Friday, 17 March 2017

Museum Mission: Museo del arroz

Welcome to the Rice Museum in Calasparra! The only museum in town. You can read about it here and here.In Spanish, of course. The first linked website is my preferred one.
So, you step inside and find is a tourist office to your right. They are not very happy to share information with you there, I have myself helped tourists (in poor Spanish, mind you) who have came out directly from there to identify the best parts of the city. To the left is the museum, that is never open after 13.30 and not all days a week, either.
You can be lucky like me and match your visit with 50 other people from the region of Murcia. First, you might have to argue with the guide about whether it is wise or not wise to join. "You will not understand", he said. "We are after all having a conversation in Spanish, don't worry about me", I kind of said. In that superior quality Spanish mentioned earlier.
So up we went.
There are three floors with everything you want to know about the local rice, like that politicians have suggested to tilt the fields. Guide and farmers laughed at this.
I believe these objects are here to be touched, but I didn't dare.
Very nice to see. There even was what looked like a ukulele of hay; it probably wasn't.
And now, let's give way for the chests.
They were multiples.
After chest five or seven, I asked what they were doing there.
"We repair broken things instead of throwing them away", came the answer.
"We don't just throw things away because they have a small damage."
Ok, but where do they come from?
Here and there - origin not confirmed.
Interesting, anyhow. The guided group assumed that farmers were foreigners that came to Spain for work. "No such thing," the guide said, "the art of growing rice is passed on to family members only in this region".
There are several types of rice; was it five millions kilograms the guide said were produced here? The "bombas" are the biggest type and start looking a bit like beans. Flavour, cooking time and dishes separate the sorts; and the nutrition content, of course. If you say "rice" in a restaurant here, you read meat and vegetables between the lines.
It grows a bit outside of the city, near the river.

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