Wednesday, October 14, 2009

It is hard to find an appropriate time to sit down and write a blog update. I keep a travel journal too and have just started translating it into Spanish to (hopefully) improve my vocabulary and it takes a long time at each entry. But here I am, on a bus between Sevilla and Granada, I have just finished one of the most amazing books that I have every read (actually, listened to on my iPod): Naomi Klein’s The Shock Doctrine. I will never recommend another book to anyone, unless they have read this one first. It begins to answer the modern day Ishmal-ian question of “how things came to be this way.”
Alright, so now I am Andulucia, or southern Spain. Where according to one guy I met “the people are so hungry that they eat their letters.” Meaning that they have the strongest lisp in all of Spain. I made the decision to leave Barcelona after spending about two weeks there sola and while I met wonderful people and really enjoyed myself, the juxiposition between the shadowed and narrow streets and the bright sunshine of the human-made Mediterranean beach was starting to get to me. In addition, I was craving place where I, as a fair skinned, red haired, young American girl, could be a little more inconspicuous.
The decision to go to Sevilla was made by Sara and Christian. They had heard of a psy-trance music festival outside of Sevilla and since they just ended the festival circuit in northern Europe and were craving more, we decided to go. I think I have made more jokes about psy-trance festivals than actually considered going to one so I was eating my past words a bit and trying to be more open-minded.
Nope. No need actually. The “festival” was horrible. One small music tent, one makeshift food vendor, no bathrooms and no running water. Plus, it was not “just outside of Sevilla!” As it turns out, you had to take a bus from Sevilla to Fuenteridos, about 2 hours away! Luckily, I had a very foreigner moment of confusion and just walked onto the bus with what I thought was a free ticket (actually a bus schedule) and didn’t have to pay the 7 Euros. You see, the website for the festival mentioned a free bus to the festival site. Since I assumed that it was close to Sevilla, I assumed that they had made some arrangement with the bus company to compensate them for all festival-goers tickets. What they actually meant was that once you get to Fuenterhidos, there would be a shuttle, sometimes, to the site.
I was traveling sola at this point so I didn’t have anyone to rescue me from my silly logic. Whoops. Hula hoop to the rescue!! About halfway to Fuentriedos (and Portugal btw), the guy in front of me asks what the blue sticks are in my pack. I tell him about the collapsible hula hoop I’ve made and my subsequent travels. As it turns out, he participated in some forest defense in Sevilla where they were trying to cut down trees in a Plaza to make room for parking. He brought this up first, not me. We swapped living-in-tree stories for awhile then he shared with me the actual details of the festival. I was surprised to say the least. He isn’t going to the festival but the kid in front of us is and we are introduced. He says to come with him in Fuenteridos, that his friend is coming to pick him up and can take me too. Sure, why not? So, I’m sitting in plaza in this tiny town, about 30 miles from Portugal with this guy I just met on the bus, waiting for his friend. To my surprise, someone shows up and introduces himself to me as a friend of the guy and points to the car. I get in and we start driving…and driving. The website said that the festival was very close to Fuentridos. Well, its not. And when we get there, police are at the entrance to the driveway, checking a car of dreadlocked twentysomethings. We don’t pull in. Instead, we keep driving, pull off about a mile away, I get out for a breather while the guys make some minor adjustments to their luggage, we get back in, dar una vuelta and drive past the cops. Whew. Apparently, the festival isn’t exactly permitted. In fact, it is in a natural reserve. And the cops show up a few times, and sometimes fly over in helicopters. Whoops.
All things aside, there were two highlights of the festival. The first was the site. I camped up on a hill, above and away from the festival, in a grove of cork oak trees (the kind used to make wine corks). They are beautiful and shed their bark naturally, exposing a burnt red skin below. The second highlight was meeting a really cool girl named Zeta. She is from Hungary, living in Sevilla and studying computer science. She, like me, is not impressed with the festival and we bond over this. I end up parting ways with the Germans and going back with her to Sevilla and staying at her house. We drink tinto de verano (red wine and lemon fanta) and go to a flamenco show.
The next day, I go tourist-ing with one of her very nice roommates, Roxanna, around Sevilla. We go to an amazing old government building called Plaza Espanya. I think photos will be up on facebook soon. Everything is closed across Spain because it is a national holiday so it makes it a little difficult, but we spend the afternoon walking along the river that runs through the city, practicing Spanish and stopping for photo opportunities.
Did I mention that it was 39 degrees Celsius? Yep. Take that. Actually, right now it is 9:30pm and 23 degrees, according to the bus driver.

Trip booked his ticket today for Copenhagen! I am very excited to be in Copenhagen, even more so with him. I have been thinking a lot about my role there. And have decided that since I feel like I have vested interest in the fate the global climate, and that the direction we are currently going in isn’t even curbing our carbon footprint, that it is important for as many people to act as possible so that the solutions, if any, that come out of Copenhagen, best reflect the values of the people. That said, there is a global day of action happening October 24th. It is going to be huge in the States and I have seen lots of ads for actions here too. Go to to see what you can do to make our voices heard.
The other thing that I’ve been thinking about a lot is Trip and mine’s three months in Palestine. We are gong to take a ferry across the Mediterranean after the Copenhagen to join Code Pink’s Gaza Freedom March. Joining the march is pretty much our only chance of getting into Gaza and helping/documenting the apartheid state. I think that Trip explains our motivations for going best, so I’ll just paraphrase what he said. Throughout history there have been horrible atrocities, acts of despicable, unthinkable injustice. When you learn about them, you can’t help but ask your elders “Where were you? Did you try and stop this?” I fear that one day, a younger generation will learn about Palestine, in the same way that I learned about South American coups and past wars. I fear that they will ask me those same questions and I will have no response; because I did not respond.

Ok, we are almost to Granda, where I will stay for a few days with some more South American artisans, hopefully to be joined by Rachel from Barcelona in a few days and we can go camping! I hope that everyone back home is doing well. Feel free to send me emails about what you’re up to, daily life is fine. I heard that the leaves are changing, I’m sure the Campbell Club (perhaps Lorax?) is prepping for the Halloween party and Students for Choice is tabling at the Street Fair.

Oh, the other thing. I’ve been having the most vivid dreams the past few nights. They have all involved family members and last night the coop family. I must be thinking of you all so much that you show up in my dreams too! Love!

1 comment:

  1. It's always good to read a new entry. I usually read it several times so I can feel like you're closer. Miss you, love you Dad