Blogs in this series

Life in Culebrón is a disconnected series of pieces about the banal and ordinary of everyday life in an inland Alicante village seen from my very British perspective.

Saturday, July 31, 2010

Gearing up for the Fiesta and Fair

This is pure conjecture.

The 10 day long Pinoso Fiesta starts officially tomorrow. The rides and stalls are already setting up in the town. Just from a quick look this morning I'd say there are fewer stalls than last year and last year there were fewer stalls than the year before.

Spain is a rich country nowadays. The IMF may say that the economy faces some serious challenges and the word crisis is still on everyone's lips. Unemployment reached a 13 year peak yesterday with over 20% of the working population idle. Nonetheless, the last time I looked we were still the ninth biggest economy in the World. In 1965 Spain was on the UN list of "Third World" countries. Quite a change in 45 years.

When I used to do Spanish lessons with a chap who lives here in Pinoso he told me that, in 1984, there was only one tarmac road through the town - in from Monóvar and out towards Fortuna - somewhere, I heard that mains electricity didn't arrive in Pinoso till 1974. I have photos of the town in the 60s and 70s. There's a mule in the street, dirt roads, poverty.

Pinoso is still pretty isolated, still a rural farming community. Imagine the annual fair and carnival twenty or thirty years ago. Stalls selling pots and pans, knives and agricultural implements. New clothes for the kids, toys, strangers in town. The fairground rides, the opportunity to eat strange food, to let your hair down.

Nowadays if someone wants a new fridge freezer or a garlic crusher they can get it in town or jump into their motor and zip off to the Aljub or Thader or Nueva Condomina shopping centres. If they want entertainment Elche and Alicante and Murcia are all less than an hour away. Terra Mítica, the huge theme park is an easy day trip.

Maybe the knife seller from Albacete, the ham and sausage from Galicia and the dodgems just don't have the appeal for the population that they once had. Or maybe I'm a foreigner and I still don't understand how Spaniards like to party.

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