18 October 2007

And Now....La Tomatina Part 1

Since I have taken another holiday and not yet documented the folly of la Tomatina- here goes....

Tomato throwing begins at 11 am. We took a 7am train filled with other tomato throwers. There were men in tuxedos, a fat man in a wedding dress,people dressed like cops,people in togas. (Note to self, plan a team 'theme' if you attend again)The train was as packed like a sardine can, people sitting on floors,on laps, wherever there was a random space. After 1 hour of jostling and bumping, we arrived. Bunyol is truly ( no disrespect intended) a little nothing of a town that comes alive one day a year, then goes to sleep again.

There are places to stow your clean clothes and rucksacks ( well worth the small fee!). Stands popped up with T shirts to commemorate the throw,food and drink to sate you,but curiously no postcards. Maybe the typical thrower ( which would be Australian apparently) is too frugal to buy a card. maybe digital cameras negate the need. We found a spot to sit and ate a sandwich before heading into town.

As we headed down the hill in a sea of strangely dressed folk, 2 caught our eye. A matador and a Spanish seniorita were filming everything. Both were men and the seniorita has the funniest fake teeth in his mouth. He picked up our friend Jim and spun him around. The buildings in the town center were covered in plastic and window shutters were closed. They knew what was coming. Did we??

In the edge of the square was a greased pole about 20 feet tall with a ham on top. The throwing could not begin until someone, anyone got it down. Men and women gave it a go, but the thick white fat slathered on the pole all knoched them off. There were other people climbing a coconut tree nearby which was more humorous as they got up quite high, then splintered the bejesus out of themselves as they slid down. There must be a local 'ringer' for someone climbed up just before 11 am and got the ham down.

Soon the crowd bean to get very loud, those in the front saw the brightly colored trucks each with over a ton of tomatoes in them. Locals sat on the top of the trucks and threw the tomatoes into the crowd. Let the melee begin!! Each truckload was good for about 5 minutes of no holds barred fun!! You threw at your friends, at bald heads, people that had annoyed you on the train, whoever you could hit in the TIGHTLY packed space. We were glad to be wearing the goggles ,it got messy and ugly. In between the truckloads of tomatoes people began throwing hats, shirts ( those HURT!!) even a bra or two was tossed around. The fire department hosed us down with their fire hoses, it cleaned the salsa off and cooled you down in the incredibly packed crowd.

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