, by the crew of a Cuban ship caught in the city by a state of alarm.

Down on the street, groups of young people fed up with masks and pissed off at not being able to party are protesting the curfew by burning containers.

There is a constant drip of ambulances in the emergency rooms of the Pamplona University Hospital.Video: José Luis Roca

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Route through perimeter Spain (1): Truckers dine alone

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