This past weekend was a quiet one. I ordered a book that I was dying to read, so I spent most of the weekend engrossed in its pages (I assure you that once I finish it, it will be reviewed here!). Though we entered the weekend with no special plans thanks to my nerdiness, as Matt and I left Gibraltar on Friday evening and saw the glittering lights of the fair in La Línea, we decided our laziness could wait. That’s right – the fair was in town and I didn’t want to miss out on a chance to explore the similarities and differences of a Spanish fair to the ones I’m accustomed to in the States.
We arrived at la feria around 9:00, which was much earlier than Spanish families planned to arrive. They would come much later and stay at the fair until the wee hours of the morning…with their children. The late dinners and subsequent hours spent out and about has to be one of the most obvious cultural differences to what I’m familiar with. Therefore, Matt and I were some of the first to arrive at the fair. We went straight for food, because it was way past dinnertime for our grumbling bellies. Out of all of the options, we had the largest hankering for a kabob – this ended up being the best idea of the night, because it was the most delicious thing I’ve eaten in a long time! A kabob over here is different than what you probably have in mind: the meat smokes on a turnstile, which is then scraped onto a tortilla and filled with an assortment of options. We ordered a chicken kabob with shredded beetroot, carrot, cheese, and two sauces – a hot sauce and a creamy garlic sauce. After smoking all day, the chicken was tender and juicy with incredible flavor and the shredded beetroot and carrot also made for a perfect compliment to the overall flavor. I was in food heaven!
After dinner, we strolled through the fair while our food digested. I was eager to ride a few rides, even though my counterpart wanted nothing to do with them – his trust for carnival rides is completely non-existent since they are assembled almost overnight. I, however, watched as hundreds of kids fearlessly hopped on even the largest of attractions and said to myself, “if they can do it, so can I.” That lasted for about 15 minutes and one terrifying upside down, spinning contraption later. While hanging upside down, red in the face, screaming bloody murder, and praying that the supports wouldn’t fail me, I could see Matt taking pictures and laughing his butt off – yeah, he got the last laugh. I returned to solid ground with shaky legs, demanded a cocktail, and resigned myself to the fact that I’m getting old and I’m just not quite as fearless any longer.
We then spent the rest of the evening in relaxed, enjoyable fashion. We secured delicious mojitos and procured a Spanish fair favorite - buñuelos. Buñuelos are basically miniature donuts that are made right in front of you and topped with whatever you’d like. We added powdered sugar to ours in an attempt to duplicate an American fair tradition – funnel cake. These buñuelos were fantastic! As you wait in front of the stand, they drop the mini donuts into the batter and in minutes they move across a conveyor belt, flip to fry the other side, and come out looking perfectly golden brown. Yum!
After I’d “taken the edge off” from my terrifying experience on the upside-down dealer of death with buñuelos and the mojito, Matt and I played some games. Now, the Spanish seem to really love their bingo, because every other stand was a bingo game. Crowds of people would purchase their board and a Spaniard with a microphone would yell out the numbers. Behind him was a mountain of prizes and the spectators just loved it. We tried to go for more traditional games, like the skee-ball horse race, but everyone was so into bingo that we couldn’t get enough people to even play! Sigh. We finally found Matt’s favorite booth, though – a target shooting game. For those of you who know us well, you know Matt’s love for going to the shooting range, and that our first date was that exact activity. So, he was in heaven working on shooting out the red circle in the middle of the target. Not surprisingly, I was the only one to walk away with a huge stuffed animal in the time we spent at the booth.
Alas, our evening came to an end because I had to use the restroom and every single person we asked said there were none at the fair. For real?! I looked at all of the children sucking down soda pop and wondered how they managed. It was a fun evening and certainly worth a few hours on a Friday night. Yesterday, I saw huge cranes taking apart the large rides and resigned myself to the fact that the next time the fair rolls into town, I may just stick to the food and the kiddie rides.