The younger child has a tooth that is so loose, she can actually close her lips with it on the OUTSIDE. Eeeeewwwwwwwwwwww. She loves walking around with that sort of Nanny McPhee look, to the disgust of the rest of us. It blows when she talks, and if she lies down, it hangs sideways in her mouth. We are entering day two of this...
Have to gloat, sorry folks, but it is so nice today... I am sitting on the balcony today writing this, in a sleeveless tank top, pants, and a red cowboy hat. The sun is so warm....The town is playing Christmas carols over the loud speakers. Strangely a lot of them are English ones. The town is alive with shoppers, last day before three kings... and the town square has a big dais and three thrones set up in it for the kings. The parade starts at 6, we'll go to watch. I'll post and let you know what happens afterwards. After all those years of white Christmases, I can love them, but I am very happy with the warm and sunny Christmases we've had of late. Mmmmmm. Getting a tan in Jan still seems like a treat, thankfully.
Got a Tortell de Reis. A three kings cake. It is a ring, looks a bit more breadish than cakey, and has candied fruit on top, and what looks like a sweet glaze. We'll eat it tomorrow, although I don't know if it is supposed to be today. Here is a recipe - can't believe I included this, but while looking for this image I found it.
The girls are reading Calvin and Hobbes aloud to each other and shrieking with giggles, while Oh Christmas Tree is playing in Catalan. I like Christmas carols, and we haven't been beleaguered by them since October, so they are still charming.
News flash...the younger daughter just sneezed out that tooth..thank god. That baby soOOAAAAaaaaarrrred across the room, got a good five feet and then bounced a couple of times. It came OUT.
Back from the Three kings, pretty weary. Went out at 6, good Canadians. Of course it didn't start for at least another hour. Spotted kids with plastic bags to hold the candy, and most of the kids had letters for the kings. We had neither. I had asked the kids to write a letter earlier, but they hadn't bothered. So once we finally found a spot where we thought the parade would pass, I had to go back for bags, paper, pens and envelopes. The eldest was irritated with us because we didn't know what was going on. On the way down we had also seen paper balls and paper lanterns, like Chinese lanterns but in all sorts of bright colours and patterns. Turns out the children carry these, little children. 2 year olds with paper ornaments, with lit candles inside. It would give every North American Fire Marshall complete kittens. A lot of the kids had made the lanterns themselves, and they were swinging them around as you would expect a two year old to swing them around. No one got hurt though.
The parade eventually appeared, and leading it were three giraffes. These were three guys on stilts, leaning on a second pair of stilts for the front legs. They also had enormous hats. Their faces appeared at the base of the giraffe's neck, just above the chest, and the entire neck and head was above it. They were very good, they had that graceful discombobulated walk that giraffes do, and they would bow down their heads and nibble at unsuspecting people's heads as well.
The kings were each on their own thrones, on their own floats, throwing candy to the masses, there were a few people banging drums. They were a band, but forget North American marching bands. This is a land that was filled with anarchists for years, of course they didn't carry cards, how could they, but there were no uniforms, nor marching in step. They played in time though. The Fire Marshall would have loved this part too, behind two of the floats there were teams of girls, about 11 or 12 years old, with flaming torches, completely open. Now you have to remember that these are very narrow European streets. One way narrow European streets; lined with small children and adults all diving into the street to get the candy that the kings and their assistants are throwing. Under the feet of these girls with flaming torches. It was quite something.
It was incredibly packed. Sort of a cross between a neighbourhood street party, Halloween, and a massive mob scene. The streets were COMPLETELY full of people. Probably half the town turned out. It was frankly amazing. The other thing that was kind of nice was that we actually recognized people! Had conversations with them!
Everyone wound up at the placa in front of the ajuntamin, the city hall, and the Kings got down from the floats and went into the church. This is the epiphany, I suppose they are actually meant to clap eyes on Jesus at some point, it was their role historically. We didn't go in to see what they did. No one else did either. Eventually they reappeared, and climbed up onto the balcony above the placa, sort of like, oh Franco, Mussolini and Hitler, addressing the masses. I pointed out that the Pope also has a long standing tradition of addressing the masses from the balcony as well. Still, I felt a bit like we were standing in an old newsreel. They asked everyone if we were good, we all said yes. They told us that they were bringing two gifts. One was tolerance, and the other diversity which we already had. I liked the message basically, but I though tolerance a rather small goal. So I would like to make my wish. Lets all try to move beyond tolerance, and instead celebrate our diversity. Tolerance is good, don't get me wrong, but I think we can do better.
After the speech from on high, they came down to their thrones, and the kids lined up to give them their letters and get a candy. After watching for a bit, we realized that the eldest was too old, but the youngest could still go. She went. I was a bit surprised, but up she went, said Hola, gave him the letter, got a sweet, said gracias, and BOOTED it off the stage. Couldn't get around to the other side fast enough. Fortunately we were about a hundred yards from home for this whole venture, and we had already established that if anyone got lost, they were to go home. We got to her before she felt the need to go home though.
Kids are in bed. There is a pot of water outside the front door for the camels, and two slippers poised hopefully outside their bedroom doors. The eldest had a small weep about going to school again, but was told to think of dogs instead. Seems to have worked. The dog is helping and we haven't even gotten it yet. Now as long as it doesn't bite anyone.
One last thing. I was checking my e-mail, and here's a scary picture, sent by my sister: