Saturday, August 6, 2011

The Calm Before the Storm

The Descenso international canoe race is today (Sat, August 6).  The race starts in about an hour and a half in Arriondas.  The finish is in Ribadesella about an hour later.

The party had already begun Thursday night.  The streets were busier than usual and it got pretty loud by 10PM.  The festivities included a band playing in the main plaza from 11PM to 6AM.  It was a hot day so we had to keep the windows open all night.  No one slept terribly well because of the music and the noise of the crowds.

Mid-afternoon yesterday, Friday, we went out to see the preparations.  Friday was to be even crazier than Thursday night.  Storefronts were boarded up.  Restaurants had closed, except a few, and bars were being set up on the streets.  Many bars had speakers and disco lights.  There was even a bar and food stand just in front of the church, the doors of which were also blocked off.  We could see that a great big, crazy party was about to begin.

Isabel's office (L) and door to her other apartments (R)

The end of our street on the plaza.  Casa Gaspar is open for food but fenced off.  And we noticed the prices were up by a couple of Euros per plate.

San Miguel and his friend, Jesus!

Boarded-up storefronts.  It really looks like the town is preparing for a hurricane, not an international race event.

Our Café Bergantín closed except for the huge bar being set up outside.  Sara, August and Oliver say hello to Carmen and other staff.

Mónica and Adrian preparing.  Mónica is taping up the storefront next door so no liquid (of any sort) can be thrown (or propelled in any manner) through the grating.

A three-sided public urinal.  Blech!

We crossed the bridge to the Playa Sta Marina side to see the action there. 

The finish line, where the judges stand.

Tents everywhere on the river island, by the building where August and Oliver had their canoe course.

Tents in a grassy area between the road, restaurants and apartments.

Tents set up in the schoolyard of the middle/high school.

Tents in between parking spots at the west end of Playa Sta Marina.  Notice the large dumpsters at the left.  They are also placed throughout the town.

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