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Mule And Cart


Even in Mallorca’s countryside, one does not often come across an old farmyard cart any more. These carros were frequently seen some thirty or forty years ago, being pulled by a mule or a donkey, less often by a horse, and after that less and less.

For hundreds of years Mallorca was a farming community. With the onset of mass tourism some forty or fifty years ago, agriculture became less desirable as a means of earning one’s living. Suddenly, farmers or their offspring could earn more money within the tourist trade, and much quicker.

The land does not feed the campesino any more, the farmers argued in unison.

I know an old man here, near Felanitx. He’s in his late eighties now, I guess. He grew up in a finca in the countryside and lived in an old farmhouse, first with his parents and later, with his wife and son. He had a few sheep and he tilled his land, happily one would suppose. I saw him guard his sheep until a few years ago. His son prefered an office job in a bank over the hard labour of a farmer. Within the bank he climbed up the ranks over the years. He finally made it to the position of the manager of a local bank branch. He lived in town all of his adult live. He was offered early retirement from his bank when he reached the age of 55, a few years ago. His son, in turn, paid a large sum of money to be trained as an airplane pilot. He finally achieved his dream, a pilot’s certificate. At first he co-piloted cargo planes, but now in his late twenties, I hear that he joined the ranks as a pilot of a passenger airline. He lives in Palma, of course.

Now, that’s what I would call social evolution in the fast track. Naturally, the traditional mule and cart are not suitable to this fast life.

The photo was chosen from my archive. It was taken in Caimari, Mallorca, Baleares, Spain. The date: November 16th, 2008. The time was 14:27:27.

1 reply »

  1. I thoroughly enjoy your different blog entries. Seeing this photograph made me think of past times of following countless carts, piled high with fodder and an elderly lady, hatted and tired, lurching slowly home at the end of a long day in the fields, dog trotting behind. That Mallorca was hard and punishing to those who worked that way, but to those of us who witnessed this slower way of life, it was sometimes a reminder that not all in the faster-paced cities is as coherent nor as closely-tied to nature’s rhythms. The changes I have watched through fifty years of calling Palma home haven’t all been felicitious, but they have certainly been interesting. Thank you for your blog – it keeps me tied to my trans-Atlantic home!

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