Sunday, January 20, 2008

Sevilla Drag

They say the third time is a charm. Who exactly They are I have no idea. I don't even know what They look like and couldn't even know it if They passed me on the street. But in this case at least, They were right on the money. I had been in Sevilla on two earlier occasions and for the duration of each visit, the Spanish rain which is rumored to stay mainly in the plain was pissing down on us. It was to be my third and final visit to Sevilla, where we would spend a night before catching an early flight to Paris. We took the early bus from Almonte on Monday and sometime after morning tapas and before lunch, we arrived in a warm and cloudless city. We checked into the hotel, where for a mere forty euro, we could upgrade to a suite. I decided that after almost a month in a very small single bed that my feet hung off of every night, I was ready to do some dreamtime travelling. I love that. Nothing like a big bed that allows for endless moving around durning the night. Small beds make me feel confined and constrained, and not in the sexy "I'm all tied up and helpless" kind of way, but in the Jodie Foster locks herself in a panic room kind of way. I have not been in a bed that small since I was a babe, wrapped in swaddling clothes. Everytime I wanted to turn over, I had to wake myself up and carefully turn, adjusting the blankets and more importantly, making sure I didn't end up on the icy floor with a broken hip due to poor maneuvering. At my age, one can never be too careful. So anyway, there I was at the check in desk with the prospect of a big bed and I just could not resist. I caved in and handed over the forty Euro. We ran up to the suite, threw our bags inside and headed out into the day.

We were on a mission. Sevilla is a beautiful city with a wonderful mix of Spanish and Muslim architecture and that all provided the perfect backdrop for our quest. We had only a few hours to find and secure for ourselves a Nintendo DS Lite. We had been looking everywhere and everyone was sold out. Whenever we asked, they looked at us with the sad eyes that told us in a way we could not possible misinterpret, that we were losers for not already having one. The cool people had stocked up before the festival of the Three Kings, young children where already engaging in wireless play trying to save one princess or another and here we were after the fact trying to find just one. After hitting every El Corte Ingles, FNAC and Media Markt, we gave up and decided to visit the cathedral that dominates the city. We visited the tomb of Christopher Columbus and climbed the bell tower. I had an instant urge to play Quasimodo and ring one of the bells. I could actually reach whatever that dangly thing in the bell is called, and was just about to throw it against the side of one of the smaller bells, but Manuel begged me not to. Something about maybe getting into troube and thrown off the tower or into some dungeon somewhere.

On that note, it was time for some lunch and I decided to expand my culinary experience with a small order of Cola de Toro, which translates to "Tail of the Bull". If there is one thing that does not happen when I look at a bull and that is gazing on the tale waving to and fro thinking "what a yummy dish that would make!" But it is quite the rage in Spain and I didn't want to be left out. It was at our favorite lunch place under the watchful yet non moving eyes of Manteador - the bull mounted on the wall above us - that I tasted what just might of been a tale of one of his distant relatives. I looked at it, gulped, broke into a bit of a sweat, took off a small piece, expecting to spit it out into the napkin and popped it in my mouth. I guess that is why They say to never judge a book by the cover. I couldn't gulp it down fast enough. I immediately felt more Andalusian, more butch than ever before, which was a it of a change from just a few nights earlier.

Let's rewind to Friday night. Edu picked Manuel and I up and we heade into a rainy Sevilla for a boys night out at Paseo, the local drag bar. I don't care for drag, never have. I don't see the point. I did go to a few shows in Barcelona, where the drag is so bad it like watching an Idols audition. Lip-syncing to songs for which they don't know a single word and they prance up and down, opening and closing their mouth in that oversized whitney Houston sort of way. But as they don't know the words, the merely look like walking guppies in too much makeup and abd wigs. First up was some tiny thing in last years hairstyle failing miserably at being Beyonce. Even in Spanish it was a huge failure. Next up was a cross between RuPaul and Wesley Snipes. It was all very "Too Wong Foo" and I am sure when Whitney dies, she will turn in her grave. But then came the most amazing one. Rolly polly, in a pink sequined dress that was just sizes too small and a pink wig that looked as though it has been made from unwashed silly string singing some sort of aggressive punk or new wave song. who knows. I was stunned and couldn't move. I searched the previous hours events and didn't remember taking any illegal hallucinogenics and realized this was all actually happening. One thing I just don't understand when it comes to drag and talent show auditions. Where are the friends and family in all of this? It wasn't only my opinion that the plumpy pink person was horrible, but everyone else in the place had looks of pure shock on their faces. Why don't their friends and/or family sit them down, look them in the eye and gently tell them something along the lines of "you suck!" Instead, their loved ones watch them humiliate themselves.

Note to friends: If I ever decide to put on a tacky dress, horrible shoes and bad wig, or try out for any reality shoe, please shoot me or at the very least, have me committed.

But that was not the highlight of the evening. Nope, we would be graced by one of the brighter stars on the Flamenco horizon... Juan Calero. As I mentioned before, I love the show "Se Llame Copla". We all watched it in Spain and of the 10 contestants, there was one we all loved to hate. And as the show was a much different type of competition, contestants were not voted off each week. This was more of a running competition, and so the heart could get fonder and fonder of disliking certain people. And the one we taunted, teaed and laughed at the most, was Juan Calero. He was so completely flambouyant when he tried to sing, and I say tried because he often forgot the words of the songs he was crooning. When the judges start to give their feedback and points, he clutches the invisible strand of pearls around his neck and waves hs face in a very Aunt Pittypat kind of way. We all laugh and poke fun. All of us. Everyone in Spain it seems. Everyone that is except Manuel's mom. She adores him. He's her favorite.

So, there we were at Paseo, trying to recover from having ingested too much bad drag when Mr. Calero himself walked in. Manuel saw him first and soon we were all making jokes. Remember, I don't speak Spanish, but this was one conversation I was fully included in. It didn't require words, just facial expressions and culvulsive shivering of the body. I told Manuel he should be the model son and go get his mom an autograph. He was too shy to do so. That is until our Flamenco star whipped out a stack of postcard sized picturs of himself that he had made (there as no logo or any mention of the show) and started signing and handing out. I almost fell on the floor laughing and soon my stomach was so sore I thought I might have to throw up. It was just too funny. Undaunted Manuel ran up and got his mom a postcard all signed and dedicated to her. It was too much for Edu and I to handle and as it was just after 3:30 am, we decided it was time to head for the disco where we would spend the next couple of hours shaking our groove thing. We were greeted by a Pamela anderson look-alike. Well, what Pammy would look like if she were a Spanish man with too much lip liner in a tight little black number and a blonde wig that needs to be placed in a recycle bin where it can be reborn and experince a more fulfilling life as a condom or garbage bag.

But all too soon we were saying goodbye to Manuel's family, Sevilla and finally Spain. We boarded our flight for Paris in the ignorant assumption that our holidays were winding down and our adventures were coming to an end. Just a few days left and we would be on a flight to Delhi.

That's what we thought...

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