II. Amigos de Vacanzia! (Partying Spanish Style)

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April 10th 2010
Published: April 24th 2010
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Cathedral of Muric with Christine's head
Saturday, April 10

Happy Birthday to Cyntia!

Not only was it Cyntia's special day--it was also the Sardine Celebration in Murcia! So we all went downtown and walked around. We visited the cathedral--which interestingly enough, follows no traditional architectural plan (I think it's very Spanish of them...). We also visited a convent called Santa Clara la Real, which was a mixture of Christian and Muslim architecture--it was so beautiful! We wove through the crowds and found a tapas bar for all 13 of us. Tapas are a very traditional Spanish meal option where you order little appetizers and share them. We ordered a bunch of plates and passed them around. We also ordered sangrias and beers for everyone (very Spanish of us!). We had all kinds of tapas and they were all delicious! My favorite was probably the Russian potato salad which was eaten with crackers.

Outside there was lots of live music, people in costumes, and the streets were PACKED! It was a particular day during the Sardine Celebration focused on folk cultures. Outside the cathedral, there were about 12 Polynesians dressed in traditional clothing, and people went to take pictures with them. Naturally, Julien and Jonathon went to be photographed with the bare-bellied ladies.

To escape the crowds, Lola led us to an outdoor cafe in the sun where we took drinks. I had something that resembled a mojito. Christine was yawning and eventually fell asleep in her chair. Julien and Jonathon decided to play a little joke on her and wrote a sign that said "Will sing for food" and laid it at her feet. Then they took Pierre-Jean's hat and put it open side up next to the sign as if it was for begging. And THEN everyone took photos as Pierre-Jean and Julien placed money into the hat, with feigned pity streaked across their faces. Our laughing was so loud that Christine woke up. At first she was disoriented from being asleep, but once she realized what was going on, a huge toothy smile burst across her lips and got up and fake-punched the guys.

That night we ate dinner at Lola's, and let's just say this: IT WAS INCREDIBLE. Twelve or thirteen dishes were spread across the table, all of it sea related. There were salads, chunks of manchego cheese, shrimp, and even whole dorado fish that had been packed with salt for several hours so that the heat of the salt cooked them. I felt like a Queen with such delectable fare beneath my tentacles, and I felt so grateful for Lola's kindness.

But the night was just beginning. The Amigos de Vacanzia had already planned to crash in Murcia that night at Lola's and Pierre-Jean's so that we could party Spanish style for the Sardine Celebration! So after dinner we went over to Pierre-Jean's flat and got things started.

We sang happy birthday to Cyntia over cups of beer and champagne, and Angelo, Pierre-Jean's Italian flat-mate joined in the festivities. Then, around midnight, we hit the street. First we took shots of tequila at a street bar. There were TONS of people out, and a lot of them were wearing these funny costumes that looked like stripy pajamas with matching pointy hats. Next we hit an outdoor cafe and had sangrias. Then we went to a bar that Angelo said was good, where we had more shots of tequila. Next it was on to yet another bar where we played foosball and shared cups of crappy mojito and sangria.
"Je veux danser!" Rejane said (I want to dance)

So we found a club and went it. But with most clubs there you have to have a token that proves you bought a drink in order to get out. By this time, I was feeling really dehydrated (because water fountains/free water does not exist in Spain) and all I wanted was some H2O. I told Jonathan that I wanted water, and not an alcoholic drink, but I don't think he understood me, and he ordered me a Redbull and vodka. When he told me what it was I said:

"Uh-uh! I'm not drinking that! That's insane--who mixes Redbull with alcohol?!" So I gave the drink to Cyntia. I was reaching my limit, and really just wanted some water. The club sucked anyways so we left to go to another. This one was awesome! We all took off our coats and hit the dance floor. This one was also the type where you needed to buy a drink to get out. I'm not exactly sure of the details, but someone bought a drink in my name and I got the token, which was nice, because I wasn't drinking anything else.

When we left the last club, it was 6:00am. I couldn't believe it! Outside, there were still vendors out selling food and clubs and bars were still going.

"Espagne, elle dort jamais!" I said to Pierre-Jean (Spain never sleeps!) And he laughed and nodded his head.

But the night STILL wasn't over. There was still some inebriated idiocy to be had. Julien spotted a grocery cart and thought it would be a great idea to get in and have Jonathon push him. So as I walked down the street, chatting with Rejane, I heard Julien's slurred voice shouting:

"Doucement, Jonathon! Putain! Tu vais me tuer!" (Slower, Jonathon! You're going to get me killed!)

And so we would be walking and then stop to laugh at the ridiculousness of Julien yelling as he's getting pushed in a shopping cart at 6:00am in downtown Murcia. Somehow, when you've had something to drink, really stupid things seem amusing. In cases like this, you either take no pictures, so that you won't have to reconcile whatever embarrassing thing you did the next day, or you take pictures, so that you will see how stupid you looked and hopefully learn your lesson. We took pictures. LOTS of pictures. But did we learn anything? The poles are still out.

In any case, we parked the shopping cart near Pierre-Jean's flat and then went up. We all collapsed on the couches and chatted for a while. I sat with Pierre-Jean while he gave me a scalp massage, and I was really close to falling asleep. Around 7:00am, Rejane, Cyntia and I left and walked to Lola's where we crawled into bed. Four bars and two clubs later, it was time to recover.

I immediately fell asleep. But morning would come much, much too soon.

Additional photos below
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out on the streets

Christine and Joachim

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