WEDNESDAY, OCTOBER 11
I am due to meet with the regional President of the journalists’ union in San Juan. His cell phone is permanently busy. The road south traverses flat fields. The mountains are vertical flats and equally boring. San Juan has nothing to recommend it. I ride on.
Olive groves and terraces of ancient olive trees are familiars of European literature. Literature is passé. Argentina is agro-corporation. Kilometre upon kilometre of young olive trees march to the horizon either side of the road. I break for coffee at a service station. A young woman serves me. She is one of four daughters, no brothers. I have four sons. We compare ages, occupations. Twenty or more shade-netted plant nurseries occupy the far corner of the intersection: baby olive trees fresh from the genetic lab. The owners are Spanish. The town has become dependent on them. These same Spaniards have planted three thousand hectares of almonds. My informant is unsure as to how many thousand hectares of olives have been planted. The young woman tells me that a labourer earns $270 monthly. She asks what a farm labourer earns in England. I guess at $500 a week. I sip my coffee and wonder what the future holds for the European farmer, the Spaniard husbanding olives and almonds on a few cherished hectares. Is he aware of the intention of his compatriots here in Argentina? Perhaps a TV producer could put them together. Imagine a judge as chairperson. Is investing in the destruction of your campatriots’ living an act of treason? Or merely sensible business practice? God Bless The Global Economy, Screw The Loser…
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