Friday, July 27, 2007

A Chocolate Review

Diane ordered me an extremely bittersweet task: a comparative review of two of my favourite chocolate truffles around, Trader Joe’s Truffle Bar and the brand-new Hershey’s Truffle Kisses, and provided me with the materials to deliver a good job. So, I took on the mission of trying both ambrosiae and enlighten those stuck with the tough choice.

Hershey’s is probably my favourite industrialized chocolate, and it’s one of the things I miss the most in Spain. Everytime they release something new, it’s certainly worth trying, because being such a small-town-America mentality company, if they’re releasing something, it’s gotta be good! Recently, I was amazed to discover that they exist only in three countries outside North America. I felt really blessed for being brought up in one of them. So, just imagine all the resistance new projects for new chocolate has to overcome within the company’s board of directors before it reaches the candy shop. Like babies born before the 18th century, every new treat from Hershey’s is victorious just for making it to the factory.

Trader Joe’s apparently has tons of neat stuff to try, and looks pretty experimental, risk-taking and avant-guarde from a distance, especially by the reports Diane deliver me regularly, so the fact that the Truffle Bar stood out within the wealthy and colourful treasure chest is worth notice. It’s definetely my favourite bar available, and probably the coolest idea in the history of Chocolate since the English added milk to it.

So, I was basically torn. However, while the Hershey’s Truffle Kisses are certainly delicious, I decided to stick to the Trader Joe’s Truffle Bar, for a myriad of reasons. First, because a bar truffle is certainly more innovative than a kiss truffle. TJ’s definetely has some merit in inventing a new way to deliver my favourite variety of chocolate.

Moreover, the filling of the bar is more creamy and less solid, like truffle fillings are supposed to be. When you bite a truffle, you’re expecting your teeth to sink slowly in the thick, silky core of dark chocolate and fat after it breaks through the hard shell of milk chocolate. Yum… The Kiss, however, feels too homogeneous on the way to its core. So one more point for the Bar!

Finally, I’ll risk to say the Bar has a merit in taste, too. Again, the Truffle Kiss is for sure a real delight, but it doesn’t taste like an actual truffle as much as the Bar does. There’s a bitterness to the traditional truffle that apparently Milton’s heirs were not able to reproduce faithfully in their new product. Trader Joe’s candidate, on the other hand, even when refrigerated, renders the exact sensual experience a homemade truffle would.

So, if you cannot get both, I say: go for the Bar! And ship me some if you like this review and find it helpful.

Or get me a job as a chocolate conoisseur. I have what it takes.

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

They lose, we win

Something pretty neat happened yesterday in La Seca, a miserable village in the middle of the Castillan desert (a/k/a nowhere), a thirsty and sweaty two-hour drive from Madrid.

Two months ago, my boyfriend, his army of Very Serious Persons and me went to see a low-budget production of ‘Bodas de Sangre’, a play written by national playwright Frederico Garcia Lorca. The cast was all Cuban, so was the director, and producers, therefore the company obviously got around the way they could, inventing different (and cheap) ways to render works written by a hispanophonic writer Very Serious Persons love to petrify, to set on stone.

After the play, the VSPs army went all down on Julian, one of the actors in the company. Juan, his boyfriend, began the gangbang: “Julian, ¡es horrible!” Then down came the other two with their blades craving for creative-busting bloodshed. I was asked what I thought of the work. I happened to have enjoyed the show, and told them the truth. But certainly, according to them I was the Brazilian illiterate who didn’t know anything about Lorca’s genious and the definitive way it should be rendered. Experimentation and creativity is the original sin for VSPs.

They went on, smoking like their lungs are toys from the Chinese junk shop, drinking a barrel of beer, and trying to destroy Julian’s company, about twenty minutes after the performance we all won the tickets to watch as a generous gift.

Yesterday, in a awards ceremony for amateur theatre groups, Julian’s group won several awards, including best production, and Julian himself got a best actor in supporting role award. Jose’s group got only one award—for best actress.

