I am running away to Central America.
I am planning my summer of 2011. I intend to spend most of May, June, and July months traveling and volunteering in Costa Rica, Nicaragua, and Mexico (where I will also do a Yoga Teacher Training Course), before seeing my family and friends in California and Oregon, then moving to Chicago.
Less than 4 months to go!
WHAT ACTUALLY HAPPENED (BEST VACATION EVER)
8:30-9:00 Drop by work because somehow my parked car rolled out into the middle of the lawn, tow company was called. Parking breaks now ON, car LOCKED.
9:15-10:00 At the Rota bus station, breakfast of toast, tomato, and coffee. I take a bite with the ham included, NASTY, spit it back out.
10:00-11:15 Bus from Rota to Sevilla, took a nap
11:30-13:30 Lost right outside the Sevilla bus station, trying to find the other bus to take to the airport. Walk into a metro station with a photo exhibit on display. Batteries recharged. Find a couple of local girls who also don’t know the bus station to the airport. We find it finally.
13:30-14:30 Arrive at the SVQ airport, all smooth, no problems.
14:30-18:30 Sevilla to Bilbao, Vueling Airlines
19:30-20:15 Bilbao to San Sebastian by bus, meet up with Elizabeth and Enrique
20:18-20:30 Walk into one of the only bars in San Sebastian that has the world cup game on. Small crowd, not very spirited
20:30-22:00 World Cup semifinals: Spain vs Germany, the air is tense, then GOAL! OLE! OLE, OLE, OLE, OLE! The three of us are the only ones jumping up and down. Elizabeth and I decide that we now must change our return flights since it is right during the world cup finals. We also decide to add Madrid to the end of the trip and hit up the biggest party in the world once Spain wins.
22:00-00:00 We meet some locals, one girl writes down the best pintxo bars to hit up. We follow suit.
00:00-05:00 We drop off Enrique at the pension, he’s too tired to party. Elizabeth and I go to a bar/discoteca that a local recommended, called BeBop. We dance the night away, meet some really cool French people, I dance extensively with a really cute girl, ma dame de la nuit. I take my shirt off and keep dancing. I go to the bathroom after a while and the bouncer tries to escort me out. I argue my friend is inside, but he says I can’t go back in. While he’s busy with someone else and not looking, I crouch low and run back in, bumping into drinks and finally making my way back to the end of the bar with Elizabeth. The bar is closing. We stick around with some Australians and we decide our next stop to be the beach for some night swimming. The Australians get gropey, we head home instead, but first, a run through the sprinklers.
11:30-13:30 We are forced to check out of the pension, since we only reserved one night. We go to Plaza Mayor for calamares, pulpo, toast, orange juice, and coffee. I go out and hunt for a new shelter for the afternoon.
13:30-14:00 Check in at the new pension, but Elizabeth and Enrique are having an altercation. Enrique decides he’s going back to Pamplona to meet up with his friends instead. The mood is dark. I leave them alone to work their stuff out.
14:00-14:30 Walking around the town with my Hasselblad, I am quickly reminded how absolutely beautiful this town is. The streets are fairly clean, the people friendly, and despite the cloudy weather, the city still glows. I walk onto the pier
14:30-14:45 I see a blue boat pulling in, some Australians onboard, watch people get on. “Is this some kind of tour, or something?” I ask. “Yeah, man, jump on board!” the guy says. I do.
14:45-14:50 Elizabeth calls.
Elizabeth: Hey dude, sorry about that.
Me: No, it’s cool, you know, whatever.
Elizabeth: Well, Enrique and I made up, and we decided we’re novios now!
Me: Oh, awesome! That’s good to hear. So he’s staying then.
Elizabeth: Yeah, what are you up to?
Me: I’m on a boat.
Me: Yeah, I’m on a boat…
15:00-19:30 A full day onboard the boat. I get to know Jim, the 26-year old captain. Decide to interview the crew for my Real People Project. Get off by dinghy to the island. Walk around the island with Jim, and we find baby seagulls, which are, apparently, not often seen. He is surprised by the “large” size of the seagulls here, I tell him the seagulls in the states are like, ten times as big, and he doesn’t believe me. The US seagulls poop out Spanish seagulls, that’s how big they are. After the island, Jim lets me steer the ship back towards the pier! Not only am I sailing on a motherfucking boat, I get to drive it too! Everyone else disembarks, I stay onboard with the crew, and they take me on a tour of the spaces. I jump into the water expecting it to be cold, but it was actually quite temperate and refreshing. I decide that Donostia-San Sebastian is now my new favorite city in the world.
