Sunday, June 15, 2008

euromullet fiesta

sunday 10:54am

IS it really the 5th day? I feel like it has been either weeks or one night. It’s somewhat like the perception of waking from a dream and knowing you have only been asleep for an evening but the events that transpired encompassed a week, month, year or lifetime.

Today is Sunday the 15th, The weekend has been interesting so far. Friday night was when the weekend started. My roommate Jeff had his only Saturday class cancelled so we decided to do something Friday night. Another of our roommates, Alex,(female) had invited us to go along with her to Castellon de la Plana which is about two cities over. She speaks no English so I knew it would be interesting. We did not leave the house until nearly 11pm. Although since it gets dark about 10 or 10:15 it really doesn’t seem that late. On the way I learned from Alex that her friends were rock-and-roll-ers and we were going to “rock bar.” I had no idea what to expect. We walked in to a smoke filled bar all the way to the back where her friends had a big table. If you will, picture a tough looking bunch of 80s metal rockers with fanny packs. Long black hair, or euro-mullets, tight jeans, boots or cut off t-shirts and jean shorts… I must admit I was a bit intimidated… but I am learning something about Spain; the judgments I so readily pass are not always valid here. Had I been thrown into the midst of a group of metal rocker punks back home wearing a t-shirt and jeans and my funny hat I would have planned on being at the best tolerated and ignored whereas these guys were an introduction away from considering me a friend. Of course I introduced myself as Craig. I even wore my belt buckle with my name on it so I would not have to spell it for them. But something about the Spanish pronunciation does not like Craig… so they called me Paco, and introduced me to their friends as Paco. In the Castellon 80s metal scene, I am now Paco. I guess I’ll need a different belt buckle.

We made our way around the city (on foot, of course) to different little venues and places for most of the evening. The most memorable being a Metal bar that looked like a cave. The seats were imitation hewn stone benches attached to the wall around the edge of the room. The tables were stumps with iron cup holders bolted to them. The roof was arched like that of a cave. The pillars were made of stone. It was dimly lit… and there was a foosball table in the back with a bright light hanging over it. Watching super hard-core looking rockers playing foosball to Judas Priest and Iron Maiden is pretty interesting.

The last stop on our agenda was a very nice loft apartment belonging to one of the guys. We sat around on the floor and in some chairs while conversation swirled around me.

I tried out my Spanish a bit and tried to explain what Arkansas was all about. They tried out their English and talked to me about Harleys and Elvis. A fellow was playing a bit of classical guitar. He started playing “More than words” by Extreme, and naturally I sang the first words to the song… since they only knew the song phonetically, I was nominated to lead the group in a very interesting rendition of the song. Then somebody thankfully put in a Beatles cover album by some reggae band. Thus ended Friday night. With a long walk back to Alex’s car and a half hour ride home during which I fell asleep.

Saturday was a very low key day around the house. Jeff and I had the house to ourselves because Miguel (he likes to be called Mickey) and Katie had left for Alicante for the weekend and Alex was working. We mostly just sat around on the patio or in the small inner courtyard area depending on the location of the sun. I am having a tough time getting used to the whole siesta thing. I mean I love the idea, but I just forget. We walked to town about 2o’clock in the afternoon to get some groceries for the day and for Sunday, and everything but the Consum (grocery store) was closed and the streets were empty… ah yes, 2 to 5. Vale. We did notice that they were setting up for a fiesta in Alquerias (del Nino Perdido…that is the full name of the town that I live near). So we decided to head back to town around 9. Fireworks were going off all day long, and not little piddly ones, more like quarter sticks of dynamite which they do allow as fireworks here. And I must pause for a minute.

Edit* Sunday, 4:24

I had to stop for a bit and ride down to the beach. Jeff was ready to go and since I had not been there yet, I wanted to ride with someone who knew the way. It’s a bit more than the 20 minute ride that I thought it would be, more like 30 but still. Only about 5 miles to the Mediterranean… who’s complaining? We went down and sat on towels for a bit and then it got cloudy and looked like rain, so we went back into Burriana a short way and ate paella valenciana at a sidewalk café, had a coffee, and rode home….

Where was I? ah yes. Yesterday… Fireworks like gunshots in the streets. I live a short way from the town. About a mile or so. And I heard the fireworks all day long. It was like they didn’t care about the look, just the sound. Anyway, we put on some slightly nicer clothes than usual and walked into town about 9 assuming the festivities would start about dark. We got a table at a small café on the square that had a view of the town hall and the stage and what not, but we were about the only ones out… there was a marching band parading around the streets starting about 10, I figure they were letting people know it was time to come to the square or something. Soon after the band marched out of sight people began to filter into the square in small groups. The older ones in summer dresses and slacks. The younger generation in white jeans and euro-mullets. The café filled up quickly as did the chairs set up in front of the stage erected for the ensuing pageantry. We had accidentally gotten a great seat for the festivities. As I said, we figured that things would start around dark…10:30 or so… but that came and went and 11, and 11:30… about 12 some speakers took the stage and began to speak.
My Spanish is pretty weak, but my Valenciano is nonexistent. Since this was a local celebration of the city’s independence, everything was in Valenciano which is similar to Catalan which is similar to French, Italian and Spanish all mixed up. So I didn’t really hear anything I just watched. Pretty much there was a lot of talking and then the “Queen” and her court were crowned. They were younger females probably in their late teens or twenties. They were all decked out in their traditional finery like wildly embroidered hoop skirts and intricate lace shawls and traditional hairdos with a bun on each side over the ears. They sat on the stage while the announcers talked about the festival and then members of the audience were announced and brought up gifts of flower arrangements and similar things one at a time. Former queens and court members came on stage and congratulated the girls one a time with kisses and bows. It was very fairy-tale-esque. The palm trees swaying in the square, a fountain lit from inside, the archaic town hall, the old men on benches and the kids playing soccer with a can. A outdoor café packed with people of all ages. And mullets. Lots of mullets.

We sat for quite some time watching and listening but about 1:30 the festival showed no signs of letting up and there was some really large fellow who was talking about the merits of each member of the “Court” and they would go up and give him traditional cheek kisses afterwards. Everyone was still attentive when we decided to wander back toward the house. When we got half a mile or so away from town the band kicked up and I assume it was finished… I have never seen a party or gathering in the states in a public square that started about midnight and went ‘til 2 with the entire town in attendance from babies to the very old. Nobody yawning, nobody drunk, everyone just sitting around for the company, lots of people smoking, and did I mention mullets?

More from me soon.

And pictures… if I can find my freaking camera cord.



Anonymous said...

extremely jealous...I might be coming over august-septemberish, that is, if you'll have're making me miss spain


ElenaLou said...

It all sounds so fun to me. I want to go take pictures in Europe or the people...all the different cultures just make me happy.
Seems like you are haveing fun so far!

mikey said...

Sounds like you're having the time of your life. Live it up, kid. It's good to hear that you're well and having a blast. Also, I'd love to see some pics of the rockers. Sounds like my kind of crowd.