It´s that time of year again when the whole town of Buñol in Valencia goes tomato mad in a one hour throwing frenzy that has become known as the infamous ´Tomatina Festival.´ The aim of the festival is to arrive in plenty of good time, soak up the ambience of the town while hunting around for the best table outside of someone´s abode where you can buy a decent pair of swimming goggles at a good price. You then adourn said goggles which leaves you with very little ability in the eye sight department thus sharpening up your hearing sensibilities as you try to decipher the million of different languages and accents that surround you – yes this really is an internationally acclaimed event.
While sitting in the brightly lit square one evening enjoying a nice sandwich on a long table lined with natives of the town a large lorry noisily reversed up the road and tipped what looked like a mountain of tomatoes on the floor. I was quickly given the low down that these particular tomatoes are grown purposely in Andalucia.
Andalucia for those of you who are not that good at geography is located in the south of Spain..it´s the home of Flamenco, Gypsy culture and a bloody awful Spanish accent that leaves you more than baffled as to what´s being said if you´re a non native speaker of Spanish like me.
Stuffing aforementioned sandwich leaving no room for conversation I was happily listening to the chit chat of the table when I was offered an insight in to the availability of a seasonal job if I was interested in applying. I gulped down a piece of cheese and bread greedily eager to question what the job entailed – I´m always happy to earn a few extra quid here and there as farming is not going to make me a millionaire any time soon I don´t think.
Said job was simple….
Take a tomato from the now, ever growing pile – 4 lorry loads tipped before my sandwich was devoured….rotate it in both hands…and squish…dah dah! Simples.
How much does it pay? I asked non seriously now thinking this was a little practical joke. A collective answer was about 11 euros an hour. Why do the tomatoes need to be squished I hear you ask? It´s the same question I asked too. So that,
A) they don´t bruise people and B) they erupt into a red acidic sea of tomato yumminess.
There you have it…need a job? There´s one waiting for you as I write and you read…Tomato Squisher, 11 euros and hour, all the sauce you need and right in the heart of one of the greatest festivals on an international scale – The tomatina Festival.