Thursday, March 18, 2010

Why Esto es jauja?

When I decided on the title for this blog, I wanted something that sounded catchy and expressed how we felt about life in our new country. Little did I know that I had picked up on an expression that had been used in the past to describe a similar experience to ours.

My friend, Germán Martin at the Auntamiento de Bigastro has kindly sent me a link to an excellent explanation of the phrase “Esto es jauja” which comes from a site called Blogodisea. It is in Spanish so this is my rough (very rough) translation). You can read the full article by clicking on this link.

image It seems that, the phrase was used by Christopher Columbus when he was having difficulty recruiting sailors for his second trip to America because of the hardships, the diseases and the hunger that they would face on such a long voyage.

To create an incentive, America was described as Juaja – a land where everything was made of gold, where doughnuts grew on trees and there were rivers of rich milk and honey. Butter and cheese curds fell into the river of honey and said ““cómeme, “cómeme” (eat me).
image In his book, “La tierra de Jauja”, Lope de Rueda described juaja as a place where men were paid to sleep and they whipped those who insisted on working. It was a land where the trees were bacon with fine bread leaves, the streets were paved with bacon and eggs. There were spit roasting hens and partridges and animals came ready for slaughter reciting: “engúlleme, engúlleme” (gobble me up). There was rice with milk, boxes of marzipans, meringues, custard or barrels of sweet wine all saying “cómeme, bébeme, cómeme, bébeme” (eat me, drink me). It was a land where egg casseroles and cheese were plentiful.
image “The land of Cockaygne”a place with rivers of oil, milk and honey; with ready roasted geese; where monks and nuns dance together and where all the foods are there to be asked for.
image Juaja in the painting by Pieter Brueghel 1567.

Now I am not going to pretend that Bigastro or Spain is the kind of utopia described by these people but is does provide us with a good life in our retirement. After the so called honeymoon period we are still thoroughly enjoying life in our new town. There is an awful lot for us to learn about the area and plenty of places for us to explore. I don’t think we will ever get bored living here because it is probably as close to jauja as we are going to find.

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