Last weekend! Two: May Day on Friday and the festival of the cross on Sunday (El Día de la Cruz). The first sounds like a booze up but it’s not really. A non violent march of workers and their families from the sound of it. Unlike other European countries in which the May Day march tends to get violent. Anyhow, I didn’t go, I haven’t walked further than about 5km for weeks so it was a school-free walking day for me. I walked to Monachil and may post some photos of this later.
Everyone came to Granada from all over Spain for this long weekend. Not everyone and their dog, just everyone. Honestly, you should see the dogs here – so many little rats in a dog suit that it’s hard not to laugh at times. And many are badly trained – perhaps totally untrained is more accurate. Left outside a shop many howl and howl. And many snap or bark at others than do at home on the beach. I’ve previously mentioned the amount of dog shit in the streets in most places bar the very central area where I live. Here’s a notice reminding people to pick up their dog’s shit. You guessed, a very big heap was very near this sign. No, you didn’t need a photo of that to guess! Did you?
And then there was the dog up on the balcony on floor 1: he was standing up against the rails watching the kids down below him. I was just about I take his photo, he got down, turned, peed over the edge of the balcony, and went inside. So, no photo and 2 little kids who just missed a small golden shower.
And the strangest dog I’ve seen so far. Yes,there is a dog in there.
Back to the fiesta
The weekend started with the Friday holiday with everything shut but restaurants and cafes continued, with few pauses, until midnight Sunday. Seems like a long time? Yes, it was. Music nearly continuously and action. Action +++
Hard to describe the fiesta. Let me show you a series of shots and I’ll outline what I saw. Most of the visitors, by the way, seemed to be Spanish.
And then there were the crosses in the streets and plazas, big and small, around the town; a total of 80 are in the competition.
Same with the shot above but decorations have started. This was taken much later in the day. Note he number of people there.
The photo above shows the cross in the big town hall square, also just near me. Look at the items in front of the cross. It’s not just the flower (carnation) covered cross, it’s the household items etc that are integral and speak a little of the start of the decoration of crosses in different areas in Granada. The initial process was obviously a much simpler worship-based fiesta that has transmogrified into a formulaic version that is still great.
For example a different approach, including the same items, is evident in the decoration of another large cross, in a different neighbourhood.
An important part of the fiesta is the dressing up. Mostly it is young girls, a few older and middle aged women. A very few gorgeous young girls, especially younger mothers with their kids. Few men dress up, mainly it’s the boys under 6 who keep up the male front. Some in my class told me they saw a few men dressed up but i saw just the one. And he looked good but it’s a much simpler costume.
I love the formal Andalusian dress. This family looked so good. See the red lipstick the little girl is wearing. Mum was very gracious when I asked if they wouldn’t mind. Little boy was one of the few boys in Andalucian dress.
I loved these two. Don’t they look so gorgeous.
Looking down onto the street below my apartment. This was a much more ruffled dress than most.
A family group with their young daughters.
Music, dancing in the streets and people everywhere. Remember I live in the central area and can see the town hall and look over a major entrance to another big plaza.
Wow. I love the music and the style of dancing. Some very bad night time photos follow:
And some of the action in the side street near me.
Living through a fiesta
Yes, things were different during the weekend: a subtle smell of dope wafted into my room at one stage from somewhere nearby or below, a used condom was on floor in the corner of the lift and even more people than usual were walking happily and calmly just around the streets in this area. Note, not quietly!
Things aren’t quiet in Spain. At 10.16pm a consistent buzz pervaded my apartment, interrupted by another screaming kid downstairs, the noise from the drinkers in the tavern below and the partying neighbours on my floor with a sound system that audibly lives next to their TV, immediately through our shared wall, just near my pillow.
The noise outside almost stopped by 1.30am but the boys continued loudly chatting for hours after. Yes Monica, there is a 4am still on a Saturday morning. There is also a 4am on Sunday morning. Two facts I would have liked to have continued to have forgotten. 😃 The very loud music with very high levels of bass tended to finish at 1 or 2 but, their loud boy-joking and braggadio dragged on for hours later. Sigh.
So, life in close living has its penalties. Bose noise cancelling earphones and Chopin, or Mozart, helped on one night but by the next I was over that strategy. Imagine how hard it is when you don’t know how to go and say ‘turn it down before I become a witch or a werewolf and change you into something worse than you are’.
Ironically the neighbours were quiet Sunday and Monday, as the parents were back, and last night Real Madrid played someone and yes, the family shared the game with me. The much beloved soaps of Spanish TV were delayed until after the game – they finished about 11.30 or 12 and I must have gone to sleep sometime after 2 or 3 but it didn’t feel like it. I had to buy a trashy novel in the middle of the night to manage to endure noise, one of the items on my list of DONTs. I just don’t do such late nights and come up smiling. No, truly…. I wasn’t looking forward to school today but, life surprised me and it was one of my best days yet.
Birds, chips and chocolate
While I started compiling this blog I was at a bar by the river fighting with little birds who scored first on my chips. Yes, one stole one off my plate before I knew the birds might be so clever. So I tithed, thinking that would do. No. So I hastily finished what remained before they did. So my life is easier now I’m not competing with little birds for non nutritious chips.
And now I’m sitting in front of an empty chocolate cup – need better internet than I can get in the apartment so, chocolate it was and I nursed it as long as I could.