Carnival, also known as Mardis Gras in the States, is a fantastical time when people dress up like they’re little kids enjoying Halloween in the States, binge drink alcohol, listen to live bands that march through the crowds, and basically have a grand time. So, naturally, seeing as there was a large Carnival celebration just a short 80 minute train ride away, what young group of students wouldn’t want to join the party?! On Saturday, February 14th, instead of celebrating Valentine’s Day, or Single’s Awareness Day as I like to call it, a group of us threw on our costumes and headed to Cadiz bright and early.
When we got into Cadiz, it was still fairly early in the morning. And, of course, like the majority of Spain, most of the restaurants weren’t opening in a few hours until the early afternoon. After walking through the city a bunch trying to find some food, we found ourselves by the beach, which kept us busy for a while. We just walked down beach-side street enjoying the view. After finally finding a restaurant that was partially open (they couldn’t cook food, but they could pull together cold-meat sandwiches, etc.), we got some lunch, or as I like to say, we created a base. Then we found a grocery store to get some snacks and, of course, like any classy, poor college student, a box of wine for each person. Who doesn’t love a good, 80 cent box of dry, red wine?! Boxes of wine in hand, we made our ways to the beach!
The last time I had a beach day was when I lived in LA, so obviously it was a much needed afternoon. Listening to the waves crashing up against the beach and then receding back again and again is definitely one of my peace zones.
After a few hours of beach time and everyone finishing their boxes of wine, we started seeing people dressed up in ridiculous costumes. I’m talking about everything from Waldos to bears to Duff guys to flamencos, and based on the fact that we each only had one box of wine per person, we were pretty sure they were real people in costumes and not just figments of our wine-infiltrated minds. So, naturally, we decided to follow the costumed people because they were probably headed to the good parties.
And, while it may have been a little creepy and stalkerish of us, it definitely worked, because we found ourselves in the midst of a celebration in full-swing with dozens of people filing into the centers every minute. What was an empty plaza in front of a grandeur building not 6 hours ago was full of people enjoying an adult beverage or 6 and singing along to a music blaring from speakers and playing from bands marching through the crowds.
I had decided to dress up as a pilot because I already had a nice suit and basically just needed a pilot’s hat, and I had people right and left asking me where our plane was going, etc. I even had three young ladies who were dressed as flight attendants come up to me and say they were my flight crew as they asked to take a picture with me.
What a good time. I only have two regrets from the trip. One is that I wished my puppy, Korra, could have been with me to play on the beach like the other dogs we saw. The second is I wish we would have booked our train back a little later in the evening and because we had to miss out on the true party. Ahh well, it’s probably for the best that we weren’t there when the night got truly crazy! But, don’t worry, the party still continued on the train ride home! An older gentleman broke out his kazoo and was playing a melody as his wife and a couple of their friends joined along. What a perfect example of Carnival: it doesn’t matter what age you are, anyone can be a child again and enjoy life!