I'm not sure how many of you have been following the trucker's strike here in Spain (and in France and Portugal as well) but on Monday, some independent truckers and small trucking companies began a protest. They refused to truck food, gas and other items into major cities (like Madrid) unless the government assisted them in negotiating better prices for hauling the items. Their claim is that with the rising gas prices they can not make a living hauling goods and charging their previous prices. SO - the trucks stopped rolling on Monday and the truckers also began picket lines on highways entering cities like Madrid and Granada and at the border with France. I guess this caused a decent panic among the citizens of Madrid because by Tuesday the news was reporting that many stations were out of gas or soon would be as lots of people had rushed to fill up in light of the boycott AND stores were quickly running out of supplies as similarly, people had rushed to stock up on everything they could get their hands on, not knowing how long the strike would last.
No hay veggies, people! Also, no fruit, no meat, no bread, no fresh milk and they were even out of the dreaded shelf stable milk (shudder!) which, in light of the emergency situation I was deigning to use on my cereal. Pero, no hay! Sigh. Needless to say, I think people overreacted a bit - which is typical in situations like this. In addition to the panicked shopping sprees, the stories of what was happening on the picket lines had reached "urban legend" proportions. There was definately some violence as the truckers who were on strike would bash in the windshield of those truckers trying to make their way into Madrid or across to France. There were also one or two picketers who were killed when they wouldn't move out of the way and were then mowed down by motorists. All tragic and nervewracking, but the stories on the street were that replacement truckers were getting pulled out of their trucks, beaten and burned alive - that there was essentially anarchy and mob rule around these protests. All false, but arising I think out of the fear of my Spanish neighbors that their jamon supply was about to be cut off and then dear God, ARMEGEDDON!!! Finally however, it appears that everyone has calmed down. Zapatero has reached an agreement with the majority of the truckers and police began escorting trucks through the protest lines yesterday to deliver food so I think everything will be back to normal soon. I did learn a valuable lesson however which is to horde before the other horders horde or I will be out of milk for my coffee for at least, one or two days. Which is of course unthinkable!