The Very Serious People lost.

About twenty minutes ago, Jose and I were talking about how my sister likes to feel like a diva dancing in parties. He says everybody wants to feel like a diva, and I told him I have been one. He asked when, and I told him about Sampa, and my regular storytelling and singing to 150-200 people. He told me people never really paid attention to me, they were bored and looking in other directions. Mind you, Jose has never ever watched my performance on stage, and already had such a destructive idea on it.

Very Serious People have addictive, irrational behaviours, and never learn.

I just decided I’d post this entry. Jose won’t mind, because he knows nobody reads me, or looks at me, or even knows who I am.

Monday, July 23, 2007

My first ranaissance faire

Yesterday I finally got my Faeriedust fix since I landed in Spain. For the Santiago festivities here in Madrid, one of the many festivities was a medieval market they put together right in my district!

Very few places are as beautiful as a Ren Faire, and now I understand why so many people in the US are addicted to it. The one we had here in Carabanchel probably isn’t as cool and large as the SCA events in North America and Australia, but I certainly had a good time listening to the band of minstrels, which featured Gallician bagpipes!, laughing with the many clowns, watching the poi dancers and ribbon spinners, walking past the colourful lamps and under the flags hoisted, seeing the exquisite stuff for sale (I bought an ocarina, a bag, and a magical red dragon who holds up papers with notes that I’m going to use for Magic and self-programming), enjoying the actual antique surroundings of the faire (something SCA people don’t have!) and feeling generally thankful. There was a falconry there, too, and they offered pictures with one of the giant owls, a vulture, a blinded falcon or a barn owl. Alas, the high price of the photo (6€) and my (let’s say) discomfort with the birds of prey I had never seen live (except for the vulture) made me refrain from taking it. Maybe next time I’ll take one?? There’s a huge medieval market in Toledo, I heard once.

Song: ‘Renaissance Faire’, by Blackmore’s Night, a band that usually inspires new posts here in the Book of Crossroads.

Image: a photo I took at the Mercado Medieval y Renascentista de Carabanchel. One of many!

Thursday, July 19, 2007

The Questionnaire Addiction

1. Have you chewed gum after someone else already has? Technically, no. But Jose had this AWFUL game of kissing me and dropping his gum in my mouth. Fortunately, he's realised it turns me off and gave up on the game. Well, he had, until he read this from behind me, and kissed me and spit in my mouth. Now I'm angry.

2. What song describes your relationship status? "You Were Meant for Me", by Jewel. (I'm obviously trying hard to forget the above-mentioned incident!)

3. How much does your dog weigh? No dogs.

4. Who are you thinking about right now? Ortigueira assholes. :(

5. Ever been skinny dipping? Yeah, as a kid, I'd do that all summer long.

6. Earrings or necklace? Necklace, for I ain't got pierced ears.

7. Who have you texted the most lately? Diane :D

10. Color of your shirt? White, with a BEAUTIFUL painting showing a Shaman, his Totem (The Eagle) and an ancestor in the clouds. It's actually the t-shirt I was wearing on 9-11. I now use it to sleep. Ain't I creepy?

11. How many years have you taken a language? A foreign language, I suppose is what you mean. English, for 18 years now.

12. Who’s on speed dial 2? N/a

13. What color is your background on your computer mainscreen? Dark Blue. It's default, I suppose, because everything my gross boyfriend owns is default setting. Or grey.

14. Do you wish on 11:11? I didn't know about this one!! Hey, another wishmaking superstition to the list, YAY!!!!

15. Good advice if you ever go camping? Book a hotel room. Prostitute if you need, but do book an actual room. It's totally worth it.

16. Are you A BAD influence? Depends on the criteria. Those influenced by me always love me and are always thankful.

17. What color are your eyes? Today, brown. But they change.

18. Would you rather have your name or your siblings’s name? Call me Awen, but about civil names, it's a tough choice: either the world's most famous active soccer player or Juliana.

