Saturday, February 6, 2010

Los Planetas y Nacho Vegas

So many great days and nights in Spain!

We have had three days straight with great weather. A light breeze in the streets, so a bit chilly, but nice and hot in the sunshine. It gets pretty cold at night, but still really nice. 

Thursday night was the first night that all the Spanish students we live with were done with their exams. They took us to a botéllon, which is pretty much a party in the park. Everyone is very nice and patient with our Spanish. All the students here love the idea of Miami and New York. We keep telling them that Valencia is where they need to be! Then, when bars normally close in Athens and people start calling it a night, we all took a taxi to La Indiana. The nightis just getting started at 3 o'clock. An unfortunate cultural difference for those with class at 9 am the next day. I suppose the word "Indiana" has an exotic connotation, just like Cafeteria Nebraska. Weird! La Indiana is a huge night club. Different DJs on every floor, video projections on the wall, dancing and dancing. This was my first experience with this type of night life. I enjoyed myself, but definitely prefer the less extreme options Valencia offers. 

My presentation in class went very well on Friday, and we all napped most of Friday afternoon. Friends invited Ashley and I out for a concert and we met up around 7:15 that night. We, as usual, had no idea what to expect. It turned out to be a HUGE outdoor concert of two of the most popular indie-rock bands in Spain. The concert was free and the crowd was singing along to every word of every song. The two band were Nacho Vegas and Los Planetas, both of which I enjoyed immensely. Nacho Vegas featured an accordion. The large outdoor venue was right on the Mediterranean and we could see the masts of sail boats lining the dock outside of the venue. The sea breeze came into the large tent, a real treat for tall people! Ashley and I were about 50 feet back from the stage, but it felt like we were in the front row because everyone is much shorter here. We got some dinner and hung out afterwards. Two of the guys we were with play guitar, and it was passed between them repeatedly. The songs they pulled out to play were of such a strange and interesting selection. They are French, but live in Spain, but listen to tons of American music. They would play a Radiohead song, then strange 90s songs I hadn't heard in years, then Nirvana, then Led Zeppelin, then Tracy Chapman. Then French songs, then flamenco, then Spanish pop songs, then Oasis. It was so ridiculous! They would speak in French to each other, Ashley and I would speak English to each other, and we would all speak Spanish together! It was a challenge and a pleasure trying to keep up with it all! The best part-- I got some jokes in Spanish. I even made a joke! Leaps and bounds! It's such an advantage to have new local friends. Especially ones who speak Spanish fluently, but as a second language because they speak more slowly. 

Today was incredible. Valencia is one of the oldest cities in Europe and we live in the ancient part of town. Part of the city has a massive complex of architecturally mind-blowing modern buildings, all designed by Calatrava. We went from medieval fortresses to the Jetson's in a forty minute walk. About six or seven huge sculptural buildings are surrounded by tile walkways and shallow blue pools. The lines of the building mimic nature, slow moving white beams at crazy angles, like coral. The aquarium was great: penguinos, morsas, y leónes marinos. Belugas and birds! A dolphin show! Then to the science museum! We laid out by the pool, watching the people. 

Four of us started walking home and stopped into a crowded bar where about 30 people were watching the Valencia soccer game on TV. Screams and moans from the bar-folk at every kick of the ball! Songs and swaying. Curses and praises. We stayed a long time, and cheered along. 

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