Sunday, May 30, 2010

The Night I Stayed Up Until 7 am with Spaniards

I'll admit it, in the US, I really don't go out that much. Yeah, I like to have a good time as much as the next person, but if I'm not in the mood, I'm not going to force it. Case in point, my friends sometimes refer to me as the "G-ma." I'm sure this will change next year when I (finally) turn 21 (mark August 20th in your calendars if you have not yet done so!), but for now that's what it is. All this being said, however, one of the things I've wanted to do since coming here was to have at least one authentic Night Out: Spanish Style.

Only one night? This may seem like a small feat, but just wait a minute my friends, for it is not. This is, roughly, how a typical NOSS goes down:

9-10 pm: dinner time
10-11 pm: get ready to go out
11 am-2 pm: Botellon (drink in the streets) or go to a bar and have some cervezas, mojitas, whatever your heart desires
2-5/6 am: go to a discoteca and dance your little culo off
6 am: get churros con chocolate
whenever you're done eating the deliciousness (roughly 6:30/7am): go to bed

As you can see, a NOSS is very different from an NOAS (Night Out: American Style). Thus, it could not be a weekly occurrence for me, considering that the day after a NOSS is spent being a lazy piece of caca and a general waste of space.

Two Fridays ago, I had the opportunity to experience a NOSS with my spanish friend Clara, who I met through my Conservation class at the university. Clara had invited me to come to her pueblo (town) of Osuna for its Feria, which I had heard was a lot different from Sevilla's Feria. We started out the day with a class field trip to un Centro de Defensa Forestal (Forest Defense Center) and el Parque Natural Los Alcornocales (Cork Tree Natural Park). The salida del campo was part of the course curriculum, and something I had been looking forward to doing since I enrolled in the class. Andalucía (the southern autonomous community of Spain) actually has an extensive network of protected natural spaces, as well as a comprehensive forest-fire response team. The trip, and the class itself, taught me a lot about how Spain views nature, biodiversity, and the value of protecting the environment. It's a very different approach, but something that I'm glad I was able to experience. Here are some photos of the trip:

[Because of its geographic features, Andalucía is a hot-spot for energía eólica (wind energy), especially in the province of Cádiz, where the Centro de Defensa Forestal is located. This is the hill behind the center.]

[Some of my classmates hiking up to our lunch spot.]

[Antonio, the head of the Geography Department at the university. Besides teaching us about the Park and its processes, he also smoked about 18 cigarettes during the day.]

[The mountain we WERE going to climb, until the authorities stopped us. Apparently Antonio didn't ask for permission, because they had told him the year before that he didn't need to ask. Such is the Spanish way, no pasa nada.]

After the field trip, Clara and I met up with her mother (who is taking psychology classes at the university as well) and drove to their town, Osuna. Osuna is about an hour east of Sevilla by car, and the next biggest city in the province with 17,000 people. Here's how it went down in Osuna:

9:15 pm - Arrive in Osuna, meet Clara's dad, shower and get ready to go to Feria

10:30 pm - Meet Sergio (Clara's boyfriend) and get a tour of Osuna at night

10:50 pm - Dinner, consisting of hamburgers from Clara's favorite hamburger stand in all of Feria. (Yes Will I ate meat, and no Jamie I did not really enjoy it.)

11:15 pm - 5:30 am - Drink, dance and be merry. I had been nervous before coming, because although Clara and I were friends, I wasn't sure if I would be a nuisance for her during Feria. I really had no reason to worry, however, because Clara and all of her friends and family were so great to me. They made sure to include me in conversation, share their rebujitos with me, and make fun of me just like everyone else. A lot of them were surprised by how much I could follow along, especially Juan Carlos. He was saying goodbye to Clara and Sergio, and told them to "¡Qué hagáis buen amor esta noche!" (Make some good love tonight). Without thinking, I hit him on the arm for his inappropriate comment, realized what I had done, and then said "¡Lo siento!" (sorry) He was so surprised and said "You understood that!" and then laughed for about 10 minutes.

[Clara and I with our sweet wine and barcitos dulces. Delicious, delicious, delicious.]

5:30 am - Go the bumper cars! It was Diego and me versus Clara and Sergio, and I must say, Diego and I dominated.

[At this point I was thinking "It's 5:30 am and I'm about to ride bumper cars. Is this real life?"]

6:15 am - Go back to the hamburger stand for a little breakfast. This time, however, I ordered a baguette de tortilla (kind of like an omelette sandwich).

7:00 am - In bed.

12:00 pm the next day - Wake up and get ready for Feria during the daytime! That's one thing that's different about Feria in Osuna, no one wears Flamenco dresses during the night, only during the day. Clara was so nice and let me borrow one of her dresses.

[Clara y yo en su garaje.]

[Me, Ángela, and Juan Carlos.]

7:00 pm - Corrida de Toro (Bull Fight). Yes, I did go to a Bull Fight in Spain, after much internal debate. It was a very interesting experience to say the least, and I'm not quite sure if I have sorted out all of my feelings about it yet. I will say that is is more dangerous than I had expected; three times during the bull fight the matador was actually hit by the bull. I screamed every time.

10:50 pm - Adios a Osuna and back to Sevilla on the train.

Besides being able to cross NOSS and a bull fight off of my "Things to do before I leave Spain" list, my trip to Osuna was great because it felt like a normal weekend out with friends. Before coming to Sevilla, I had expected to make a lot of Spanish friends, but quickly realized it is a lot harder to do than one might think. Apart from the obvious language barrier, most of my friends from school live in towns outside of Sevilla, meaning that I can only see them two days a week in class. This particular weekend, however, Clara and I did things that my friends and I do. She straightened my hair, and I braided hers. We made fun of awkward dancers and belted out "La Loba" to each other. We talked about our favorite parts of the night while we laid in bed in the morning and wished we had slept for longer.

Just writing about it now makes me smile. It was definitely one of my favorite experiences thus far.

1 comment:

Anna said...

wuss. argentina would eat you. also i love you.