Huelva, the back streets

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Me gusta Semana Santa, me gustas tu. . .


Although Easter fever has long ago subdued, the memory of the Spanish catholic way of celebrating it, is still fresh in our memories: incense, crowds of people, window displays of The Virgen and fresh flowers in every shop; red banners flowing lazily from balconies in the City Center, women traditionally dressed in black and lace, the streets decked out with chairs (that can cost up to 200 euros for the week per person to save your cushion). And the little Clu Clax men! Dressed in shades of purple, blue, white, black, green and red - depending on which church the dressed belongs to. Some historical trivia on this phenomenon: the reason for these dodgy attires have nothing to do with the rude American history, but is an all catholic tradition in presenting yourself during the Easter season: it creates an oppurtunity for equality amongst the churchgoers of long ago (where being religious did not get you into the popular group, but quite the opposite - dead). Apart form hiding their identities as well, the pointy hats make everyone appear the same lentgh. It also signifies a closer connection to God. Bare feet make it's appearance every so often too, to manifest humility and humbly try to attempt to experience some of the pain that Jesus went through. Instead of carrying swords, the paraders carry enormous wax candles or baskets of pungent incense. The order of events is thus (for lack of a better expression) the Clu Clax men, a mobile display of either Mary or Mary and crucified Jesus, some more Clu Clax men, a brass instrument orchestra, another display of Mary (soldiers sometimes also make their appearance in silver and gold). And yes, these structures are of solid gold and silver and therefore need about fifty pax to lift and carry them around at, well. . . very slowly. Usually, all this madness continues for one whole week, starting on a Sunday and ending on the Sunday to follow, the Thursday being the most important day. Yet another excuse for the Sevillanos to not work and spend their time crowding the streets. Although, those past the age of just being piss cats, do take Semana Santa (saint week) very seriously and sometimes men, caught up in a moment of passion and spontanaiety, serenade the parade coming by. A serenade like no other; one that leaves you with chattering teeth, goose bumps up to your nail cuticles and watery eyes, wanting more. You know you were just part of an inexplicable spiritual moment. Have a listen to this. . .
video

Everything for a Reason

Freshly back in the hood of orange blossoms and no-work mentality, our ears still suffering from bomb shock, we have to start being dilligent right away: the first exam is upon is. That means we have to start studying. A lot. Yup, it's not all la vida loca down in the south. Did we mention we are bearly able to speak Spanish yet?
Besides, on our way back from the Estacion de Sevilla to the street where we lived we got ripped off proper tourist style, having to pay 18 euros for a ride we paid 7 euros for the previous trip. So, who really wants to learn how to speak the language of such vile, old and polluted and disagreeable latin farts?

We do.
But, not because we want to - at this moment - but because we have to. We feverishly jump in, unwillingly, for the sirens of the city are calling and being cooped up in our Triana cage. . . not so much fun. Well, half of us end up jumping in feverishly. The other party ends up gallivanting with a certain latin stukkie.

Day of, silence looms over our heads like a gloomy haze. We sip our morning coffee in the quiet. Our walk to the school: silent. We enter the classroom and merely give our alma mater a nodd of the heads. The morning proceeds in utter seriousness; everyone trying to cram a few more verbs into their heads.

And then It is placed in front of us. And It doesn't look so bad. It actually turns out to be pretty do-able.
And you step outside and the rest of the people aren't wearing a fat smile like you are and you know: shit. It was actually an epic fail. You just seemed to some how be the one to miss out on that detail.

Ah well, we team up and all go and try to find the right answers in big glasses of Limoncello in our favourite little bar and profoundly discuss matters of the world in a language that we do know. We make a pit stop at our Triana palace for a budget meal of tuna pasta and a quick (2 hour) siesta. Back on the streets,we meet up with the gang for a stroll and stumble across a breathtaking shisha bar. It was like something from a Morrocan cult movie, set in the 1930's about the Spanish mafia hanging out and playing cards, where everyone talks in code and sips mata - if there where to be a movie like that, of course. Complete with sweet-smelling smoke dancing through the air, authentic lamps, hand carved, dark wooden tables and cushions that call each and everyone that walks through the door's individual name.
We end up with two human sized hookahs: one filled with aniseed liqueur and apple molasses; the other, good old water and orange flavour.

In an instant, our love affair with this place continues. Who could be so utterly vile to call them silly farts?