Sorry to be so long between posts. The odd thing is often if I'm having a hard time I can't post...this time I have tons to post about and haven't had the opportunity. Now I don't know where to start.
We have been going to the fiesta activities in the town near us each night this week, so a few excerpts from a very interesting, cultural, bizarre, bunch of activities.
Wednesday night had a totally surreal evening, maybe a strange day over all. The new regional boss from the US was here. She seems very nice and approachable, we just tried to make a good impression since it was our first meeting of her, but feel like we could speak to her if we needed to. Went to lunch at a nice restaurant (her treat) for paella. Our neighbor was on duty - I think his parents own the restaurant. So I'm Spanish kissing the staff...
At 8 pm, we went to hear a music group, Toom-Pak, at the fiesta (all percussion on industrial drums and tire rims and stuff) very interesting, like Stomp. They didn't start at 8 of course. There were no chairs set up and Dar saw an old guy sneak around a stack and get some chairs, so Dar got some for the 5 of us. Pretty soon, in Spanish fashion lots of people were sneaking chairs out. It was almost a funny social experiment.
Before the real group began, one of the local clubs came around with their drum core and threw confetti and streamers. Then sang a club song. Then the real group began but another club came in and were drunk and kept singing and blowing a squeeky horn. The official band was louder, so it was still fun.
One it was over so we went and got churros from a stand they had set up frying them fresh. Little kids are lighting off M80s right next to us and loud stuff that Dar said isn't legal in the US. We decided this wasn't safe, so we walked down to the real fireworks area...fireworks again yes, third or fourth time this year.
We sat on the roundabout; there must have been 100 of us sitting on the median. Tons of people were gathered, kids were jumping over us and knocking into us wrestling. The fireworks started a half hour late 10:30. It was set to music which was very cool. Once again we were so close that chunks of the fireworks were raining down on us. I plucked a chunk the size of the tip of my thumb out of my hair. (Not burning thankfully.) This was a huge orchestrated show. You felt like you were inside the fireworks and the music. I noticed a piece that fell that stayed firey all the way down to the ground, off kind a behind us and had the thought that in a dry country with a 40 year drought I'm surprised they do so many fireworks.
A few minutes later a bunch of kids all get freaked out and are pointing behind us away from the fireworks. A small brush fire had started on the hill from the fireworks. The firetruck drives through our roundabout (without lights or sirens) the fireworks keep going... you don't know what to watch the fire or the fireworks. A heavy metal song came on in English for the fireworks...I want it all, I want it all, I want it now...it felt like a rock concert. Loud people, loud music, people everywhere. Then there's the fire behind us (not near, but up on a hill) with firemen going up to it. It was spreading quickly, but they had it out by the time we walked to the car and drove out. The fireworks were so large and so close that you felt like you needed to duck during the finale. Tiffany said she felt like she was on a tv show that it couldn't be her real life. Cooper pointed out that we had fireworks (fuegos artificiales) and we had real fire (fuego real). It was odd and funny. Home by midnight.
Went to a dancing horses show another night. Cooper and Dar stayed home and played video games while three of us girls watched the show. It turned out to be dancing Spanish horses couched in the form of a legend being acted out. Sword fights, jousting, fire, smoke, loud music ranging from rock to classical. The horses were cool. The show was long and it was getting cold at 11:30pm. Still glad I went.
Friday night at 6 there was a running of the bulls. Granted it was less than 3 blocks and there were only 3 bulls, each released one at a time. Kerry and our co-worker Tiffany decided to run...before we knew there were only 3 bulls one at a time. I was trying to record on the video camera. It was a hoot. Can I just say the bulls are really, really fast? Mostly people don't run they mill around then climb the fences, in a frenzy, which is what Dar & Tiff did too. I think I was jumping away from the fence with all the commotion, maybe with more enthusiasm than Dar, and I was on the outside. Very funny.
Then everyone went to the bull ring, so we followed. Anyone who wanted to could go in the ring and they released one bull at a time and it chased people til it tired out then they'd corral it out again and let another one out. The same 3 bulls. This would never fly in the US, too dangerous and random. This was not a real bullfight with matadors etc. and they didn't kill them. Very interesting, but I felt sorry for the bulls. They seemed confused and disoriented. It was noisy and people tormenting them and then running behind walls so they'd hit their heads. Glad it wasn't a bull fight.
Saturday we went to an bull-dodging demonstration. They dodged the horns - very close calls. A couple guys did flips over the bulls. They picked the bulls and they were bleeding a little from their shoulders, not too much. I know I eat meat...but I still find the tormenting type of killing disturbing. They did not kill them they just jumped around them. As a team they were very skilled at maneuvering the bulls to the right place in the ring for what they wanted to do. It seemed like the guys could dodge them better if the bulls were running faster. The bulls did not seem as tormented this time though they were bleeding this time. Maybe Dar will blog about this, we got some photos, nothing great but interesting.
I feel like I keep taking a deeper drink of Spanish or at least Madrileno culture. Sometimes it is overwhelming in a pleasant way, like a roller coaster or something but more like slow motion. There's just so much to tell you guys about lately! I never even got to the bat in our bedroom!