Madrid Gay Pride Fiesta
Trip Start May 30, 2008
49Trip End Nov 02, 2008
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Friday morning I went on a walking tour of Old Madrid. I love walking tours, they give you the lay of the land and a taste of the amazing history of a city. Then I succesfully navigated the supermarket and stocked up on supplies. I´ve picked up so many words just in the few days I´ve been here, including important ones like cervasa, vino, fiesta (beer, wine, party), and the majority of people I speak to are really lovely and helpful.
After a siesta (love the naps!) I hit the Prado Museum. Not the best one I´ve been to, even though it´s supposed to be amazing. I don´t think Renaissance art does it for me, and if I see another painting of Jesús on the cross in serious pain, I might scream
Then, on my way back to the hostel, I was very nearly robbed. The street was not crowded at all and I had a lock on my backpack, but it wasn´t done up properly. I felt a tugging feeling and when I turned around, a girl of about 15 had her sneaky hands in my bag. I pulled a way and she just walked off, looking at a tourist map as if nothing had happened! Lucky escape for me.
Saw a really good busking idea on the way back too. When traffic stopped at the lights, a guy ran out with juggling balls and did an amazing routine for about 30 seconds, then ran to the cars in front of him with a hat to get coins. Much better than the annoying window cleaners in Sydney.
That night I headed out to the gay district for my first taste of Gay Pride. My god it was amazing. The gay suburb is a little square of funky streets similar to Brighton or Melbourne and it was packed with rainbow flags and thousands of people out for a great time
Until the next morning. Woke up quite early to go to the toilet and jumped down from the bottom bunk ...onto a ladder that had been left on the floor from one of the beds. The metal pieced my foot and left a massive blood blister about the size of a 50c coin on the bottom of my heel. Blood was gushing, I was crying, thinking i´d have to go to hospital, wouldn´t be able to walk, would have to get the whole thing amputated - disaster! The hostel reception woman was quite unhelpful too. I showed her my foot and she gasped. Then called about 3 of her friends around to look so they could gasp and shake their head. Had to wait until 10am til the pharmacy opened, then acted out my injury to him. He seemed to thing it´d be ok so I bought some antiseptic cream and bandages and rested up the whole day.
That night I decided to stuff the foot and go out to the Pride festival regardless. And god I´m glad I did! The parade was so huge, apparently 500 000 people were in it. It was not as organised as Sydney´s Mardi Gras - no barricades, no police, people swarming everywhere, but that was part of the fun. Me and an American guy I met at the hostel watched it for a while then joined in, behind a big bus pumping music. Every time the buses stopped, the crowds cheered me to hoop it up with a big cry of "hooooolaaaaaaaaa". Had a slight wardrobe malfunction when I did a head duck out - my wig partially came off. A hush came over the crowd and someone yelled out "ella es rubia!!!" -- ´"She´s a blonde!!!" I just cracked up laughing, shook my hair out and kept going and they clapped me on.
I paraded and hooped for about 3 hours, made so many new friends and had a blast. Got chatting to some cool Madrid guys who were dressed as SuperGay superheros and headed out to party with them. Drank sangria and mojitos all night, and every time I broke out the hoop a huge crowd formed around me. The Spanish love the hula!
My foot´s not too bad this morning but I´m not going to push it. Will lay in the park and read my book, I think, then onto the village of Toledo tomorrow.