Granada was not what I expected, unpleasant at times, and a bildungsroman in places on the time-line. We left Valencia two hours later than planned at 17:00 hours, and proceeded down through the rest of the Comunitat Valenciana into Murcia, and finally into Andalusia where we came to the jewel of Granada at 0100 hours the next day. We parked and put our stuff into the small but pleasantly arranged hostel, which I recommend should you pass through Granada while your mind baits your body to tread the path.
From there it was straightaway to a house party, but on the way in the university square, I was approached by a very strange man clad in bridal gear fretting in a stereotypical high-pitched voice that his bridal veil was caught, which it was, in his hairpin. I had to release it from his hairpin for him, and I said, “Eres libre (you’re free)”. He responded jubilantly: “SOY LIIIIBRE, SOY LIIIIIIIIIIIBRE!” And then it was off to the house. I gathered that they were all, more or less, from the same town in Alicant where my roomate Raul is from (Orihuela), and that we were here to celebrate one of their birthdays. I was the only one drinking beer, which I prefer over the poisonous liquors, although in Spain I am learning to enjoy the excellent wine. I was chided for this by all the Spaniards, who said I was “not being very Spanish.” This is the second time I’ve heard this, the first time being at the open bar with Joséluis that one time. I talked with one dude about the differences between university here and in the US, and I mentioned that I try to go to all my classes. He looked me dead in the eyes and said, “Has aprendido nada de España, me parece (You have learned nothing about Spain, it seems).” On that inspiration alone I chose not to go to class Monday.
We left for the discoteca at about four. Being bored and very tired, I actually sat down from an inability to stand up and sway anymore, and I fell asleep for thirty minutes seated in the club. I was awoken by three of the girls who were returning to the hostel early (at six), and I went with them. We had a delicious shawarma along the way (wish we had those all night in Valencia!) and as we arrived back to the hostel at about seven, the inky blue was turning into more of an aquarium-blue, biased towards the east. My other roomates got back at about nine.
Then began the gauntlet.
At noon sharp we awoke, showered, and headed to the cafe bar next door at one. In the south of Spain, the normal state of affairs is “una caña y una tapa,” wherein you purchase a third of a liter of beer and you receive a free tapa. Repeat four times among five friends, and you’ve had a diverse meal for cheap. Maybe you’ve gotten a little buzzed too. From there it was on to the Bar do Polvo, Galician for “Octopus Bar,” so named because octopus is well-loved in Galicia. We were here to celebrate the girl’s birthday, and we would celebrate it for five hours – with 150 liters of free beer to celebrate with. I knew straightaway that this would end out badly. While reducing the amount of oxygen to one’s brain cells is an enjoyable pastime on an irregular basis, beginning this at two in the afternoon and knowing it would not end earlier than eight the next morning allowed me to project the probability of how I was going to feel as I would try to bounce around at the discoteca at three in the morning. But my efforts at holding a single beer for a long time proved insufficient to their watchful eyes; “mas! mas!” which inevitably turned into the necessity of the mixed drinks. I was getting that syrupy feeling in my head and stomach as we left at about nine to go to grab dinner – at “Casa Braulio.” There is a saying in Spain: “Has encontrado a Braulio (Have you met/seen Braulio?)” which is so named for its similarity to the sound one makes when one vomits. Kind of like “Selling a Buick.”
Casa Braulio was cool ’cause we got there in time for the game between Sevilla and Barça, which Sevilla won. We ate a good bit of quite good food, topped off with bull penis (it looks like roast beef and tastes even better). But at the end was the obligatory orujo, and the stabilization I had felt from the proteins and protein-producers that were now deep inside me began to falter under the weight of the yellow alcoholic suspension. As we left at midnight sharp, one of the females encountered Braulio.
Then we went into a random side-plaza where other revelers were and we began to drink more, nothing but liquor and Coke now. This was the night of the full lunar eclipse, which was de puta madre. But I wasn’t as lucky as a certain nomad, who probably saw God and his forefathers under the blood-sign. Drinking and talking until about 3:30 when we entered BoogaClub. Here was a place I actually dug! It wasn’t the shite techno I had been whipped with so much, but was instead a place for “groove music” – for the first time in a while, I got down, as in, “I came to get down.” So we partied there until the club closed at seven; I was shaking and ready to fall asleep right away. Perfect timing for the others to say, “Which club should we go to next?” I had no idea what to say. The aquarium-glass blue was returning to the sky, and I had lost my sunglasses, and we were piling into a taxi to go on some hunt for the next dance club – which would NOT be groove music. The supposed discoteca was out near the airport (not close), so we saw Granada’s countryside and the Sierra Nevada mountains as the sun rose and painted the spaces ahead. The trip was ill-fated, however – we reached the top of a hill among hills where the club supposedly was, and there was nothing. We then went back to whence we came – the whole episode took an hour and cost 40 euros for all of us (the meter read 65). At this point I wasn’t even willing to BS that I was able to “be Spanish” for another hour; I paid the extra six to head home. The others arrived back at noon or one.
Two hours of sleep and we awake again. I feel horrible. Extremely hot, and like I might be dehydrating. A bottle of water and orange juice are insufficient. We walk around for a while, without seeing anything tourism-worthy, and we leave a couple of hours later to drive back to Valencia (we went the wrong way at first and added a couple hours to our trip, but at least I got to see the modern windmills of La Mancha). The same girl, who was in our car, met Braulio twice more on the trip, thankfully on the side of the road.
I was unhappy that I had taken the long trip to Granada and not seen the “Absolutely must-see Alhambra and Almohada,” but it was nonetheless the first time I had witnessed that kind of staying up and going all out. I could not fathom how it is possible to party like that. I don’t imagine I’ll be doing it again unless it’s on P. Rhea’s terms (or at least doesn’t involve any techno music) and I can at least take a right siesta.
Last night I was watching a movie at another piso and someone from the opposite window threw an egg in.
Amsterdam this weekend, with faces old and older. What will happen next?