20. Have you ever been called a bitch? That'd probably be my middle name if I had two names on the Internet :D

21. Favorite color? Shine yellow!

22. Do you use smiley faces on the computer? Yeah, they're irresistible!

23. What song is playing? Oh my Gods, no song's on! I'm probably sick, or TOO angry ...

52. Do you eat all the servings in the food groups on a daily basis? No. I eat too much dairy and milk, and no meat at all.

53. Are you ever a freak about cleanliness or organization? Hah, all my acquaintances would have a LAUGH at this question being asked to me!

54. Have you ever been to South America or Africa? Yeah, I'be been to several places in South America.

55. Do you know how to knit? No.

56. Do you have a cell phone or iPod with a patterned cover? Nopes.

57. Have you ever written love song lyrics yourself and put them in a song? Yeah! :D

58. Do you keep a diary or journal online? Yuppers, and glad I do!

59. When you open your closet, what is the dominant color? Here in Madrid, Beige. But I remember in Sampa I had a lot of baby blue.

60. Baskin Robbins or Coldstone? No idea what they are, and too angry to check online.

61. Physics or Chemistry? I used to hate Chemistry, but after taking a degree in Journalism, I really think I should've studied either Chemical Engineering or Pharmacy at university! (Given that I could not study what I wanted, which was Psychology)

62. Earphones or headphones? Earphones, as long as I don't have to share them.

63. Pink or teal? Pink. Neon pink.

64. Earrings or a ring? A red agatha ring. A very Brazilian gem, symbol of knowledge and magic.

66. Harry Potter, Lord of the Rings, or Star Wars? Harry Potter. I'm too young for the other two! :D

67. Fly or road trip? Road trip!! Nothing like the landscapes!!

68. Starbucks? Dunkin' Donuts!

69. What kind of toothpaste do you use? My favourite is Close-up Wild Berry, but they don't have that here in Spain, so I use one of those old-fag whitening-action pastes my boyfriend loves. Grrrrr...

70. Have you ever bought clothing at Nordstrom? No.

Sunday, July 15, 2007

The Calling of Windmills

When you are able to look close enough with the priviledge of immersion, it becomes pretty evident why Spain is the country that invented the most perfect icon of the dreamer who, against everybody else, fights for a cause only he sees. Like the Japanese Godzilla reflects Japanese national obsession with size and destitution of space, Don Quijote is a persona so suppressed in the average Spaniard’s psyche that no other nation would be able to so beautifully translate the faith in the Quest against all commonsense into a literary character like Don Quixote de La Mancha.

Listening to Blackmore’s Night song ‘Windmills’, dedicated to the valiant knight who sees powerful giants where commonsensers see mere windmills, an uncourted noble lady where average eyes see a filthy prostitute, and the urgency of a noble quest in a world gone meaningless for everybody else, I am reminded of my Friday late-night talk with my boyfriend´s pal Brunno, a Spanishman in love with the plastic Brazil I have never met other than on TV and touristic brochures here in Spain.

Brunno is an academic researcher dedicated to Brazil. He’s recently published a book on the diplomatic relationship between my native country and my current home, and is particularly enthusiasted about everything Brazil that is part of the tourists’ routine and have never really whetted my appetite. He acted surprised when I told him I don’t listen to samba in the house, and that I can’t cook feijoada. He was expecting to enjoy a circus ring freak show when Jose invited him to meet his Brazilian boyfriend and was caught surprised when he met an actual person committed to his own 3-D Humanity.

Brunno, as curious about me as almost everybody I’ve met here in Spain, asked me lots of questions about how I felt about my racial inheritance, about Internet relationships, about Brazilian politics, and many other things he already had particularly cristallized visions on. Everytime I gave a very personal reply and told him my personal stories, he put everything in check with statistical facts, remote historical distorted information, and vivid descriptions of how things were about 30 years ago, pulling me down from my flight, back to the black-n-white lenses Spaniards have permanently on. He was so invested in contradicting me he didn’t mind at all contradicting himself twice or three times in every point I made and he wanted to refute.

