Sunday, July 6, 2008

San Fermin...and a birthday party

It was another Spanish weekend night.

My roommate Jeff and I loaded up in the car at about 9pm with another roommate Ariel and her Spanish boyfriend Jaime and headed to the beach in Puerto de Burriana for a stranger’s birthday party. I am becoming accustomed to randomly attending functions here. We arrived an hour or so before dark and sat around drinking Coca-Cola, don’t call it Coke, that will get you something other than a drink, Coca-Cola. Many of the Spaniards in the bunch ( this was a relatively young crowd, probably all sub-30) were drinking extremely cheap red wine mixed with their Coca-Cola… I declined to try this concoction because, well, if nothing else, it just doesn’t sound very tasty. We sat around and talked about general topics that come up when strangers are present and gradually our novelty subsided and conversation became comfortable. I think all of the people at the party were couples with the exception of us stangers. The women and the men just sort of naturally broke up into different groups and stood around and talked. As it began to get dark the guys started working on trying to get the fire going in the grill that someone brought as guys generally do. Also coinciding with the sun set there were fireworks down the beach a ways for some reason or other and we all broke out into a chorus of “ Cumpleanos Feliz” as if we had been waiting for the fireworks as a cue. Jaime broke out some “tortillas” that he had made and put them on one of the tables which just happened to be in front of me.

For clarification, tortillas in Spain are not little wimpy corn or flour creations for making burritos or rollups. A Tortilla is actually a big thick omelet type creation with some kind of vegetable in it. The tortillas that Jaime made were potato (which is traditional), onion, and sweet pepper. They are about an inch thick and cut up in cubes and eaten like finger food. And they are good. I have a feeling that the Spanish in the New World were being a bit sarcastic by referring to the meager manifestations of “tortillas” that they were resigned to eat. I could be wrong though; it wouldn’t be the first time.

Where were we… tortillas…right. After the tortillas were consumed by all as a bit of a appetizer, the guys began cooking the meat. I have not seen any beef since I have been in Spain. I have, however, eaten several cuts of pork that I have never tried before. Most of what they cooked was a pork rib/backbone chop type cut, which was really good, as well as some excellent local sausages that I am going to assume were pork also. Then we fell into the Spanish main course of every meal or gathering, conversation. I was mostly listening, but I did a bit of talking too… It is coming easier.

At the “beach” that I am referring to, we are not all sitting around in a circle in the sand near the water. There is actually a big wide sidewalk type thing (I think they call it a paseo) that runs the length of the beach about a hundred yards or so from the water. It is about 80 feet wide and has a small half-wall on the side nearest the ocean. There are palm trees and streetlights alternate about every hundred feet or so in the middle of the paseo. Palms also grow at irregular intervals on the other side of the short wall toward the water. All up and down this big wide walk-way there were families and friends gathering for different reasons with folding tables and chairs sitting and having dinner about dark. There are the usual kids running around with a soccer ball of course.

About midnight or one in the morning the older people and the families started filtering away from the beachfront one at a time while the younger groups started packing up and walking down toward the chiringuitos or beach clubs. We decided that since we were already in the vicinity that we would do the same.

It was pretty warm even for an outdoor club with a sea breeze blowing in, and I was downing orange Fanta from glass bottles like it was going out of style. I love it. About 3 hours and a hundred techno songs later I was done. So I leaned against a tree and watched for a while. I was accosted by a muscled up bouncer who was admiring himself in a piece of plexiglass to my left and caught me smirking at him. He asked me if I was selling drugs because I was in the club, not with a group, and not dancing. I pointed out my friends to him and emptied my pockets for him and told him I was tired, but he kept strolling by and giving the proverbial “eye” as long as I was there. I think he was mostly embarrassed because I busted him out flexing and checking himself out in his tight black bouncer t-shirt.

As we wandered back down toward Jaime’s car he stopped at a stand and bought some churros that he munched all the way back to the car. They looked a lot like Taco Johns churros, but I didn’t try any. I was not in the mood for anything sweet…I just wanted some water and a nice place to sit down. We made it in a bit after four a.m., a relatively early night by Spanish weekend standards…

I definitely slept the first half of the day.



"Uno de enero, dos de febrero, tres de marzo, cuatro de abril, cinco de mayo, seis de junio siete de julio, ¡SAN FERMÍN! "Uno de enero, dos de febrero, tres de marzo, cuatro de abril, cinco de mayo, seis de junio siete de julio, ¡SAN FERMÍN! A Pamplona hemos de ir, con una media, con una media, a Pamplona hemos de ir con una media y un calcetín."

Today is the first day of the Fiesta del San Fermin of "The Running of the Bulls" fame. It will last until the 14th of July i believe. San Fermin is the patron saint of Pamplona so like most of the other festivals in the summer it is localized. Thanks to Ernest Hemingway the world just happens to know about Pamplona and their festival. Actually just about every pueblo has something similar to a bull running at one time or another during the spring or summer. Which is one of the reasons Spaniards are more adept at dodging bulls and the silly tourists get run down in the street in Pamplona... Practice...

Not a whole lot is happening here in Les Alquerias, but there was a band concert in the plaza when i cruised by on my bike on my way to the academy to use the internet.

I need to find a schedule of these big festivals so i can go and join in the spectacle while I am here.

c

1 comment:

Kara Lee said...

I found it, keep writing.
kara