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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, August 05, 2017


I love the heat of Alicante in the summer. The unremitting, unrelenting nature of it. At times, it's too hot but that's often the best bit. There seems to be no escape and, just then, there's a slight gust of breeze or you walk into the shadow of a building - even more perfect.

A few years ago we went to see the Misteri d'Elx. This is a religious play, performed in the Basilica in Elche by an all male cast in Ancient Valenciano. It's one of UNESCO's intangible World heritage things. I think it's possibly the most boring thing I've ever seen - though I would urge you to go and see it. There's still time to book up for this year! 11th, 12th and 13th August with tickets on the Sabadell instanticket website.

I was reminded of the Mystery yesterday evening as we saw a trio of live bands. The crowd was bopping up and down as crowds are supposed to do for contemporary music. Lots of the young women were waving fans, I don't mean they were fans waving I mean they had fans for fanning themselves and they were waving them. When we saw the Misteri it was hot in the church, hot like the boiler room of the Titanic, infernally hot. We were on a balcony, dripping with sweat and looking down on the action. The players clothes were dappled with rivulets of sweat. The audience was a sea of beating fans. The fans were really impressive. A still audience in constant movement. The Facebook screens on mobile phones were less impressive though they confirmed my "bored to tears" theory.

Fans are not an oddity or a rarity in Spain. They're not touristy Geisha or Louis XVI coy. They're a working tool. Spanish women, and some Spanish men, fan themselves almost incessantly. I dislike it, intensely, when the person alongside starts to fan themselves and me in the process. People complain about second hand smoke, why shouldn't I complain about second hand breeze?

I don't really care for aircon either. In buildings it's not so bad and if people weren't so determined to make it fridge cool inside I probably wouldn't complain at all. Cold is nice at first. Walking from the sunlit street into an air conditioned shop can be very pleasant experience. But why are people determined to reproduce winter like temperatures? Rooms so cold that the warmth just drains from your body. Horrid. And, in a car, that horrible claustrophobic feeling that aircon produces as the torrent of cold air fights the heat streaming in through the hectares of glass. Open the windows I say with the added bonus that you'll be able to hear the cicadas sing even as you pass at 120 km/h.


Anonymous said...

"I dislike it, intensely, when the person alongside starts to fan themselves and me in the process."
Even if it is too hot?
I like it.
In the past, women used fans to say a lot of things, just opening them, closing, moving them... But I'm sure you already know about it.

Chris Thompson said...

Yep: If I wanted to fan myself I would. I don't want the person alongside doing it.