Sitting there on our balcony, making me speak my heart out to try to wetblanket everything I said, Brunno was the perfect picture of the stereotype I’ve designed for Spaniards over the past two months. Suave, confident, too sure of his convictions for his own good, ever ready for a good verbal time-out and profoundly envious of my sensitivity.

After a long chat, Brunno did acknowledge in private to Jose I’m very Brazilian. Maybe because I retain the abnormal sensitivity to the Unseen and an irresistible attraction to spiritual things, being from one of the spiritually wealthiest nations on Earth, something the average Spaniard deep inside seems to crave for. And deny.

Here’s the lyrics to the song ‘Windmills’, written by Candice Night on a melody by Ritchie Blackmore:

Far from the worn path of reason
Further away from the sane
He battles his shadows and demons
Fighting to light the way

And the dust and the dirt cloud his vision
Onward he rides unafraid
He fights the good fight for good reason
A star that refuses to fade

Still he braves his path…
Windmills only laugh

She was wounded and wild when he found her
He saw her through child’s eyes
She fell for the spell he was under
Each day a brand new surprise

And she watches with strange curiosity
She wants so much to believe
Trying to break the chains of reality
Dying to set herself free


Though he may appear tattered and broken
His clothes are shabby and bare
Still he glows like the light from a candle
With passion of one who still cares

There was always a rhyme to the reason
Peering out from tired eyes
The truth finally came in treason
So wrong, but so justified…
So wrong but so justified…
Windmills close their eyes…

Image: Don Quixote and Sancho with Miguel de Cervantes (their creator) on top, and my sharp eye. A beautiful monument in Plaza de España.

Saturday, July 14, 2007

Experiencing Sufism

Yesterday, I concluded my week-long Sufi Poetry and Music workshop watching a terrific recital with Rumi poems read live in Farsi, the magical sounds of Santur, and the best live percussion in the world, the Iranian. I made new acquaintances here in Spain, got heads-up for a weekly harmonic singing group downtown, and got a signed copy of the musicians’ album. Luck begins to smile on me again.

Best thing I experienced was an adapted udu drum. One of the two percussionists created a brand new instrument by adding a skin drum to the front of the clay jar, adding more possibilities of sounds to one single instrument. Iranians rock.

Image: Good looking, percussion virtuoso Reza Samani playing the modified udu. Check the other pics in my album.

Friday, July 13, 2007


1. Are you taller than your mom? Yes.

2. What color is your shower curtain? I have glass here in Madrid. In Sampa it was transparent with blue and yellow flowers/stars

3. What is the closest thing to you right now that is red? My specs!

4. What is your ringtone? When I last had a mobile, it used to be just a whistle. One single note sustained, no rythmnic beats.

5. Does anything hurt on your body right now? No.

6. What color is your favorite pillow? Light Yellow.

7. What is your favorite video game? California Games, from good ol' Master System.

8. Had a nap today? No.

9. Gold or Silver? Gold.

10. Is there an animal that creeps you out? Dogs!!!

11. Who was the last person you rode an elevator with? A cute guy with whom I take the Sufi Poetry and Music workshop at La Casa Encendida

12. Did you go ice skating as a kid? yeah. I loved it, but it was very expensive in Brazil, and only available in the winter.

13. Ever have stitches? Yeah.

14. Favorite non-alcoholic drink? Is Gazpacho considered a drink? If not, I guess wild berry milk shake.

15. How long ago did you hug someone? Last night.

16. What's something you want to do before you die? Win an award for something I write.

17. Have you ever caught something on fire? No.

18. Have you ever seen a ghost? Yes.

19. Have you ever seen northern lights? Not yet! I've JUST moved to the Northern Hemisphere.

20. Do you know how to use chop sticks? Yep, pretty well.

21. Name something good that happened today? I found four MP3 that were missing to complete the album 'Pipedreams', by Davy Spillane.

