YOU GUYS - MUMMA YAM IS IN TOWN!!! Already we've eaten triple our weight in Spanish food and tapas and ohmygod so much pulpo! It might just be the best weekend yet and when I came back home from work yesterday I discovered that she had already helped me unpack a whole suitcase worth of my things AND reorganised everything better so that it just made a bit more sense around the aparment. And because she is just simply the greatest I was reunited with a couple of packs of Percy Pigs which is obviously the second main reason for her visit.
But first, about Friday, because in all of the excitement I almost missed the factory visit in the morning as part of the 'training' program for the newbies here. It was so surreal it just felt like we were in Monsters Inc. with 95km of rails along the ceiling moving primped and prepped garments (ready to be shipped out worldwide) throughout the whole place and all I wanted to do was to run around and play hide and seek. We had a tour of the factory and then the distribution warehouse and oh my the scale and volume of everything is so unbelievable it's still hard to comprehend as I write this. There are machines to vacuum layer and layers of fabric together and then more machines to cut the patterns. Mostly everything will get cut out here and then everything is shipped out to the factories - in China or Turkey or Italy or somewhere else depending on the garment - to be put together. Then everything gets send back to the factory here to be finished or steamed ready for the stores. There are separate machines to steam and press the different parts of a jacket/blazer/shirt which makes so much sense now when everything is so perfectly hanging brand new and not so much after you wash and iron it later. The press for the backs of the jackets/blazers/shirts for example are moulded in the shape of the curve of a back so it can be pressed into the perfect shape and similarly with the collar/lapel press and all the other ones for the rest of the garments.
The distribution warehouse was a whole other story with custom designed machines to organise hundreds of thousands of pieces into different boxes and rails according to the country and store destination. There was a machine that distributed 35,000 (you guys - that's 35 THOUSAND) items PER HOUR and I'm pretty sure the lady told us that they had two!! There were boxes being carried on conveyer belts and boxes suspended on hanging carriages from another moving belt on the ceiling. Plastic wrapped garments were being shot through shoots and spun around on the machines before falling into a box that indicated somewhere the exact store and country it was being shipped to. Everything was so accurate and so orderly it kind of gave us the urge to make mess just to see what might happen.
I can't remember if the lady said that it was the factory and warehouse or just the warehouse but one or the other takes up over 400,000 square metres of space!! And to put that into perspective - just like the postmen in the office travel around on Segways - the factory/warehouse workers move around via bikes and mopeds. Like actual bikes. Not special indoor-safe bikes - we mostly saw mountain bikes and road bikes and some workers just cycling passed us with the ease and demeanour of a relaxing ride along the beach. I wanted to stay down there and play forever.
Today I woke up the earliest I'd ever on a Saturday since arriving. We had big food plans! There are 2 main food markets in Coruña and although Mumma seems to think that they're open during the weekdays, Kaska and Naomi have only been going on Saturday mornings so for some reason I've been assuming it's a Saturday food market, ignoring the most probably fact that Saturday is simply the only day we can go anyway. We walked along the harbour side down toward the town centre and spent over an hour at the first one in Plaza de Lugo which is spread over 3 floors and ohmygod is basically food heaven. The other, closer to my apartment, is above a big supermarket on San Augustín, and a little bit smaller but quieter and cuter. We bought chorizo and morcilla and smoked cheese and dates the size of kiwi fruits and biscuits and different cakes and bread from the bakery stand with a queue. We had a feast of a lunch at home and Skyped Sab at the same time, holding up each item of food in front of the camera so she could see, because obviously that's the neccessary etiquette when you're enjoying food that the other can't have.
The rain poured down pretty heavy in the afternoon which meant that I had to come home and change again after another walk around the town because I like to dress appropriately and of course I stepped out in shorts and my Birkenstocks before the clouds broke. We took the bus to Marineda - home to Europe's 3rd largest shopping centre and IKEA - and spend over 3 hours navigating our way through the horrendous crowds. I might have gone crazy with the shopping in IKEA and we never even got around to buying any plants. Probably better off I guess because I had to pay half on my card and the rest in cash.
Here's to counting the days until the next paycheck. At least my apartment is a little more upgraded. Whatever, it was worth it.