Last night a group of us went out to Café de Duende, a flamenco bar. It was located in the Carmen neighborhood, which is where most of the artsy-alternative things go down. This place was nestled in a quiet end of the street and we were all excited about going through the beautiful red doors. The crowd in the bar was a lot different then the crowd we usually are surrounded with. It was a bunch of older-hippy-electic people in this small café. The music and dancing didn’t start until about 11.30 or 12am and the place was packed. The lights were dimmed and then the music started playing. I don’t know if you have ever heard flamenco guitar, but if you haven’t, you need to. Its a mix of laid back chord changes and bass notes but the finger picking is mind blowing. At first, just the guitarist and the singer were on stage (which was basically a wooden step in the middle of the room) then the percussionist and floutist came out. They jammed for a little bit before the main attraction arrived, the dancer. She was absolutely gorgeous. Long black hair tied in a bun, long legs and arms, dancing fingers, a black dress with ruffles that would spin out when she moved. She danced while telling a story and used her feet as an intrument all at the same time. Some of the rhythms that her feet were playing where extremely complicated and difficult. They did 2 sets that lasted about 2 hours in total. I was completly in awe of the music and the dancing.
I realized las night that my favorite cultural aspect of the Spanish is how passionate they are. When they cook, they cook. When they teach, they teach. When they party, they party. When they dance, they dance. When they love, they love. Its such an amazing thing because you can just see it in their eyes. It is an aggressivness that I wish I could take on because I feel like it would be a very rewarding aspect to adopt. It was funny, the other day Kara and I went shopping. Wow, they were so pushy! They don’t browse through clothes, they hunt for clothes. Long story short, we were extremely unsuccessful in our shopping endevours.
Today, we went to Xátiva, a city about 30km outside of Valencia. The main attraction is a castle that sits above the whole city. The hike up to the top was a little exhausting but the views were SO very worth the trip. We got to explore the grounds for about 2 hours. Little Xátiva history for ya, it was founded during the Romano period and blossomed under the rule of the Arabs who made it a paper manufacturing city. During the War of Succession, Philip V of Spain ordered that the city be burned. In memory of Philip V, his portrait hangs upside down in the Xátiva museum.
All in all, beautiful city and a great day with the group! Now, I just need to decided if I want to go out tonight or not. Oh the decisions…