February 19, 2012

"Let's Have a Carnival" (Avila)


We are en carnaval here in Avila!

Carnivals are an age-old Spanish tradition which basically embody the sentiment "We haven't had a legitimate holiday to celebrate in a couple of weeks. Let's throw a carnival!" In this case, we find ourselves in the dull slump between Christmas and Easter. The Spaniards won't have any of it. They declare a carnival, dress up in ridiculous costumes, dance in the streets, eat fried food, and stay up all night drinking. We excused ourselves for that bit . . .


The costumes were all so creative. Children and adults alike were completely decked out. Some in very authentic-looking store-bought ensembles, and others in adorably resourceful homemade outfits.

I have to admit, when I heard that there was going to be a parade, I didn't realize that everyone--regardless of whether or not they were in the parade--would be dressed up. I wish I had taken another peek at this post and fit right in!

Speaking of not fitting in, I was dancing all by myself in the plaza to music that was blaring so loudly that I simply do not understand why no one else would dance!

The music was so interesting. The traditional Spanish tracks they played at first sounded like a cross between and African war dance and a Celtic wedding march. It was so invigorating. Then they proceeded to play heavy bass American dance anthems whose lyrics were to trashy to be popular in the US. This is the part where I started to dance. I couldn't justify listening to songs like "I Got a Hangover" without convincing myself that I only liked it for the beat.

An "Occupy Europe" group. No kidding. They had Guy Fawkes masks and everything.

Nothing sells touristy crap like a horse head

This man was dancing with his granddaughter onstage. She got so confused when she saw that everyone was watching her!

After the parade, everyone crammed into an area that is called the Mercado Chico ("little market"). As you may guess, "little" signifies that it is probably not meant for hundreds of rowdy party-goers of all ages. I really get the impression that the Spanish like to be crowded. It makes everything seem more festive--like more of a community. As an extrovert who draws most of her energy just by occupying the same space as other human beings, I definitely understand.

Even though it had been sunny and warm for most of the day, as night fell, we again felt the nip of Avila's winter. Josh, Kristen, Ariana and I slipped into a cafe to warm up and then retreated back to our respective apartments to be lulled asleep by the songs of drunken teenagers.

Hopefully the local Easter festivities are a little more organized ;-)

Darn kids dressed as LMFAO wouldn't stop moving . . .

This guy's hair was visible from everywhere . . . I think this pic is hilarious!

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