Machara-what?

Posted on August 8th, 2010 by Theresa

There’s a question I dread people asking me. It follows the where do you live bit and takes about nine hours for both of us to get right. ¿Machara-qué? ¿Cómo se deletrea? How do you spell that? How indeed. Macharaviaiya – pronounced Ma-cha-ra-bee-YAI-ya, and almost impossible to say without sounding drunk – is a modestly-sized village in the Axarquía, 15 minutes from the coast. The village was founded in 1572 on the remains of an old Arabic hamlet called Machar Ibn Yahya, which means ‘farm belonging to the son of Yahaya’. Old Yahaya, whoever he was, has a lot to answer for. We cannot blame him, however, for the rather bizarre name given to those of us who live here. Sevillanos are from Sevilla, Alicantinos are from Alicante, Madrileños are from Madrid – and Macharatungas (!!!) are from Macharaviaiya.

Machararviyaiya 3Suitably fitting for a hard-to-say kind of place, Machara-qué? is also a hard-to-get-in,hard-to-get-oMacharaviyaiydoorwayut-of kind of place. Or at least it used to be. There’s still only one windy road in and the same windy road back out, but at least they’ve filled in the moon-sized craters with  a smoother than smooth scalextric surface. They’ve even erected crash barriers to stop us hurtling down the hillside.  Even so, first-time visitors are visibly shaken on arrival. “How can you drive up and down that road every day? And what about at night?” they ask, full of concern. We just shrug. “Oh, you know, us Macharatungas are used to it.”

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5 Responses to “Machara-what?”

  1. Suzan Says:

    Quite. Thirty years in Spain and I still can’t say Macha-you-what without practising several times beforehand. I’m glad you mentioned it – I thought I was the only one…

  2. RosieReay Says:

    What a wonderful name for namiacs the world over!

    Each time I tried to pronounce it through this blurb I kept thinking how musical it sounds / at he very least poetical.

    I have visions of a Julie Andrews type village teacher, winding her way down the road with a trail of young children, hand in hand dancing and skipping along singing some old forgotten village song about a ghecko called, “Machar, Machara, Macharatunga”…went marching through the street of Macharaviaiya – Ma-cha-ra-bee-YAI-ya. He was closley followed by his friend the “Cha- cha- Chara-bumble Be” she kept singing the chorous “Yeh- Yeh, Yai -Yai, Yai-Ya, Ya—–.”

    Are there any village songs or poems out there relating to its name? Would love to have a written copy or a link to one.

    Does the village have its own mascot?

    No. I haven’t been on the grape juice!

  3. Theresa Says:

    Beautiful comment, Rosie. Brightened my morning. I will start investigating and let you know, though as far as I know, not.

  4. RosieReay Says:

    Twitter@RosieReay just tweeted:

    > My favourite word of the day “Macharatungas” from Macharaviaiya http://inthegarlic.com/2010/08/machara-what/comment-page-1/#comment-584 <

  5. Valerie Says:

    Me too, Rosie, love it. And thanks for tweeting. 🙂

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