It’s all around. You can feel it. It’s intangible but you know it’s there. The city, the people, even the buildings, are expectant.
You can smell it. Almost over-powering at times. Jasmine, opening in the evening to release that strong, almost sickly scent. The tiny heads of the flowers, pinned meticulously onto dried thistle-stems to make bigger flower-heads – biznagas – sold by biznagueros in their smart white shirts and red sash belts, a Málagueño tradition.
The biznaga, like the heat, defines the time of year. It is August and the shades float high above Calle Larios to offer respite from the sun. In the evening the shades trap the remains of the heat, encouraging the jasmine flowers to open and fill the street with their smell.
It’s more than just the jasmine. The stage is set …… Málaga is ready. In La Plaza de la Constitución the platform is built. In the side streets stacked barriers await deployment. Lights are strung overhead, loudspeakers are hung from scaffolding. It is almost time.
My feet take me north of La Plaza de la Constitución, into the maze of narrow alleys that contain the bars and restaurants I love. Posters announce the next week’s events. From upstairs windows drift the sounds of final rehearsals. Everything looks ready … sounds ready …. smells ready.
Tomorrow the fireworks proclaim the start. Málaga feria – big, joyous, chaotic, noisy, fast-moving yet bringing the city to a standstill.
The hottest time of year – 40 degree temperatures. But escape to somewhere cooler? No. Málaga de feria. My city is celebrating life, celebrating its very existence. Málaga is ready and so am I.
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In any case – we’ve had a week’s practice. The village feria was last week, so training has included ensuring time for a siesta, to conserve energy for a string of late nights, long into the madrugada, the small hours.
Colmenar feria is, of course, the best feria in Andalucía. Others may believe their own village puts on the best feria – they are, obviously, wrong.
Fifty lycra-clad cyclists raced up the hill from Riogordo in record time one evening. The next evening the young people raced their home-made cars down the main street trying (and sometimes succeeding) to avoid the hay bales. Children splashed in the foam-filled swimming pool and rolled around in plastic bubbles in the fairground. Horses gathered, men competed to chop wood, beer, porra, paella and embutidos were handed out freely. Neighbours sat with neighbours, late into the night in front of the stage, drinking and dancing. Colmenar de feria – a village partying.
© Tamara Essex 2013
THIS WEEK’S LANGUAGE POINT:
I’m behind with my homework. Fortunately my intercambio meetings continue through August so Jose is my “Profe #1” this month. I got really confused between sitting and feeling. Quite different, but in the “I” form, the same.
Sentir – to feel; Sentar – to sit.
No problem in the second or third person – “Te sientes feliz?” Do you feel happy? “Te sientas allí?” Are you sitting there? “El se siente feliz.” He feels happy. “El se sienta aqui” He is sitting here. Plurals are fine too. No it’s the first person singular (me) that throws the untranslatable cat amongst the proverbial pigeons!
“Me siento aqui?” May I sit here? “Me siento feliz.” I feel happy.
I guess I’ll just have to hope the two meanings don’t coincide in some inconvenient juxtaposition – something about “Could I feel happy sitting here, do you think???”