22. What room are you in? Bedroom.

23. Are you worried about something you can't control? Not really.

24. Do you take daily medications? No, no.

25. Ever been in a fight? Yeah.

26. Are you wearing nail polish? Nah.

27.What time is it? Noontime.

28. Innie or Outie? Innie

29. Ever used a Ouija board? Yes, and it sucks and didn't feel like a right thing to do.

30. Sweet or Sour? The sweeter the merrier!

31. Sun or Moon? Moon.

32.Coke or Pepsi? Soda.

33. Favorite eye color of the opposite/same sex? Hazel.

34. Can you sew? Yeah, I suppose. But not professionally, just to fix something.

35. Can you cook? Yes, I used to. But here in Spain I haven't anymore.

36. Time of day you were born? Quarter to eight in the morning.

37. Do you know your blood type? Yeah. A PLUS! Quite proud of it!

38. Do you know how to kill a zombie? Yes, of course. Just use healing magic. I got that from Final Fantasy III, in Supernintendo.

39. What's your star sign? Pisces.

40. What would you spend 5,000 dollars on right now if you were handed it? A trip to Ireland, and pay in advance a whole year of vocal coaching.

41. Do you like fog? Yeah! It's actually my favourite weather since early childhood!

42. Which animal(s) remind you of yourself? White Swan, Monarch Butterfly, Unicorn.

43.What's an animal that flirts a lot? No idea.

43. What’s your background on your pc? 'Verdure', from

44. Did you grow up in the city or country? Small town, but I suppose it was more City than Country.

45. Would you ever consider going on a reality tv show if offered a large sum of money? Depends on the Reality Show. I'd certainly do 'Fame Academy/Operación Triunfo/Fama' or 'O Aprendiz', but never anything like 'Survivor/No Limite' or, worst of all, 'Big Brother'!

46. Have you flown in your dreams? All the time.

47. What's one thing you're really good at cooking? I LOVE my risotto. Or anything I do with cheese.

48. Kisses or hugs? Hugs.

49. You have 10 dollars to spend in the dollar store... what do you get? Morning Page Supplies (pens and notebooks), a fan, batteries.

50. Slurpee flavor? Cherry.

Saturday, July 07, 2007

The Revenge of the Savages

They did it. They ruined the trip of my life. My first time standing on Celtic ground was a disaster and I was practically forced to quit Festival de Ortigueira before the second day was over and come back to Madrid, defeated and disconsolate.

Since I had borrowed Juan’s tent, Jose’s sleeping bag and Ángel’s sleeping pad, and I was fully equipped even with an incredibly handy guide and checklist Diane prepared me to ensure the greatest camping experience possible, I decided I would get to Ortigueira as early as I could to enjoy every second of the bagpipes. But since Thursday early morning, when I arrived in Ortigueira, I had undeniable signs that the longer I stayed there, the worst I’d feel with myself.

It started with all the loud reggae and hip hop playing. Frankly, back in the early 2000’s, I was one of the people most excited with the hip hop culture I knew. But the hip hop overdose everywhere lately has taken me to the opposite end of the spectrum, and now everywhere that has hip hop playing gets my immediate frown. But ok, I decided I’d put up with that, even though I had faced eight hours of road to listen to bagpipes, fiddles and wirestrung harps.

Then, my tent was set, and I was really proud of that, being my first camping experience, and I was all by myself. I looked around, took a pic of my home of the range, and noticed two idiots arriving with five dogs. I looked around again, and noticed that early Thursday morning, that camping area was fraught with dogs. Really, there could’ve been almost fifty of them. Obviously, not the vaccinated type, held by ropes or chains. They were rovering free among the tents, covering the land with their urine and feces, eating other people’s food. For a caniphobic person like me, it was a sure sign that the whole experience now was going to be an undeniable disaster, but I’m not famous for being reasonable, so I just decided I’d stay there and put up even with the risk of being bitten by one of those hippy mongrels and getting rabies.