19:30-21:00 Back on dry land, meet up with Elizabeth and Enrique. We decide to climb up the hill to see the castle with the Jesus statue with an antenna on his back. Take pictures, enjoy the view, go back down the hill, find a small bar playing an older Mala Rodriguez album, and other cool jams.
21:00-23:30 Continue walking through town, following the pierside of La Concha, the San Sebastian beach shaped like a seashell. We find a nice outdoor bar, have some calamares that are not that good, obviously freeze-dried and refried. We go back into town and tuck into a dingy bar that Elizabeth chooses. She always chooses the dingiest dirtiest hole-in-the-wall pubs. But that’s part of why we’re friends. We continue to head back to old town, near our pension, back to our favorite pintxo bar from the previous night. Walk around some more, end up at another bar, meet some Australians we are sure are gay, but they aparrently are “All straight.” We meet a Moroccan guy who says he can’t speak Spanish or English, but he actually speaks quite fine.
23:30-00:00 Find our way back to BeBop, the party continues.
00:00-05:00 Party Party Party. I keep my shirt on this time. Beer gets poured on Elizabeth’s head. We take the Moroccan guy back to our pension, since we have an extra bed. We have to go quietly into our room, which you have to access by going through another room, like, literally, another bedroom. The two guys in the room we have to go through are asleep. Good. Then, we sleep.
10:15-11:10 We are awoken by a banging on the door. One of the owner walks in, sees the Moroccan, points and says we owe him 35EUR. Are we past check-out time? No. In a tizzy, we all get our stuff ready. Elizabeth takes a shower to wash off all that beer in her hair. She can’t shut off the shower. Enrique takes his turn. Then Ahmed, the Moroccan. Then, me. I leave the shower running while I do my business, brush my teeth, notice it sprinkling a little, the shower curtains don’t wrap all the way around. I jump in the shower, I hear banging on the door. BANG!BANG!BANG! “Marcelo!!! Marcelo!!!” I’m pretty sure the water is flooding out the door. This goes on for like, 3 minutes, while I shower. Finally I open the door, and the landlord is yelling at me with a mop in his hand. He asks me how did this happen. I shrug. Elizabeth tells me that Ahmed lost his shoes, they’re nowhere to be found. (Also, while I was in the shower, apparently, Ahmed very noncholantly pointed to the water flooding out the door, like, “Huh, look,” before the landlord saw it and asked “What is he doing, is he 3 years old?” then the door banging commenced)
11:10-13:00 We make it out of Pension Ira-Flor alive, and possibly blacklisted forever. Ahmed is walking around in Elizabeth’s flip flops. We find a place serving breakfast. I order egg and toast, with the middle of the top toast poked out so you can see the yolk. Eggs for breakfast is something you don’t find in Southern Spain, so this is quite a treat. Elizabeth decides to buy Ahmed some flip flops. He wants the 12 EUR leather ones. Elizabeth buys him baby blue rubber ones instead for 2 EUR. He says, “Pero estos son para mujeres?” WTF. A room to sleep, breakfast and coffee, and new feet protection, and you complain they’re for girls? We have to pry Elizabeth’s flip flops off his feet. God, this is like one of those one night stands that seemed like a good idea at the time until the next morning when they want to cuddle with you while all you wanna do is be alone and take a shower, but you’re too nice, and so you make coffee, and they say it tastes like dirt. WTF, get out of my house.
13:15-15:00 We take a taxi to the bus station. Enrique buys his ticket to Pamplona to meet up with friends for San Fermines (Running of the Bulls). Elizabeth and I buy our tickets to Bilbao. With time to kill, we head over to a park I walk past the other day, when I arrived to San Sebastian. We’re all tired out. “We should take a nap,” Elizabeth says. “No, we should do yoga,” I say. We do some sun salutations followed by a bunch of free flow/tae-chi/martial-arts/dance fusion stuff. Enrique tries to follow along with the sun salutations, then gives up, opting instead to do some bicep curls with Elizabeth’s (quite heavy!) luggage, and do pushups. “Que fuerte! Cuantos hiciste?” asked Elizabeth. “Diez.” I climb a tree like a monkey. Then I climb another one all the way to the top and hold still while the wind blows and bends me back and forth. Elizabeth and I go up a playground structure and down the gigantic metal tube slides and then the swings and then the bouncy-balance thing. We get lunch to go. I’m starving mad, or madly starving.
