Saturday, July 07, 2007

Blown away by Pride

I spent the last week doing another Vaughan Town. It was lots of fun although quite tiring - I lost a bit of sleep each day I think and it caught up to me by the end. I didn't lose my voice this time round. Once again, I was one of the people that the Spaniards found hardest to understand. The other Anglos found that a bit puzzling because they think that I pronounce my words clearly. It's not my pronunciation that the Spaniards find difficult, it's how fast I speak. But they also tell me that it's good for them to listen to me because they learn eventually to keep up with me.

At the first of the week, I was unsure as to whether I would enjoy the week as much as I did the first one. In the end, I think I did enjoy it as much, although it is hard to compare as the people are so different from one week to another.

In Madrid prior to my departure was Pride week, and the parade was last Saturday. Given that my hostel was at the parade end (there are sort of two parades - a political one in the afternoon and then a party one in the evening into the night) - there wasn't much point in trying to sleep while the parade was on anyway, so I wandered around the streets with some girls from my hostel. I have never seen anything like it. I was told that there was something on the order of a million people in the street. There were gay people who had travelled for the event but there were also locals of all ages and sexual orientation. Old ladies sitting on the side of the street watching, people out with their kids. It was just a massive party in the streets. Everyone was friendly - people were drinking, but I didn't see any of the aggression that often accompanies drinking.

For a country girl like me, it was amazing just to see that many people having a party. To top it off with the acceptance of homosexuals that was present was even more amazing - there's many places in the world where that kind of event couldn't happen without protest.
After the parade ended at around midnight (the partying went on in some streets all night as there were still people about in the morning), I watched as a whole team of workers moved in with leaf blowers, brooms, bins, street-sweeping machines and garbage trucks and cleaned up Gran Via from an absolute mess to being open in under an hour. I was impressed.
Unfortunately, I didn't get any pictures of the parade because I didn't have my camera with me (and I discovered that my phone was missing when I thought: I'll take some pictures with the little camera on it).
Now I'm back in the UK, having flown to Luton last night. It's a bit of a relief to be where people speak English in some ways - I can figure out bus schedules and the like.


mischief said...

Madrid too!? Are you stalking me...

Megan said...

You've commented on about a dozen of my posts - I think it's the other way around if anything.