Monday, June 9, 2014

Saint Who? Bring on the Ladies!

{on the bridge}
The name San Ysidro brings no goods feeling to most borderland Mexicans. This spot on the globe is one of the most tedious crossing points of the US and Mexico; especially on foot. When in the capital of Spain, however, the patron saint- San Isidro brings picnics in the park, holy donuts (known more as exquisitas rosquillas), carnations, and the appearance of really great fashion. And not just for one little day, but for almost a week!


In the best of weather, we made our way on foot across town, down through the Toledo gate and traversed the bridge to the saintly park/ cemetery where all of Madrid was outside the safety of the city proper having a picnic on any scrap of grass left open. They were raffling off ham legs, children were flying through the air on amusement park rides, elegant police horses trotted through the scene, balloons bunched almost as thickly as the crowds of people... All these things enticed me to shudder, speedily shutter click click, but none more than the Spanish ladies in full olde tyme dress. Well, to be fair, there were a few guys who had swanky get up - just not enough of them!

{ the saint himself }
The press of the crowds again reminded me that I have an anxiety disorder to fight in order to enjoy the day's events. Better than half of me was in hell, desperate to get away from all these people who have no sense of direction or sense of personal space; and escape the relentless blaze of the sun. Finery charmed the paranoid beast within and I remained normal enough to get through the park with out lashing out randomly at anyone.
We trickled back into the city proper and without intending it found ourselves right outside Isidro's church. Everyone. I. Said. EVERYONE was there to see all the holy banners and statuary come out to be paraded around the streets.  Being remarkably taller than most Spaniards, I had a great view of the scene and the extra 'bonus' of being rather in the scene. Just when I thought I would be free of the intense crowds, we had arrived just as relics the parade was beginning and as the amount of spectators grew, I was squashed flat against some fence thing while people did their best to file passed and get their own good view... I didn't think I was going to get so intimate with the entire population of the city! I even had a drunkard all up in my face. It's a wonder I didn't catch the plague.
People carried stalks of wheat with them. They lined up to drink water from a fountain that will keep them healthy for the rest of the year. They ate rosquillas. As much as the fuss and to-do disturbed me and was silly at times, it was quite beautiful all the same.

{ i got smiles from the natives }
There were soo many events going on all over the city during the saint's festival. We probably missed most of them! But that was alright. I don't think I could process any more anyway...
One of the best events was the closing concert in Plaza Mayor. We sat down there surrounded by a lot of the old fogies and listened to the most awesomest diva belt out classic flamenco tunes. We figured these old Spaniards had some salt and got a taste of it. There was a bit of a kerfuffle when some of the old folks were hard of hearing and talking overly loud to which other old folks got angry about; which is pretty damn amusing. The whole thing it escalated for a bit and someone threw a drink and a cop was called over to sort things out. Everything was ¡qué vergüentha!  ¡vergüentha! A group of them left in a huff. It was a good laugh, though not too loudly.
Then it all came back to the music. Can I just OMG for a moment or two. This woman, Argentina, sang- no, she cried a whole free outdoor concert for like 2 hours! It was a curious blend of Flamenco and jazz piano that just worked magic that night. Instead of a call for encore some guy actually hollered (as best as the Human could translate it): Bless the mother that brought you into this world! 
She was that good. She was so good, it didn't matter that I could not follow the song lyrics. And I knew I wasn't imagining things because I was sitting next to this old bitty who knew all the songs.. all the words... she would excitedly lean in and exclaim this one was her favorite or ole when she was so moved. She did not even realize I did not speak Spanish! And there I was a total noob smiling at her enthusiasm for art well done.
Ooo. Here is a vid clip I found that we are in! Somewhere in the crowds anyway. ;)
And here is more, cuz I know that was NOT enough.
You are welcome.
{ he CAN run you down and beat you with a knight stick  }

{ i want this galician's shoes }

{ oh yes, the patterns }

{ dog pose }

{ fringes of society }

{ one of my favorite shots }

{ keeping it classy }

{ suffocating foot traffic }

{ the line to drink the sacred water was 12 meters long. or so we heard }

{ pretties }

{ stealing the show }

{ holy donuts sell like.. hot.. ? cakes.. ? }

{ another little lady }

{ are we amused yet? }

{ bright day for bright costumes }