¡Campeones!

It’s fiesta time round where we live.

Spain likes a fiesta, and Mallorca can boast fiestas every week of the year – somewhere on this island there’s someone having a party or celebrating something, normally with the back up of a giant paella and a lot of San Miguel. Occasionally fiestas do go on where actual contemplation of some religious meaning is attached, but they don’t tend to happen much around where we live, which may be WHY we live where we live – but, honestly, it wasn’t a conscious decision.

So we’ve been doing the Andratx fiesta scene this weekend – San Pere, the patron saint of Andratx, and many other parts of the island as well. It’s been a blast. I love a good fiesta.

I wish that I wasn’t about to make this comparison, as I want the UK and in particular, London, to get over itself and start being nice to each other again, but there is no need for the coppers at a fiesta in Mallorca. Perhaps Notting Hill Carnival, where you do occasionally see a rozzer dancing with a Carnival participant, could lead the way in this most necessary revolution. Perhaps this year there will be no knife crime, no arrests, no muggings or any of the other unpleasant and anti-social goings on that seem to happen year after year in London when more than 3 people get together….. I live in hope, as I want everyone to have the same kind of experience I had last evening, watching Spain whoop Germany’s ass (sorry mum, but there really is no other way of expressing that one) whilst surrounded by a couple of thousand happy locals who all behaved themselves, impeccably.

I remember taking my goddaughter Chloe to the Notting Hill Carnival many moons ago, and regretting it. It was not a suitable place to take a small child. It was cramped, it was scary, and it felt as if she shouldn’t have been there, as if her name wasn’t on the guest list – even though the carnival was on during the day. She would have been about the same age as G, who last night had the time of her life.

I made sure that my little one had a proper siesta yesterday afternoon, to prepare her for the longish evening we were planning on indulging in. We didn’t have a real plan, we just wanted to watch the 2008 European Championships in a big crowd and join in with the local fiesta. We parked strategically to allow for a swift exit if it all went pear shaped with the toddler, but we needn’t have bothered. When we arrived in the plaza we were immediately greeted by at least ten different people that we knew, what a fantastic way to start a party. G got stuck into exploring the plaza and checking out the punters, she was wearing her new most favourite dress which her Grandmother had sent her over, and was swinging her skirt around, showing anyone who would look.

The atmosphere in the square was….. tense, but benevolent. All of the bars were crammed as it was still too light to see the game on the big screens that had been put up. Harassed waiters were sweating cobs as they tried to keep up with the demands of their customers. Outside in the plaza a very dramatic man made a mediocre fideua (a kind of pasta paella) and yelled at anyone who stood between him and his personal tv screen set up by the side of the stage. Then it started to get dark and everyone streamed out of the bars and into the plaza. Spain played brilliantly against a side which didn’t put up much of a fight (the Germans had probably realised that it should really have been the Turks in the final, as did the rest of the world) and Spain romped to victory. Not that I saw the second half of the game as G had discovered the other part of the fiesta by then……. the kiddy part. There were a few rides to choose from all stationed (very inconveniently) on the main street of the town – hindering and irritating road users for the past four days. There was an extremely scary bouncy castle featuring Bart Simpson, and a set of trampolines dominated by some very energetic 11 (or so) year olds, and a ‘soft play area’. I convinced G that her only option was the soft play thing and sent her packing into the caged confines of pvc rollers, slides and plenty of multicoloured balls. I didn’t see her again for 40 minutes. She had a great time exploring, it was the first time that she’d ever been on or in one of those things, and I kept up to date with the score via my trusty and invaluable Blackberry.

But you didn’t need to own a Blackberry to know when Spain finally clinched the title after 44 years. Fireworks and roaring confirmed the fact. It was a bizarre moment for me, watching my daughter conquer a slide whilst Spain took possession of a title it so definately deserved.

When we made it back into the plaza, once she had finally bored of the balls, Spain were the winners. The atmosphere in the square was joyous, but not boisterous, and not scary. There weren’t hoardes of people running around being drunk and out of control, but instead there were groups of very proud Spaniards waving flags and singing.

And then the fiesta continued, a dance troupe performed the sevillanas which is flamenco, with spots. The spots come from the traditional dress that they wear which comes from Andalucia, which is a long way from Mallorca. It was the first time that G had seen this type of dancing and she insisted on watching all 40 minutes of it – standing at the front of the stage and clapping along at any opportunity. Around her circled happy football fans, happy fiesta goers, proud parents of the dance troupe, and local politicians. G stood like a rock in a benign maelstrom, unmoved except by the spectacle in front of her. The music was beat lead, passionate, emotional and the dancing was expertly performed by kids probably ten years older than her. We couldn’t (and I wouldn’t have) got her away until the last dance was over and she realised that the dancing was over. By the time we got home, a whole five minutes drive along a winding country road, she was asleep.

When I woke G up this morning the first thing she said to me was ´Good Morning Mummy’ and the second thing she said was ‘Good Morning The Dancing’.

I have a feeling my daughter is going to be a dancer.

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