Hemingway, cowboy and ‘The Nobel’ in Pamplona. “(…)In this story, young George is still framed in the doorway as though a picture looking at the sun, trapped within his imagination. As it happened to Ernest Hemingway, still an unpublished novelist, who was paying a visit to Pamplona in 1923 when he felt that deep sensation of the inaugural rocket announcing the start of Sanfermines and the running of the bulls, cowboy in his far west of emotions. Because you should know that in his first novel “Fiesta” the American Nobel Prize in Literature in 1954 told us all about his experiences during Los Sanfermines and his feelings were inspired by bullfighting. (Page 18) “(…) At the beginning of May, in Murcian lands of La Vera Cruz, the Caravaca horses climb the steep hill to the castle like the mythological equine did with four legs and two wings. The slope was packed with people, women and men crammed around along the steep slope in a street hug. As people do at Sanfermines in Pamplona the folks of Caravaca wear colorful scarves around their necks to identify the brotherhood they belong to. (Page 79)
Bullfighting and bullfighters in Spain: Belmonte and Curro Romero. “(…) At about five o’clock in the afternoon Maya opened the bull pen door and charged at George while her chocolate ice-cream was melting down her mouth: –I’ll bring back my friend from Cuba. –She put two tablespoons of black mousse into her mouth and then she made some excuses and threw the Minotaur’s horns against him. Was it to make up for the wounds left by other men who had been unfaithful to her or to settle an unbearable dilemma? George’s heart was in his mouth. The scent of the cinnamon he was sipping vanished. He furiously remembered Othello played by tenor Placido Domingo. And then he felt a sad pianissimo duet sung by Pavarotti and Caballé. But he put his hand on his left side to cover the treacherous stab. At the same time he took out his capote (cape) with the mastery of bullfighters Belmonte and Curro Romeo and fought back the beast’s rushes. –What will happen to me, Maya? (Page 251)
Salve Rociera, Murga in Tenerife and Carnivals in Cadiz. “(…) One spring, young George enjoyed the Burial of the Sardine in Murcia, thanks to the music band. That year actor Paco Rabal (Mr. Big Fish) and his daughter (Mrs. Sardine) made thousands of Murcian people laugh. After the parade, George and Jesús saw paintings in a museum by Ramón Gaya. At the beginning of May, in Murcian lands of La Vera Cruz, the Caravaca horses climb the steep hill to the castle like the mythological equine did with four legs and two wings. The slope was packed with people, women and men crammed around along the steep slope in a street hug. As people do at Sanfermines in Pamplona the folks of Caravaca wear colorful scarves around their necks to identify the brotherhood they belong to. George was enraptured, as if he heard on a beach the ukulele in Hawaii. (Page 125).
The Burial of the Sardine in Murcia and Caballos del Vino ‘Sanfermines’ in Caravaca (Murcia-Spain). “(…)One spring, young George enjoyed the Burial of the Sardine in Murcia, thanks to the music band. That year actor Paco Rabal (Mr. Big Fish) and his daughter (Mrs. Sardine) made thousands of Murcian people laugh. After the parade, George and Jesús saw paintings in a museum by Ramón Gaya. At the beginning of May, in Murcian lands of La Vera Cruz, the Caravaca horses climb the steep hill to the castle like the mythological equine did with four legs and two wings. The slope was packed with people, women and men crammed around along the steep slope in a street hug. As people do at Sanfermines in Pamplona the folks of Caravaca wear colorful scarves around their necks to identify the brotherhood they belong to. George was enraptured, as if he heard on a beach the ukulele in Hawaii. (Page 79)
"La manta al coll…”: ‘Fallas’ in Valencia and ‘Bonfires’ of Alicante. “(…) Another day the music band where George played proclaimed the happy awakening as the morning’s dawn was spreading its fingers throughout the neighborhood which was celebrating its official festivals. The Festival Queens (Falleras) were singing on the street that day: “La manta al coll i el cabasset/ mon anirem al Postiguet!/ La manta al coll i el cabasset/ mon anirem (“The blanket around my neck with my basket/will be going to Postiguet… hurrying along chim-pam-pum, hurrying along chim-pam-pum!). The Festival Queen’s beauty and charming personality showed up through a window: –Come on, I’ll bring you a cup of hot chocolate –offered Amparo. Within the kind stave, the Levantine woman had created such a tasteful welcome on the coal cooker. And the musicians responded to her with exquisite melodies. –Stop playing. Come upstairs! The chocolate is hot –insisted Josefina, the beautiful Festival Queen’s mother–. Or if you feel like you can drink fresh horchata (cold drink made from tiger nuts) and fartons (a kind of sponge cake). (Page 126) “(…)The sleepy soul awakes note after note… do, re, mi, fa, sol, la, si. And beat after beat it awakes from its long slumber, maybe for centuries, until it remembers very excited chord after chord, beats of eternal happiness. The universal language of music reopens inside you –without knowing when you were a boy or a girl– doors which had been shut for ages. –We play at Tabarca, mother! –He was jumping for joy. –On the isle! –Behind Las Hogueras de San Juan (Saint John’s bonfires). (Page 74-75).