Since all brands of music were so loud (except for Celtic, which was nowhere), I understood I’d not be able to take my sleep of the just that morning, and I went to look for the shower. There were no hot water showers there, only cold pipes from which water fell without any walls surrounding it. I decided I’d then face the whole festival without showering, because it was just out of question that I’d put my Brazilian skin under that cold water in Galician open air. Galicia is one of the coldest parts of Spain.

I went for a walk to air my head, and saw that the city, too, was infested with the many filthy dogs the filthy savages had brought. They were everywhere, playing with the skirts of female bagpipe players during the performances, pulling the fabric of vendor tents, harassing the dogs of the locals, fanning their tails for anybody eating anything in the street, begging for food. Those unwashed vagabond hippies were clearly insane and lacking total respect for themselves, for the city who so generously received them, for other people who came to listen to the actual Celtic music and for anybody else. Even large German Pastors were running free on the concert area. Suffering from dog-phobia fits, I was confined to a half of the city where there was no lawn or anywhere dogs were expect to be found frolicking and defecating.

Obviously, I didn’t find vegetarian food there, as I had expected and been warned, but I managed with fresh fruit, yoghurt and junk food from the grocery.

And I fed on what I went there for!

The music was divine. The experience of seeing the Passarrúas (Galician pipers marching on the city streets, playing local tunes, dressed in typical clothes) was really awesome, exciting and deeply enchanting. Really, it transports you to another dimension. The main concerts at night were also fabulous, with some of the finest performers of the new generation of Celtic music, not just from Galicia. Between the acts, the small amount of people on the audience (the other 17 thousand were the hippies who stayed in the camping area with hip hop and reggae, drugging themselves to death) pulled fiddles, pandeiretas, vieiras and – of course – bagpipes, to improvise little jams while the stage for following band was being prepared. Heaven.

The landscape, as expected, was also a balm for the Spirit. No wonder the Celts produced some of the most marvellous legacy of Music and Tales in the World. The Land certainly was generous enough with them, to fill their Spirits with wondrous Beauty on a daily basis. The stage was set with a magnificent view of the Ría that surrounds Cabo Ortegal, and experiencing that with the wonderful music was more than a blessing. I took several pics of many places, and worked out some pretty nice self-portraits, my current creative obsession.

I managed to use the Casa do Concello’s loo to have my #2’s. There, I also saw a great exhibition on the history of Galicia as a country, called ‘Nazón de Breogán’, drawing inspiration from one of the many versions of how Ireland was first colonized, which states that Galician warriors crossed the Bay of Bizcay before Common Era. If you feel like trying your Galego, try the print version of the exhibition here: . Also, I bought a pair of Tejoletas for myself. Tejoletas are a typical percussive instrument from Galicia and Asturias that are believed to be the ancestors of castanets (castañuelas), or at least their relatives. The local largest newspaper, La Voz de Galicia also gifted me with a novel in Galego (‘Papaventos’, about weathercocks, but not printed in green ink!), a galician cuisine book, a book that taught Galician riddles and folk games, and the BEST CD by Susana Seivane, a great bagpiper born and raised in Barcelona, but dedicated to Galician and Celtic folk. She currently plays with Sud ar Su, who also performed in Ortigueira this year.

The farthest I was from that miserable improvised camping area, the better I felt, and had I found a way to stay there in Galicia (but not among the savages and their untrained beasts), I’d have had the most healing experience in this lifetime. But alas, the concert ended, and I was back to Mozouros, where the nightmares and my tent were, to faint asleep.

