I promised a little more about our local fiesta and I think these pics tell the story of how the old, young, fat, thin and differently-abled (please let me get that pc bit right) – all have a part to play.

I would never say that Spain is behind the times, but I found it so refreshing to see youngsters without cell phones glued to their ears. OK, so we are out in a rural area but the public phone boxes actually work! I’ve yet to see anyone drunk and I can walk the streets without fear, even after dark.

We have noticed a slight scaling down in the fiestas I guess due to the recession, there are still a lot of young people unemployed here. Many have taken off for America – that’s South America, not north, as the language in most countries is Spanish.

The different sets of costumes represent the different filas. You can join one of these and I’ve heard that it’s more popular to be a Moor than a Christian as the costumes are more colourful. Throughout the year the filas raise money through all kinds of activities and some of this goes towards hiring the costumes and paying for the bands which march with them in the parade. There is at least one rental company which provides the elaborate clothing just for the Moors and Christian festivals up and down the coast. They even send a fitter along for the night.

The funniest thing I saw was fierce fight between a Moor and a Christian outside a temporary mock castle in a nearby town, the clash of steel told us these were real swords and they looked very sharp. One called a halt and shouted something in Spanish whereby the other dived into his pocket and produced a lighter with which he lit his opponent’s cigarette. After saying thank you they continued their ‘fight to the death’.

As most Spanish activities do, the final night ends off with a spectacular firework display – and while I have my fingers in my ears, cowering and wincing with every bang, the local pets and babes in arms are not the slightest bit bothered. I provide them with more entertainment than the pretty lights, as they wonder why an elderly grown up is scrunching her face and hopping up and down to some tune only she can hear.

Is it any wonder I love living in Spain? The next town’s fiesta starts this coming Friday and then the next one is …

Of course there are other reasons for a fiesta/party. Every street has a saint so that day must be celebrated, along with the saint for the town, the province and the country.

Then we have some weird ones, like the human tower building, the ripe tomato throwing, the leaping over babies and I’ve heard of the chicken throwing too – only these days to be kinder they don’t use live chickens anymore, but frozen ones from the local supermarket – bet that hurts as the young bucks try to attract the attention of his chosen young lady. If he is a good shot, I guess he could knock her out completely and cause extensive brain damage.

And of course you will probably have heard of the Pamploma bull running where men run away from bulls deliberately let out of their pens. In most countries people take care to keep their animals incarcerated in safety but not here, they deliberately set them free. But it might surprise you to know that this takes place in lots of other towns too. Pamploma only became famous because it was described by Ernest Hemingway.

If you have a spare moment (only two more days to grovel as voting closes at the end of the month) I’d love it if you could vote for Amie an African Adventure in the ReadFree.ly Best Indie Books of 2016 – other category – this is the link – and you can vote 3 times.   http://www.readfree.ly/vote-50-self-published-books-worth-reading-2016-other/


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