Los Armaos and their dance ‘The Snail’ in Orihuela(Spain): The Romans Retreta after the processions. “(…) –Go on George, read it… –begged his mother. –“I’ve sent a surprise gift for George.” –The child read out engrossed in the letter and in an emotive, choked voice and unaware of such a fact stood up–: What… what’s a surprise, mom? –Something you didn’t expect, nor did you think about but it gets to you…. full of love. –A surprise from my dad to me! –Young George took the letter and walked around like Miguel López when he guides The Armaos in the Danza del Caracol (Snail) dance (la danza El Caracol). Go to Orihuela at Easter and you will see Pitoto reincarnated, feel the Roman Retreta after the processions, and clap the Century at Marqués de Rafal plaza. (Page 54)
The Villajoyosa Landing and The ‘Moors and Christians’ in Spain. “(…) While practicing and enjoying the band for years George was delighted with the many visits he made to different towns and cities. He swam with other young musicians in the Poniente Beach and he even swam to Benidorm’s isle. He discovered unimaginable festivities in his own homeland, e.g. Desembarco en Villajoyosa (the Villajoyosa Landing). He was also captivated by the mock battle between Moors and Christians with their harquebuses in Elda, Petrer, Sax, Villena, Novelda, Aalcoi and Crivillent. He discovered all these breath-taking festivities in Crivillent at the age of ten. The local women with a stunning smile marched past the local men. Their way was marked by the sensitivity arising from the feminine spirit, since it magnetizes you and shows you the happy path. –The warriors are coming! –They dress up like ancient historical warriors, but they are happy and peaceful people, though. –explained the conductor to the rookie musicians. –What’s the route they follow? –They parade through the streets. And we play military marches behind them. –We’re warriors! –Four kids mimicked the festive martial march. –Music always unites peoples! –The conductor said standing up. –But we’re dressed up like them? We’re warriors! –That djellaba fits me well! –Emiliano put it on. The Nazarene warriors’ fierce look wrapped up in silk was not so savage. The local women overflew the slope until disappearing uphill, while the local men dug their feet in the vaporous asphalt vanishing on the horizon. (Page 77)
Marrajos and Californios during the processions Easter in Cartagena. “(…) –Where do you play with the band, George?–his mother wanted to know. –In Cartagena at Easter… and I’ll see Isaac Peral’s submarine. –With the Marrajos or the Californios? –he answered as his mother was cutting some bread and pieces of Manchego cheese–. They are said to be very beautiful religious processions. (Page 70)
Los Salzillos’procession in Murcia (Spain). “(…)Every time Rosa saw her son depart on the music band bus she got very worried: –Tomorrow you all will be playing for Los Salzillos procession in Murcia! When will you have a rest, son? Here you are 50 pesetas: remember to bring two meat pies from Murcia. Your father and I want to try them. The chorizo (Spanish sausage) from Murcia is said to be excellent! –I’ll have a nap on the bus! I’ll be coming early in the morning. Since all the musicians have been invited, we’ll be going to the Romea Theater as soon as the procession is over to hear the concert by the Royal Band, which will be conducted by Grau Vegara from Bigastro, a great conductor. Take it easy, mom, I’ll buy you two meat pies. –He kissed his mother and headed for the bus. (Page 71-72)
The Araceli in ‘The Misteri d’Elx’ (Unesco Patrimoni) and ‘The Nit de L’Alba’. “(…)And then, George also remembered his emotion and happiness when he felt the Oropel rain on his curly hair that afternoon at Santa Maria church while attending the performance of El Misteri d’Elx. When the temple’s organ is played Heaven opens on the main dome and then El Araceli descends. At that very moment George got goose-bumps and his soul thrilled by the songs of the angels resounding throughout the entire basilica. George still absorbed in his claustrophobic performance awoke from that Nit de L’Albà on the terrace when he heard his cousin’s voice. –George, let’s go home. We have to sleep! –And dream! (Page 89)
Smiles with Marijaia during the ‘Aste Nagusa’ of Bilbao. Marijaia’s friendliness and warmth captures Gorka’s attention. (Krisis with a K /Second Part: ‘Falling in love with life’). The Burreta and La Cabalgata de los Reyes Magos in Alcoy.
