THE PARTY'S THE THING
13 October 2015 | BENALMÁDENA, ESPAÑA
Preparations have been ongoing for several days here at the marina for 'the Big Weekend': it is El Día de la Hispanidad, celebrating the international Spanish community and the anniversary of Columbus's first arrival in the Americas...and, not by coinkydink, we celebrate it as Columbus Day in the US.
It started on a not-so-good note for us; our friends, Jesus and Dorrie drove us 17 kilometers to Fuerengirola to get some stain for Moonbeam's brightwork but the store was closed from Friday at 2 PM (we got there at 4 PM after a leisurely lunch) and would not re-open until Tuesday morning. This was not good news for our adopted son, Guillermo, who has undertaken the project of sanding and refinishing the wood...since the wood has taken quite a beating, and the Captain wanted to give it some protection before taking to the high seas. (As it turned out, we did have enough of the stain for Guillermo to finish it all and an amazing job he has done.)
The main celebration in Benalmádena was going to be on Monday at our dock, 100 feet from Moonbeam. All day Sunday, preps were underway, despite the ongoing rain and dire weather forecasts for Monday, as well. The motherlode of speakers arrived; the Coast Guard ship which docks next to us was all decked out in nautical flags; men and women in uniforms were practicing maneuvers with their rifles; tables were moved in.
Monday, we awoke to a downpour. Oh no. But... the weather forecasts for this area kept changing. And then, as if on perfect cue, the weather cleared, the sun came out, and it turned out to be a perfect day...just in the nick of time.
Crowds of people moseyed in. The women, in particular, were dressed to the 'tens'. Women of all ages were wearing nylon stockings (when have you last seen that?) and 7+ inch stilettos. I've often noticed over the years that women's fashion starts in Europe and then makes its way across the pond. (I was particularly happy, in 2002, that harem pants stopped never made it across the Atlantic.) If these shoes come across to the US, I'll have to switch to a new insurance company which covers chiropractic.
All manner of uniformed people arrived. As I studied them closely, despite the myriad of different uniforms, I realized that they were all from nautical branches of the military. No foot soldiers here. Our new friend, el alcalde Victor (the mayor) strode in and received all the proper greetings. And then...the pomp and circumstance began: marching, saluting, presenting of awards and medals, etc. Guillermo wondered why they were receiving these medals, since Spain hasn't been at war lately; I surmise that they are working on their Eagle Scout ranking. Obviously, the speeches were all in Spanish, but, it's like being in an unfamiliar house of worship. You just follow the crowd...in this case clapping when they did, standing silent when they did.
Having seen enough, I left to do some errands and with the weather now dry, Guillermo went back to work on the brightwork.
Later in the afternoon, with the ceremonies over, the party started....and these people do know how to throw a party! Guillermo suggested we walk over and join the fun, while Captain Cook (a/k/a Ken) made a delicious dinner for us. We did miss the food at the party but, the music was blaring, the liquor was flowing, and the dancing was amazing (think 'Dirty Dancing'...Spanish style). There was also a singles-bar thing going on...with a few women...and quite a few members of the Portuguese Coast Guard...which was a show within itself....but all in good fun. And then, just like that it was over. It ended at a reasonable hour (Guillermo said people have to go to work Tuesday morning) and walking around Tuesday morning, you would never think this all took place; the marina is immaculately clean.