Sunday, September 20, 2009

La Noche en Blanco

Last night there was a festival in Madrid called La Noche en Blanco, or The Night in White. Jess, Joy and I knew that it was a celebration of the arts and there were things happening all over the city, but we weren't entirely sure what, so we decided to meet up with some of the other people in Jess and Joy's program and head to Madrid.

We arrived around 11pm and the metro and streets were packed with people! When we got off the metro we saw a stage with a big image of the globe floating above the stage. There were lots of people waiting so we decided to see what was going on while we waited for the rest of the group to show up. Well, were we in for a treat! It turned out to be a modern dance kind of thing with people hooked up to cables and flying through the air and spinning around upsidedown and lights flashing! Then there were 4 kids who were raised up into the air behind the globe so they were resting against a wall behind it. They did a sweet coreographed dance that used the vertical wall as the ground so they were perpendicular and upsidedown in the air, suspended, dancing! It was so cool!

We hopped back on the metro to go to the real center of the city to see a giant burro and the botanic gardens. The burro was anticlimactic-just a flat sillouhette of a burro and the gardens were packed with a huge line to enter, so we wandered around and found that every few blocks there was an enormous screen set up. On each screen there was a different recording of a person teaching everyone in the street a different kind of dance! First we learned ballet, then bellydancing (where we got free scarves to dance with), then hip hop, which was really hard and we ended up just bouncing around.

It was pretty ridiculous, at first we were like "Really? Is anyone actually doing this?" Then we looked below the man teaching ballet and there were probably 70-100 people following right along! So much fun!

There were also concerts every so often which we danced to then moved on. One of my favorite parts was the fact that most of the main city center roads were closed to traffic and just filled with people...at 12, 1, 2 in the morning! We had to catch the bus back to Alcala which is about 45 minutes outside of the city, so we left around 1:30 to make it home. What a funny event!

In Alcala there have been signs of festivities as well, but we have no idea what they are for. Suddenly, to our surprise yesterday, a procession appeared on the street below Jess and Joy's apartment. There were lots of people carrying different flags from different churches, some men carrying an image of Mary (Kind of like Semana Santa but less ornate and a lot smaller), and a band marching behind. Who knew?

Well, gotta go! Peace to everyone!

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