15 Feb Gorgeous George
So, onto lunch, and one of those eccentricities that travel has a habit of throwing up.
Imagine the scene. We’re back in the one-horse pueblo of El Pozo, with its 200 Spanish souls (and that’s a generous guess), its bar on the main street and a tiny foodstore but not much else, it would seem, for solace or sustenance. Amaya and Miguel have a large, sprawling house, like a Tardis with far more space inside than the outside would suggest. They thought, once upon a time, that they might run a wee restaurant there. So they made some changes to the upper floor in preparation for this enterprise, then changed their minds. But the space was ready and available. Up steps Omar, restaurateur of the Indian persuasion and here, in this tiny pueblo, is the result. Lakshmi, an Indian restaurant serving terrific food and managed by gorgeous George.
George is a Roman Catholic chap from Kerala, somewhere between 35 and 40, witheringly handsome, and with a lingering boyishness despite the touch of grey starting to stipple his temples. Perfect English overlays some other mother-tongue and, no doubt, he speaks some pretty passable Spanish too. George moves in a fast, exhausting way, rushing plates of steaming rice and sizzling tandoori to eager customers, bottles of cerveza to wash down bhunas or rogans.
I mean, you really couldn’t make it up. We took our places in the restaurant, which was packed, inside and out on the terrace, with the buzz of Spaniards who love their curries. And, as we tarried over shared poppadoms and puri then dived into delicious king prawn jalfrezi, it dawned on us again, what a small and surprising world we inhabit.