Saturday, November 08, 2008

We remember..

“Beams up G.”

“Beams down G.”

“Beams up immediately G., as soon as the passing car is away. And slower on the turns please, it is slippery and these narrow roads can be dangerous in the dark!”

I had maybe a 10 cm. between my knees and G.’s driver seat. P. had a little more comfort on his side of the back seat, but I was already too busy drinking the mixture of 4 different red wines with that delicious port wine. I was not afraid of the road. We could handle G. I was afraid of the wine that could give me a headache next morning. Thankfully, it was the right mix.

The bloody GPS did not do us much good. We were drawing circles round and round somewhere in the country side. G. felt the anxiety. I opened a window. The smell of evening cow shit and fresh air... I took a deep breath. Shame there was no weed in our possession. There was cow shit and a good mix of wine. A car whizzed by our trunk 50 Mph as G. took a sudden turn to the right, disregarding basic traffic rules. We were almost bashed to the pavement. We calmed him down.

“No rush G. Thanks for this great wine mix and the road trip anyway!”

We parked a mile outside the town. Roads were closed down to vehicles a few hours ago already. A nice stroll down the hill where we parked the car prepared us for the action. The main problem was the rain. I don’t like umbrellas, I had no hoody jumper and my short-short hair only helped the rain dribble straight onto my back like rivers downstream with no barriers or dams to stop them. I did not even have a chance to shiver as a thunderous firework lit up the rest of the sky.

Now, there, we got excited.

We rushed into the city, surpassing the younger crowds by an old pub and stood by the side of the main road. People paraded down in costumes of vikings, witches, prophets, the deceased, the butchered, the butchers, crucifix; all in an order of militaristic perfection, threatening us standing too close to them on the edge of the road with their torches blasting in front of our nose. A natural hair-dryer, only if I had more hair. Red and orange dominated the scenery, and the massive house made a corner at the edge of the street where the parade faced us and turned into the uphill road. The edge of that massive house with its white painting reflected the purples, blacks, violets, maroons of the make-up, the costume and facial expressions of the parading group. This was a well-organised entertainment.

“Thanks, G.”

There were 5 bonfire events after the parade, spread evenly around this small town of few thousand people. That few thousand was multiplied a 10-fold tonight for the special evening, remembering Guy Fawkes or the Parliament that never blew up. Whichever you like. We went to the bonfire by the riverside.

A 20-meter high, 15-meter wide pile of woods. When it was burning, we were the closest to it. From 30 meters distance, there was no way you could face the ‘biggest oven’ I have thus far seen in my life. A girl next to me asked for a lighter. She could easily have touched her cigarette on my face and smoked me up.

Cracking sound of the woods joined the cheering crowds and the plop-plop of the pouring rain. The mud on our shoes and our jeans... Never minded. A New Zealander, a Venezuelan, a Brazilian and me.

Before midnight, we needed to head back. As we were crossing back over to the other side of the river, fireworks began on another part of the town. We stood still on the tiny bridge, joining another couple, 3-4 local teenagers and 2 guys in their coloured jackets. As the patterns of the fireworks danced in the sky, the reflections on the small stream at our feet shook with ease in the smallest of waves. A parading dance of lights on the water. Beaming lights, cracking fireworks. We remember the 5th of November.

Special thanks to G. and the others for the blasting entertainment.

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