Las Palmas & Maspalomas Drag Queen galas (Canarias-Spain). “(…) Maya wanted to conceal her small size with a ridiculous high lettuce bun and high-heeled shoes, which raised her heels and gluteus. George had a look at her battle uniform. He remained silent. She was wearing black fishnet panty-hoses, a pair of ear-rings which made her ears longer, and she had made up her face with anti-wrinkles camouflage. In truth, the vampire hides and only comes out at night! The vegan, a master in yoga and meditation, was wearing a shot-down fox fur shawl covering her shoulders. In view of that weird-looking sex symbol, dreadful and ridiculous drag queen –she would have been thrown tomatoes at the Las Palmas & Maspalomas Drag Queen galas to make her leave– George made an effort to hold his laughter. As a wild guess, he would have given her a whip to go with her disguise. –Amazing! The first lady I’m going out with dressed in such a way! –George clapped to conceal his irony. She was almost making the fool of herself, but George did not say anything. It was better to keep quiet and observe. (…)(Page 284)
Habaneras on the Playa del Cura and Ricardo Lafuente in Torrevieja. “(…)That morning the terrace adjacent to the river where his exquisite tapas (snacks) were served was empty. –We have” cocido con Pelotas” (stew with meat balls) but I haven’t served any yet –he said straightforward to the journalists– because of the “perfume” coming from the river. I’ll be forced to close the business! Let’s see who will attend the tourists! I’m going to Torrevieja to rest by the sea. I’ll greet La Bella Lola at Cala del Moro (The Moor’s Cove). It is said that her beloved seaman is coming home on La Gaviota tomorrow. Ah, Ricardo Lafuente is gonna conduct Habaneras on the Playa del Cura (The Priest’s Beach) along with Paco Grau the conductor from Bigastro! You can keep the pong from the river for yourselves! –My butcher’s shop is famous –the turkey breeder succinctly told Pablo and Claudia from SER Radio– but the river bed must be cleaned up. (…) (Page 187)
Oriol, July 17 in Orihuela (Alicante-Spain). “(…) The heroine from Orihuela headed for the rock along with her fears, similar to the ones we suffer throughout our life. George walked up the slope on a rosemary and thyme carpet that welcomed him. He was absorbed in that story chasing Armengola in the mountain who was the symbol of his female soul and happiness. And the nymphs entrusted him: –Climb quickly! Behold the deed: George, tell everybody Armengola’s truth which also lives in your heart. The wonder of a thousand and one nights. Out of the blue, George overflew the cliff on his magic carpet with Shahrazâd and the voice of his green-eyed lover reappeared, advising him to face the shadows and move on towards the truth. On the high crags, near the turrets, far away in the blackness George thought he had heard deathly chocking cries coming from the sentries which were suddenly silenced. They had been stabbed by the ancestral legend of blood and treason. My friend told me that the deadly story repossessed his mind for a moment but his spirit rejected that misfortune. Thanks to his decision he walked again optimistically under a pine tree-like balcony sheltered by barn owls and eagle owls’ melodies. And the flight of swallows and doves announced a glorious occurrence. July 17, at sunrise in Orihuela: the earth shook… and mount Oriol, fair and unbiased like Love, deployed its archangel wings within its domains. It crossed the firmament like a king. Admired on that festive day, it flies proudly feeling the lord of the valley. Heaven’s commander which inspires courage. And the town beats under its protective cloak. Fortunately, George started seeing the truth in his heart when he saw from the rock the happiness displayed by the paladins marching along parading the streets of Orihuela celebrating its festivals. Not a trace of hate and death. The crowd cheered both ambassadors of the festival. The Saracen and Christian armies involved in their festive parade for the conquest of the valley squandered elegance at which our friend peered from the mountain. Orihuela’s soul shuddered of happiness and its children vibrated to the rhythm of marches and pasodobles. And night fell after the feast. The Christian Roche poor quarter was fast asleep, without depriving heaven of such a wonderful view. The stars sprinkled their beloved children from Orihuela with orange blossom water. The balsamic scent of the flourishing orchards gave away fantastic sweet dreams. (…) (Page 170-171).(See the Festivals and Traditions section at the end of the novel/Second Part)