It's blurry, but you get the idea.
Well, I SHOULD be working on a presentation that I have to do tomorrow, but telling you about last night just sounds so much more appealing. I’m going to be throwing a lot of new names out here, so just go with it. I’ve hung out with some of these folks before but have never mentioned them. Shealyn (fellow American) and I attended Joseph’s (born of English parents living in Spain) birthday party yesterday at his house in Ciudad Expo, a smaller town outside of Sevilla that was built during the World’s Fair in 1992. To avoid the unnecessary task of describing everyone else at the party’s genealogy and family history individually, they were all Spanish, which if you’ve been reading you’ll know is something new and different for me. “No hanging out with Americans!” I told myself at the beginning, but then met some incredible people whose friendships I wouldn’t trade for anything, so I don’t regret it a bit. But this is something I plan to cover in a final reflective assessment blog at the end of the trip, so I’ll spare you for now.
So anyway, party with the Spaniards! Enrique met up with us at the metro stop and helped lead us to Joe’s place, which involved riding in a car for the first time since my parents came and we rented a car (not for the first time since I've been here, as I previously wrote). How strange! On the way there, in a move that confirms that 18-year-old boys are the same everywhere, a fellow party-goer tried to pull a slick move and ended up driving over a curb, killing his tire, which they had to change. Oops… We finally arrived at Joe’s place, and I pet my first dog since I’ve been here! Weird isn’t it, all the things you don’t even think about, the things you take for granted. But anyway, there was more to the evening than cars and dogs, and I had a lot of fun and met some really nice people. It really makes me sad now when I meet new people, just because I’m leaving so soon. Alejandro and I totally killed at foosball, and everyone was so impressed with my mad “futbolín” skillz (haha). Some other American girls showed up and they started a game of beer pong. It’s always nice when we can pass on a bit of our culture… total joke. But seriously, a few people really got into it, not so much the drinking part but the trying to throw the ball in the cup part, and it was pretty amusing to watch. All too soon it was time to leave, since here I am a slave to public transportation. Oh how I miss the freedom of a car!
Everything I’ve learned about the culture here has told me that these sorts of parties are not the norm. Sure, you can have a few people over, but not as many as were there last night, and generally it’s in preparation for going out later, since most people don’t hit the bars and clubs until about midnight. Whenever I go out with Americans, we generally meet right after dinner (around 9:30pm) and don’t stay out past 1am or 2am, at the latest. Some habits are hard to break. Along time ago, it seems now, a few friends and I went out with some Spanish students and I remember at about 4am someone saying, “So, where are we going next?!” Uhhhh I’m going to bed. Can’t do it. That was the same night as the gay botellón, haha! Did I ever talk about that? Have I ever mentioned botellóns? I simply must.
The “botellón” is a practice that started a few years ago in Spain, and consists of young people buying bottles of alcohol and drinking them in public places (parks, etc.) before heading out to the discotecas or bars, where drinks are much more expensive. Always the classy folk, they don’t just pass around bottles but instead bring bags of ice and cups to mix drinks. It’s a way to save money, and for awhile it was permitted and I believe completely legal. Then problems started arising with littering, as the bottles and cups would just be left behind, and perhaps also there were issues with unruly behavior, and so they are now illegal, though still widely practiced. Knowing all this now, and knowing that I’ve seen police break up botellóns and that you can get stuck with a hefty fine for participating, I would probably not be so inclined to attend. However, while we were with those Spaniards a few months ago we ended up on a set of stairs by the river where such a botellón was occurring. The way they explained it was thus: Yes, botellóns are illegal, yes, you can get into trouble, but this particular botellón was dominated by gays, and therefore it was safer. Why? The police would be hesitant to break it up because they could be accused of discrimination. HA! Their words, not mine, and I’m not sure how much truth they hold, but I do have to say it was one of the most fun evenings I’ve had this entire trip. Botellón -> discoteca -> discoteca….. sleep all day. Not something I could do often, though some people do it every night, but definitely something I’m glad I experienced. Kate and I have a discoteca night scheduled for the last long weekend we’re here, too, so it’s not over yet!
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