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My Merry, Festive, Yuletide Expat Diary - The Second Bit

By Mr Grumpy - Fri 7th Jan 2011

Please click here to read Part 1 of 'My Merry, Festive, Yuletide Expat Diary.

Here we go - a continuation of my Festive diary of my experience of Christmas in Spain. Reads like a scene from 'A Christmas Carol' doesn't it?

     

Tuesday 28th December.

El dia de los Inocentes - Basically the Spanish version of April Fool's day. Anyone tries it on with me today and I will not be held responsible for my actions.

 

Wednesday 29th December.

Managed to get through the day without being pranked.

I hate this week - although the Spanish aren't into Christmas as much as the English, they are never ones to shy away from an excuse for a Fiesta day off work, but nothing seems to happen. There is a frustrating sense of people just waiting for things to get back to normal after Three Kings's day, but that' over a week away!

Even the Telly this year has surpassed its usual appalling standard!  

Thursday 30th

What is it about Christmas that means that you have to eat exactly the same stuff? - Every bun, cake biscuit or pudding tastes the same - probably because it is made from some variation of mincemeat or dried fruit. Even the Spanish aren't immune to this - every cake or biscuit that is on offer seems to be made from some vicious almond concoction that turns to powder as soon as it gets anywhere near your mouth - does anyone actually like these things?  I'd kill for a slab of Strawberry Cheesecake.

 

Friday 31st December

"Noche Vieja" -  Spanish tradition dictates that today everyone should wear red underwear for good luck. Yeah? - Well I wear a pair of luxurious, handmade red silk boxer shorts every day. Hang on, I'm confused - I meant I wear around two pairs of grey, baggy boxer shorts full of holes and ladders every third day, whether they need changing or not.

Anyway, felt pretty bad due to an ear infection so just went out for a Pizza at lunch time and had a quite one at home. Didn't get any grapes to see the New Year in with, so opened a tin of olives instead. Forgot about the stones, which made doing the whole 'one grape per bong' thing difficult.

 

Saturday 1st Jan

Felt strange waking up on a new years day without the hangover, but instead with a leaky ear due to the infection getting worse. Went back to bed until 2pm whilst the Mrs took our daughter + bike to the beach to have a coffee with some of her relatives.  

Sunday 2nd Jan

Although quite nippy, it was bright and sunny today so took daughter + bike to beach and had lunch. Most places closed and very quiet on the beach except for the pale blue English family in their swimwear, shivering under a beach towel, even though the nearby digital thermometer threatened to break into double figures. Why on earth ?

Ear still uncomfortable, but I bear up well and never complain.

 

Monday 3rd Jan

As most of the civilised world return to normal after the commercial and nonsensical madness that is Christmas, Spain has to endure this for another week until the Fiesta of 'Reyes' - celebrating Epiphany, or the arrival of the three kings, is over and done with. It is quite a major religious and cultural fiesta in the Spanish calendar and up until very recently was more important and more widely observed than Christmas day itself. But these days, Spaniards being Spaniards, they don't need much of an excuse or encouragement to take both weeks off as a Fiesta.

The problem for me is that, other than the 'main days' of Xmas eve, Xmas day, Boxing day and New years eve & day, and then 'reyes', there is about 10 days of doing nothing other than endless babysitting and waiting for things to get back to normal. Normal things like Doctors! My listener is still squeaking but my (Private!) Clinic doesn't open for another 2 days. I could be dead by then ! - It's a good job I don't complain too much about it.

 

Tuesday 4th January

Yet another 'I wish it would hurry up and get back to normal' day.

At least, unlike my (Private!) clinic, the Farmacia was open and gave me some ear drops without the need for a prescription. So much for my health insurance policy.

 

Wednesday 5th January

One of the most important dates on the Spanish Fiesta calendar. Almost every Town in Spain holds some kind of parade to celebrate the arrival of the three kings in Bethlehem for the Epiphany. Up until very recently it overshadowed Christmas day itself and even now it probably hold joint status.

Our Town was no different. We headed into the Town square for around 6, ready for the procession to start with almost military precision and timing at 6.30. True to form, at bang on 7.15 the parade began with about fifty attendants in fancy-dress and black face-paint carrying flaming torches, a number of horse drawn carriages with the children dressed as shepherds. The children were throwing out sweets to the crowd as they made their way to the church, and it is basically these kids who would be receiving their present during the ceremony. Finally, bringing up the rear, the three kings made their way to the church, each in their own white convertible car with the rag top down. Very gangsta, very bling. Except that one of the cars was a Volvo.

My daughter spent half of the evening picking up 'caramelos' from the road and avoiding horse crap, but all in all it was a good evening.

 

Thursday 6th January

Epiphany / El dio de los tres reyes magos (Three King's day) A big family day for the Spanish. Not being Spanish and not having any family here in Spain meant just another day in the many that make up the god-forsaken festive holiday period.

Normal service will be resumed tomorrow.

 

School tomorrow - yep, what's the point of starting on a Friday? - but I'm not going to 'look a gift horse' and all that...after 15 days of babysitting, letting my work slide, brain-numbing boredom and bad TV I'm looking forward to normality.

 

I have made a note of this link and made a reminder to myself to read it thoroughly at the beginning of December. At least that way I should be able to have enough time to try and book a holiday to the Caribbean or somewhere hot and isn't either the UK or Spain.

 

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