Despite the non-stop, eardrum-torturing reggae and hip hop, I managed to fall unconscious until half past seven in the morning yesterday (Friday). I picked up my stuff for the day, managed to leave the camp without being harassed by the hordes of dogs or stepping on the shit they left on the ground, and spent the whole day in the city and going to El Ferrol, where the bus station back to Madrid was, to book my trip back.

Early morning in Galicia is something extraordinary. The heavy dew shrouds and protects the land like a mantle, encompassing everybody in what felt like ultimate compassion to me. The irregular and crooked designs on the shorelines, called Rías, had a feeling of home to them that made me want to weep in profound reverence, and let the moisture in my tears feed and expand the moisture in the dew, and mingle forever with that magical, verdant place by the miracles of water in the air, and fire in the water.

During the day, I managed to watch another Passarrúas (the Escola de Gaitas de Ladrido), and went back to the camping area to get my photo camera for more photos.

I saw that one of those many beasts the savages has brought to infest the place had pissed on my tent. Now, there’s only so much a person can take, and despite letting everything screw my trip bit by bit, I was not going to sleep on a tent where some freaking filthy hippy dog had urinated on, and risk falling sick in a strange land where I was all alone and had no valid medical insurance. So, before I became a Republican voter, a convict neo-fascist dedicating my life to purge the world of the freak show concentrated on that miserable place and let hate take over me, I collected everything I had taken, took the BEAUTIFUL train ride back to Ferrol, surrendered my spirit to the incredible, faery-touched vistas, and as an emergency measure, I took the bus back home. That was an odd moment, feeling a strange cocktail of relief and disgrace for leaving behind such a fabulous place on Earth.

I was back to Madrid this morning, to finally have my hot shower and brush my teeth—four days later.

I really want to go back to Galicia. That place, and it’s lovely people, are an oasis in Spain. I don’t know when I’ll be able to, but it certainly is in my plans, and should be in the plans of everybody who hears the call of Celtic mystique. It thrives there.

I’ll now pay the 15€ tax to another workshop I got at La Casa Encendida, wash the urine from Juan’s tent, unpack, and upload my photos to my album here on Tribe. Keep an eye on it.

Image: Passarrúas on Thursday at noon, opening the festival.

Wednesday, July 04, 2007

Settin' Off

Ok, folks, tonight I'll go offline for several days. I'll be in Heaven, a/k/a the Celtic nation of Galicia, for the Festival de Ortigueira. Meanwhile, I've left new pics of me in my album to keep you company.

Image: Ortigueira last year's festival. Be there with me, in spirit.

Monday, July 02, 2007

Educating the Savages

Having ended Europride, Madrid is apparently back to the usual Nicotine-and-ethanol lifestyle, it seems, and just tonight Jose and I went out with his friends for some of the Madrilean sense of fun.

Not too bad, because THIS TIME at least they had music on. Madonna. Honey, after two months smoking passively and listening to nothing but ppl getting drunk and speaking gibberish, you’ll consider any cadence the redeeming Music of the Spheres!

At the penumbrous bar, the centre of all attention was a bald fag, clearly almost fourty and wearing skinny clothes, untanned and shaving the whole body to look 20something, talking about how he went to all dozens of parties this weekend, and how everywhere looked like his birthday party because he knew everybody and everybody was delighted to see him.

At some point, the party’s host, who happens to be a quite nice guy, asked me and my boyfriend if I went to my brother-in-law’s wedding party last Saturday, and Jose told him that due to my father-in-law’s resistance to meet me, I went to the Pride parade instead. Then, Mr. Soul-of-the-party, who just treasures being everywhere all the time, butts into the first talk I’m able to engage the whole evening.

“Did you like the Parade? It’s a little like in Sambódromo, but with political vindication”.

Talking about Pride, I educated him.

“You should know that beyond Carnival, in São Paulo we have the hugest Pride parade in the world”. And to round up the effect, I added: “You should visit there one day”. As is typical with mindless party animals, he just had more of his coca-cola-with-alcohol, turned his head left and started another party-animal topic with some other native.