15:00-16:30 Board bus to Bilbao. Look through photos and laugh about the vacation so far. Best vacation ever, with the photos to prove it.
16:30-18:30 Arrive in Bilbao, I leaf through a Spanish guidebook to Pais Vasco (Basque Country, Northern Spain) for a recommended pension/hotel/hostel. I call one…
Me: Hola, buenas tardes, tiene un habitacion disponible hoy?
Her: Para cuantas personas?
Me: Somos dos, para dos noches.
Her: Pues, ahora no tengo, pero tienes un coche?
Me: No, caminamos, no tenemos un coche, pero porque?
Her: Es que tengo un garaje.
Me: Ah, pues es como un habitacion, que tiene camas, o…
Her: No, es un garaje.
Me: Un garaje, garaje?
Her: Bueno, si tu me llamas despues de las siete, tal vez que tenemos cancelaciones.
Me: Bueno, bueno, si, muchas gracias.
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10:00-12:30 Rota to Sevilla by bus
14:30-18:30 Sevilla to Bilbao, Vueling Airlines
19:30-20:30 Bilbao to San Sebastian by bus, meet up with Elizabeth
San Sebastian to Bilbao by bus
21:55-23:10 Bilbao to Sevilla, Vueling Airlines
23:45 or later: Sevilla to Rota by car, with Elizabeth
- take photos of pintxos
- stuff myself full of pintxos
- take notes on best places and things to blog about
- drink some sidra
- see the Guggenheim again
- go dancing
- books: The God Delusion by Richard Dawkins, El Principito by St. Exupery
- 2 tank tops, 2 casual shirts
- 2 pairs of shorts, 1 pair of jeans
- hippie pants (aka “poopy pants”)
- swim trunks
- phone charger
- Photo gear:
* Polaroid SX-70 (plus 3 packs of film - 600, SX-70, PX-100)
* Hasselblad 301C (plus 50mm lens, plus at least 6 rolls of 120 film)
* Light meter
- an empty stomach
- a wad of cash
- baby wipes
- a sense of spontenaiety
Fiesta de San Juan
June 23, 2010
Deriving from the Pagan ritual of celebrating the Summer Solstice, or the beginning of the summer, this Spanish Festival is one of the biggest parties of the year.
I hosted a pre-midnight party, complete with great food, loud music, and cool friends, hanging out in my downtown pad.
For the festival, the townspeople erect a gigantic bonfire, and burn some kind of papier-mache model (last year, it was Neptune) at the strike of midnight. This year, the Rota town council was low on funds (“Estamos en crisis!”), so they did not light a ceremonial bonfire on the beach as they have in the years past. Instead they had a few smaller fires set all over the town, I’m guessing in a manner similar to Las Fallas in Valencia, but on a much smaller scale.
Also, there is a wishing tradition that my guests and I partook. You take 3 pieces of paper, and write down three wishes. At midnight, you throw the wishes into the fire, and make your way to the beach. You get in and let 3 waves wash over - one for each wish. Then, you either jump into the water altogether, or get out. They say that at least one of those wishes will come true. A coworker recounted the year when she and all her friends would altogether wish for one of their friends (who has been unsuccessful in the previous years) to finally bear a child. And that year it came true! Only months later, the said friend was pregnant!
After the fire burning, the town engages in a wild party all through the night. People are also allowed to sleep and set up tents on the beach that night. My apartment being right in front of the city beach, it was difficult to sleep and get up the next morning. And that morning, you should have seen the beach, what a mess it was! Cups and beer bottles, and all kinds of crap all over the sand.
The Spanish sure know how to party.
Polaroids taken this past Saturday, 19 June. I went with Arturo and Courtney to El Palmar, where we rented some surfboards and jumped into the waves. Afterwards, we had dinner and drinks in Conil, the next town over.
12 June, 2010
Playa de la Costilla, Rota, Spain
the inauguration ceremony for the official beginning of beach season!