Tuesday, March 8, 2011

CARNAVAL [Badajoz, Spain]

I don't even know where to begin. This past Saturday night was possibly the craziest night of my life.

Okay, Dad. I now know why they celebrate Carnaval and where it comes from. It's basically this huge celebration all throughout Spain (and other Catholic countries) but it is mostly celebrated in three towns/cities: Badajoz, Cadiz, and somewhere on the Spanish Islands. It is always celebrated the week before Lent starts. It usually starts on the Thursday before Ash Wednesday and lasts until Fat Tuesday. It's name comes from "carnelevarium" which means "to remove the meat."

Getting ready...
On Saturday afternoon, 6 other friends and I took a bus from Caceres to Badajoz. Badajoz is even farther west than Caceres, so it's right on the Spain/Portugal border. Before we left, we all got ready at our piso since Lola had gone to her pueblo to celebrate Carnaval. We all had bought various things such as make-up, glitter, wigs, masks, leg warmers, colored strands of hair, neon nail polish, etc. We spent about 2 hours getting ready for this big fiesta.

Emily and I on the bus to Badajoz
Then we all packed our things and headed to the bus station which is about a half an hour walk from our piso. No one in Caceres was dressed up so walking to the bus station was quite interesting. We already stick out because we're Americans. You can only imagine all the looks we got when we were dressed the way we were.

We arrived to Badajoz and walked around the town for a couple hours or so. The town of Badajoz wasn't all that great. It's not pretty at all, and there is nothing special about it except for Carnavales. Not many people were out yet because we arrived during siesta, so we just hung out at a bar for a couple of hours. That is also when I added the "finishing touches" to my costume. Aka - fake eye lashes... which I've never worn before.

Clint, Mindy, me, and Claire all dressed up!
A couple hours later, more and more people started showing up and filling the streets of Badajoz with their crazy costumes. This is also about the time in my story where I fall in love. Yes, love. A Spanish boy stole my heart from the second he kissed my hand. It was magical. However, I later found out that he has three other girlfriends so I don't think he is the one for me. "Que lastima!" After we went our separate ways, (it was heartbreaking) the group I was with met up with more people from Iowa State. We walked around the streets that were filled with people for blocks and observed SO many bizarre and absurd things. I don't have enough room to write about everything that I saw but I will try my best. I saw AT LEAST 50 different men (and some women, too) peeing in the streets since they didn't have port-a-potties or anything. I had a homeless "pirate" bite my ankle (still haven't figured that one out.) I saw some pretty intense costumes... my favorite were the big tattooed men in ballerina outfits. I caught a man reaching into the pocket of my jacket while we were walking through the crowds... luckily, I didn't have anything in my pockets and I only had 10 euro in my purse that was safely stored away. To end the night, a few of my friends and I camped out in a parking garage, made a fort out of umbrellas, and huddled together for warmth until the sun came up and then we went to go find churros.

Overall, it was one crazy night. We were supposed to stay until 7:30 pm the next day but another girl and I knew we wouldn't survive the whole day running on no sleep, so we went and changed our bus tickets for an earlier time.

Mi novio!

This weekend should be a MUCH more relaxing one. My friends and I are going to the Spanish Islands of Palma Mallorca!!! We are looking forward to laying out on the beach all weekend and relaxing. I am also excited to see the Mediterranean for the first time! We leave bright and early at 6 am Thursday morning and return on Monday.

Another exciting bit of news - I just found out that my Godparents, Vera and Mark, are coming to visit me at the end of next month!! I can't wait to show them around Caceres and possibly do some fun traveling with them during the last weekend in April. Just a few days after they leave, my dad is coming to visit! Also, my mom, sister, and brother all officially have their plane tickets for the end of May! I can't wait to see everyone. :)

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