Thursday, December 15, 2011

Nochevieja Universitaria Salamanca

This one was crazy. A quick background, "Nochevieja" is the New Year's Eve celebration here in Spain. It is celebrated much like ours is in the States, except that when the clock strikes 12, with every chime of the clock everyone tries and eats one grape. Any leftover grapes mean bad luck for the coming year. Now, there is this thing called "Nochevieja Universitaria" here in Salamanca that is only a few years old, to my understanding. But, it marks the end of the semester and takes place on December 15th. It's a huge production, with tens of thousands of students coming from all over the country to count down to midnight and to celebrate the end of the semester. There's the background. I went out after my cafe-concert at En Vivo, which was amazing on several levels. Tangent: the highlight of which was concluding by singing "Silent Night" and asking everyone there to sing it with me in their own languages, which included German, Italian, Portuguese, Spanish, French, English, Chinese, Swiss, etc. It was absolutely amazing, and one of the closest moments in my life to what I think heaven will look like. Anyway. I went out with a group of folks and surprisingly enjoyed myself. My assumption, going into the night, was of course that it was going to be a debaucherous night full of young kids doing stupid things. I was mostly correct. But, it was such a festive feeling, I really enjoyed it. The plaza was full and the kids were drinking like crazy. The marketers made good use of the situation. I kept thinking to myself how much I would have liked to be live blogging what I was seeing. So, here. A retrospective live blog:

Pinchos at Cuarto Gatos. A quick pork loin sandwich and a Grimbergen to set the mood.
Everyone is wearing santa hats. This celebration is confused.
Just got to the plaza entrance. We show up at the exact moment that they stop handing out the free gummy bears.
Got a santa hat finally. When in Rome...
It's wall to wall in here, and pretty dark which makes pictures a challenge.
Girls love being in pictures.
I keep running into friends. When European guys are drunk, they get really emotional and touchy.
Friends Ale and Adriano decided to put me on their shoulders. Once I get there, I'm not really sure what to do with my hands.
There's a guy on stage shredding on an electric violin while LMFAO plays in the background...
Coca-Cola has the advertising for this thing on lock: giant inflatable Coke cans that are being bounced around the crowd like beach balls.
The hype team gets on stage to say something about how great the sponsors are and various things to get the crowd to yell (which isn't hard - everyone's drunk).
And the countdown begins, though I missed the first few chimes due to a distracting presentation. So much for good luck.
We get to twelve! Happy December 16th!
More pictures, planning things out, saying goodbye. More drunk friends being really touchy.
My hat gets knocked off and is immediately covered in beer or piss or wine or whatever the ground is soaked in. So much for that souvenir...

And, I eventually take my leave, kiss cheeks, take a few final pictures, and head out. The streets are a mess and there are people everywhere. I wouldn't want to be part of the clean-up crew. But, I made it back home with a great memory and a unique experience if nothing else. This was a wonderful farewell night, to be sure.

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