Thursday, December 24, 2009

A Christmas Eve Not to Forget

Well, once again I’m spending Christmas in Spain. This is my second year celebrating Christmas without my family, and I just have to say it’s not quite the same. But I make do. This evening I will be going to dinner with Reme, a teacher at my school, and her family. They invited me last year as well, and we had a really nice evening. Not to mention, ate quite well: lots of Spanish ham, cheese, shrimp, prawns, mussels, chocolate turron, etc. I have to admit I am quite excited for dinner…I’m already hungry and it is only about 4:30 pm in the afternoon…unfortunately, dinner is served around 10:00 pm. After dinner, most people go out to the bars on Christmas Eve (and celebrate till about 6 am or later Christmas Day). You can pay to enter a bar with a cotillion (an open bar and some minimal snacks) for about 30 Euros/40 USD, or rent a salon and just meet up with friends and family (and pay about 10 Euros/15 USD for beverages). I opted out of dropping 30 Euros on a cotillion, but was invited to meet up with some friends in a saloon they rented. However, I don’t quite feel like going out and celebrating tonight, so I think after dinner I will like just come home and watch a movie. Not to mention…it’s been an interesting day and many Christmas plans have been altered due to good ole Mother Nature. Let me explain:

I woke up about 5:00 am to a torrential downpour and extremely gusty winds. Since I have been in Ubrique (since October 1), it has only rained about 8 days…6 of which have been in the past week. As I woke up to the noise of the thunder, rain, and windows clanking around, I got to thinking that it was really really raining hard…and I wouldn’t be surprised if the river that runs through Ubrique overflowed in a few areas. About 30 minutes later, I feel back asleep.

At 7:00 am I was once again woken up by the wind and rain. I looked out my window, but to my surprise nothing was flooded. Lots of puddles, but for the amount of rain fall, very little water seemed to be on the ground. Then again, it was dark…and I couldn’t see much.

I left my flat to go for a walk and pick up a few things around noon. I walked by a pub near my flat, and was surprised to see it filled with about 6 inches of water and lots of people working hard to clean it out. There was a river of mud flowing down the street. Nothing else seemed to be flooded, so I kept on walking and figured it was just a bit of bad luck that water had entered that pub. I was quite wrong. I got to the Avenida Espana, the main street in Ubrique, and there were police cars, fire-fighters, and lots of heavy machinery running around the streets trying to clear the water and the mud. I saw the aftermath, but apparently missed the two feet of water that went running down the Avenida and parallel streets from about 7 am until 10:30 am when the rain finally let up. Restaurants, bars, and shops were flooded, thousands of euros in damage. When I was walking down the street, I was walking in about 2 to 3 inches of mud, and shop-owners and bars were working quickly to clean out their properties as best they could, and cementing a barrier in the doors and windows to prevent further flooding. After all, the rain continues to fall…

The north of Spain has been inundated with rain and snow for the last few weeks; however, in Andalucia (the southernmost region of Spain) we were still enjoying relatively good weather. Now the torrential and relentless rains are making news around Europe. The south of Andalucia has been (and will continue to be ) hit the hardest…and for those of you that don’t know your geography, Ubrique is situated in the southernmost province of Andalucia…so it sounds like we are in for an interesting and very wet Christmas season. However, we aren’t the only ones, much of Granada is flooded and without electricity, Malaga is getting swamped with rain, and Ubrique, well, for now we are hanging in there with just a bit of flooding. Merry Christmas…right?!

I hope the weather is a bit better for all of you! Have a very Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays!!! I miss you all and hope the New Year brings each of you good fortune, health, and happiness! Take care! Feliz Navidad from Spain!!!! Love to all – especially Mom and Dad (miss you tremendously).

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