Sampa 1 x 0 Madrid.

On the way home, I told Jose this story, and he diagnosed my ‘susceptibility’, his current favourite word in things Awen, and went on to defend his co-local.

At the metro station, Inspiration moved me to write this blog entry. Being deprived of my writing devices, I decided I’d Irish-step to a bagpipe tune in my head instead. My boyfriend and the whole platform stared me with rebuking Madrilean eyes, even though it was helpless—I’m not in Sampa, but Sampa lives in me, it’s my Genetics. I carry the seed, and it is my Power and my right to sprout and blossom whenever the fuck I see fit. There’s nothing anybody can do to change it. Not anymore.

Blog entry dedicated to my very wise friend Catt. Thanks, Catt, for reminding me of the higher purpose, and that I’m here for a very noble reason!

Image: Sampa Pride Parade. The Rainbow flag at the Rainbow's End!

Sunday, July 01, 2007

Europride '07

Because I whined here before and probably raised some worries around, I should give you the roving report on this year’s Europride! In a nutshell, it was a success, at least on the impact it had on my emotional silhouette.

The open-air gigs began on Wednesday, and in four different squares, each with a distinct type of music. I love open-air stuff, and here in Spain it’s alleviating on the lungs due to the high numbers of smokers everywhere. I chose the square with the most excentric cast of acts, Plaza del Rey, and they had one theme for each night. On the first night, the material was the voice. Unfortunately, the first two performers were playbacks, but to close the night they had an awesome acappella quartet of black brothers and a sister, performing soul, reggae, hip hop and flamenco fusion. Blissful.

On Thursday, the night belonged to Flamenco. I saw a Macedonian string ensemble (four violins, one cello and percussion) playing the most vibrant of Spanish musical traditions; then a superb Flamenco Fusion trio of guitar, voice and baile; and to close the night a real juerga flamenca! I was dying to try that live for a long time now, but because I didn’t know where the acts are and because everybody tells me it’s very expensive, I chose to wait. And to those who wait, good things come!

Friday was the evening at Plaza del Rey dedicated to Contemporary Dance, but frankly, it almost bored me to death. But watching an electropunk gig (Digital21) on another square earlier that evening saved the night!

Yesterday, the actual Parade was a huge success! I watched in the very beginning of Gran Vía in a priviledged position all the committees from other Comunidades Autónomas, neighbouring European countries, political parties and organizations of all types. Then came the huge corporate buses with sound systems and DJs. I decided to follow one of the last cars, ‘Sleazy Madrid’, dedicated to the Leather community. Not that I’m particularly inclined to that aesthetic, but they had a juggler on the car, playing with knives, and that kinda appealed to me, and the Dutch and the German following that car certainly were good company to have a party! But then quickly I moved on to other cars ahead, as the mob took the way in anxiety to see what was ahead and made the progress of the Parade a bit difficult. The Spanish police is not used to standing and moving people, only the ones sitting down having beer and smoking, so be patient with them! :D

I arrived at Plaza de España hungry, tired and thirsty though happy and excited, and didn’t want to stay for the concerts, that seemed frankly boring and too gay-ish for my tastes. So I took the metro home and went to bed around two a.m.

I managed to take some photos, before my batteries died. I’ll upload the best ones to my album here on Tribe when the batteries finish recharging.

Next weekend I’m going to the BEST event I’ll have attended in my life so far, the celtic music Festival de Ortigueira. I was having a really hard time finding lodging in the Galician small village that hosts the event and gives it its name, but because good things come in sequence, I discovered today that Jose owns a sleeping bag and one of his friends has a tent that doesn’t require ANY assembling. You just drop it and, FLOP!, before it hits the ground it’s ready to shelter you for the night! Yay! Now, I’ve already bought four extra rechargeable batteries for Ortigueira, and be sure I’ll be back to Madrid with quite the photo album!