Tuesday, July 13, 2010
Monday at school everyone was walking around in a daze, half asleep and downing many little cups of coffee. We had classes but even the teachers were obviously tired, even though they had watched the game at home and partied there. Everyone was caught up in the euphoria of La Roja. We spent considerable time in class talking about the game and about the parade of the
players to be held that night. They were supposed to begin their route at 7 pm, but one of the teachers remarked it would probably be 8 before they got going. I later found out why, in fact, they appeared nearly two hours late – they had returned from South Africa, had a few hours rest and then at 5 pm were received first by the King and second by President Zapatero!
I wasn´t even going to go out to see the players, figuring I could watch it on TV, but Dale convinced me to go and I ended up getting into the spirit of things again. I bought a newspaper that was all about the Cup and the players, which showed their complete route and the location of the celebration to be held at the end of the parade. The Gran Via was packed when we arrived to stake out a spot. We had done some shopping first, having to go to several stores before Dale found what he needed.
We found tables outside KFC on Gran Via. Spectators who were waiting there tried to hog the chairs, but soon they were out in the street and had forgotten about their saved spots, so we took two chairs.
I sat reading the paper I’d bought and found out everything I wanted or didn’t want to know about the World Cup, its history, Spain’s victory, details about the players, and the special kiss given by Casillas to a female reporter who was interviewing him in a very professional manner and who turned out to be his girlfriend! I found out where Paul the Octopus is (a zoo in Germany) and the death threats he had received by people who want to eat him with garlic, olive oil and pepper. I think Paul will live out the remainder of his short life in peace in Germany with no pressure to predict the outcome of future soccer games. He will hopefully get all the mussels he wants to eat and not have to extract them from boxes displaying flags from different nations.
Every time a commotion went up in the massive crowd in front of us, I would look to see if the bus with the players was coming. There were many “false alarms” which turned out to be chants, crowd waves, and water which was
being poured down on the street from high rise hotels. I envied the people in the balconies, beer in hand, flags draped over the sides – they had the best view and the advantage of being at home, even if they were in hotels. Two large Brazilian flags were prominently displayed along with a Spanish flag in a balcony at the very top of a building facing us. To keep spirits up, there were the usual “fan” songs that you hear at games everywhere in the world, as well as Que Viva España and the chant “Yo soy español, español, español…¨”
Around 8:40 two women came over and started yelling at us in Spanish. One of them was very heavy and obviously needed to sit down. There were plenty of chairs, farther back – I wasn’t going to give up my seat to these people after waiting all that time! If she thought she could intimidate us because we were foreigners, she was quite wrong.
Finally at about 8:45 the helicopters that had been flying around overhead began hovering above us, and flashing lights could be seen approaching slowly through the mass of people that crowded the street. I’m sure there were at least a million people along the bus’s route to show their support and love for La Roja. Standing on the chair, I craned my neck to see the bus with the red shirted players on top. Finally I could see them!
Slowly the bus approached at made its way through the cheering crowds. I felt a rush of excitement and began screaming and waving along with everyone else. Someone threw up a blow up doll wrapped in a Spanish flag to the player Puyol, who grabbed it by the leg and waved it at people. The bus stopped right in front of where we were standing for a few minutes and the players held up the Cup! I tried to get good pictures of that, but got mostly pictures of people’s arms that got in my way at the last second!
Once they had disappeared, swallowed up by the delirious fans, we stood up and made our way home. I figured it was going to be a noisy night on Madrid’s streets tonight, as it was on Sunday night. But actually, I slept well because we shut out the noise by closing the windows and putting on the air conditioning, and the noise eventually died down anyway, at least on our side of the building.
Today was a “normal” day. We went to class as usual, and most of us had to take a test in order to get our credits for the class at COD. The exam was a little hard but I think I did pretty well. After class we went home and just hung around Barradas most of the rest of the day. I actually felt guilty about this, because even though I had to finish my report on Granada and we wanted to do a little shopping, I felt as though time is slipping by and I will not have a chance to do everything there is to do!! Also, I didn’t walk much today, so I got little exercise, which is unusual for us. At least I have cut way back on the amount that I eat at each meal, trying to make it more like what I would eat at home. However, I have less control over WHAT there is to eat here.
Today I went to a cheap dress shop I’ve been meaning to visit, just a few doors south of Barradas, and tried on a lot of clothes. They were so cheap that I am sure that they are all made in a horrible Chinese sweatshop where workers are exploited and receive very little pay. Still, I got a pair of capris, a jean skirt and a dress for only 27 euros!!! The dress was so cheap that it may very well fall apart the first time it is washed but for 5 euros I can’t complain. At least I’ll be cool wearing it for at least one day!! (Note in 2012: I’m still wearing it 2 years later!)
I checked the weather report – someone told me it was supposed to be cooler tomorrow – but it says that it will be a high of 94 degrees F. However, at night it should get down to a cool 62!! Woo hoo!!