Thursday, July 22, 2010

It's Party Time - Festa Major

Tonight marks the start of the annual Festa Major here in our sleepy little village.  For the next 10 days the usual tranquillity of a small town plonked in the middle of a rice growing area, will come alive with the sounds and smells of the annual fiesta to mark our village's patron saint Sant Juame.

The village is gaudily decorated with tassels and tinsel. Senyeras big and small flapping their yellow and red stripes in the ever present wind. A bull ring has been erected, a haphazard affair that would probably send any British Health & Safety Inspector into a stress induced stupor.  Huge wooden blockades are poised, ready to pave the way for the bull run through the village streets, a daily spectical of ever-decreasing sized bulls charging around the place, with testosterone-fuelled idiots young men wisely keeping a half street's length away whilst feigning bravado. Hardly rivalling Pamplona but jolly good fun to watch.

Perimeter of the almost completed bull ring.

On the down side, sleep will become a distant memory for us as the local school playground, just a mere 200 metres from our apartment, has been lovingly converted into two outdoor venues for all the week's bands to play in and wait for it.... a Techno-Rave.  The Techno-Rave is of course, a huge draw to all the young people from the surrounding towns and villages, and I am particularly looking forward to having 120 decibels of the worst of Europe's music pumped into my bedroom from 1am to 8am.  The rest of the fiesta's entertainment will consist of club acts belting out slightly off-key renditions of songs I've never heard.  Think Peter Kay's Phoenix Nights but in Catalan. On occasion I will be treated to a passable cover version of a Guns & Roses number, or if I am really lucky, something from Bryan Adams' back catalogue will waft over my insomnia as I look at the neon numbers on the clock revealing that it's only 4am, and realise that there will be at least another hour of this shite to endure. Through clenched teeth I will no doubt ponder over why dear God, did we not chose this week to visit the folks back home.

It's not all bad though of course, musical entertainment aside there are plenty of things going off in the village.  A large outdoor bar has suddenly sprung up on some wasteland opposite the Bull Ring and there are lots of stalls and fairground rides, all eager to help me part with my hard earned Euros.  A child's version of Tomatina will be held where the village youngster will blast each other with not really that ripe tomatoes.  Great fun unless like Joseph last year, you get one square in your face.  The whole village will be buzzing with activity and there will be a general feelgood factor that you can't help but get drawn into.  I'll post more pictures as the week goes on and hopefully some film footage of the bull running.