Saturday, April 17, 2010

Las Fallas

It's been about a month since I've posted anything so I am going to try and sum up everything I've done since then. I honestly don't know what has happened to my time here in Spain! Las Fallas was a week long festival that happened in Valencia from March 14-19. Caroline's birthday was the Sunday right before it started, so we started celebrating that weekend before. The weekend before you could already tell that something big in Valencia was about to happen. There were a ton of people in the streets and an air of excitement about the town. We went out on that Saturday, and went to some of our favorite places. We ended up finding a party that was happening right in the middle of a little street hidden away behind some backstreets. They were playing really good music and everybody was just dancing and talking amongst themselves. The next day was pretty much the same thing. At night, we saw people putting up lights and the statues in the plazas, getting ready to reveal them throughout the week. Monday came soon enough and the festival began, although it had already started prior to that day. We walked around during the day and went to all the biggest plazas and saw all the biggest ninots. The ninots are giant paper mache statues with tons of color and glitter and decoration. They usually represent social, political, or other situations that had happened throughout the year. There are tons of people in the streets with medieval markets, kioks, and other types of vendors. During Las Fallas, they sell typical foods in the streets called buñuelos, churros and chocolate. They are basically just fried desert bread sprinkled in sugar and dipped in melted chocolate. They are very common to Valencia and everybody loves them. Personally, I don't really get it. It's just fried bread and white sugar to me, which I don't find too appealing, but everybody in the world has to eat them when they come to Valencia. The week passed and each night and day there were events and crazy things to see. At night, we went to the fireworks show every night. You had to go early because there were always a ton of people there beforehand. The fireworks were a spectacle. They are so much different here because they have all these different kinds and they all have crazy colors that I have never seen before in a firework. Every night there were dance parties in the streets and concerts right in the middle of plazas. Every bar and pub around Valencia were spilling out with people and the streets were hardly walkable. In the day we went around and looked at these giant structures and wondered how the heck the built these things. I knew that there were a ton of people out and a lot of petty crime would happen, but I thought Valencia was a relatively safe city. However, one night when I was at a concert in a plaza near our dorms, I checked my purse for the 100th time that night to make sure I still had everything. Every other time I did, except for this last time. I unzipped my purse and noticed that my camera was gone. I was really upset and confused because I had my hand on my purse the entire time and it was zipped up the whole night. We went back to the dorms to recollect and I went into my purse to look for my phone, but that was gone too. Then I studied my purse and noticed that there was a cut in the side of it. It was a relatively small purse that my mom gave me right before coming here. It was one from Casabella and it had a really pretty fabric on it. I was bummed about my camera and purse, but thankful that I didn't have anything else of importance on me. The rest of the week passed in a blur and we went out every night because there was no way we could sleep anyways with all the noise in the streets. There were always bands and girls called Falleras that were dressed in traditional dresses with their hair in buns that looked like Princess Laya. Falleros were men dressed in their traditional dress, which consisted of these shorts and socks up to the knee and bandanas on their heads like pirates. The last night of Las Fallas was the best because on that friday, they burn all the ninots in the middle of the plazas. We went to Plaza de Ayuntamiento, which is the biggest plaza in Valencia with the biggest ninot burn down to the ground. You would think that it would be dangerous, but they build the structures so that when they are on fire, they collapse inward. There are also a lot of firefighters with hoses waiting if something goes awry. Then the people scream to get water and the firefighters spray the crowds. We watched one burn in the plaza near our dorms and were really close to it because we got there early. It was really hot when we watched it burn down but it was awesome to be so close. Then, the people were yelling for the firefighters to spray the crowd, so they did in all directions. We started running back so we wouldn't get wet, and then we would approach the plaza again just so they would yell again and send us running. Our friends who work in a cafe invited us inside so we got to see everything going on without getting wet. Las Fallas was a really crazy time and I would suggest it to anyone to check it out on the off chance that  they are in Spain during that time. It didn't get any pictures because my camera was stolen but these are some pictures that Caroline took from her camera. 

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