Welp, I’ve moved back to the Old Part once again. It’s loud, racous, and the sheer quantity of sorority-girl voices I hear passing beneath our balcony makes me feel like I’ve up and moved to Milledge Avenue. After a warm and cozy welcome from friends and boyfriend and then a smarmy roommate situation, I packed up my suitcase (yet again) and I now find myself on the corner (yes, balconies overlooking two streets!) of loud and louder in the heart of San Sebastian’s tourist-bar-nightlife-wonderful neighborhood. Of course on Saturday nights there are sometimes drunk teenagers blocking the front door who seem indignant at being asked to scoot aside, but the gentle hum of life in the mornings, the salty air blowing in from the nearby port and through the streets, the bar downstairs that plays R.E.M. nonstop: it all makes for a lovely, albeit noisy, backdrop where I can finally put down some roots and stop living out of a suitcase.
There’s always a lot of action going on in the Old Part, especially on the wide and picturesque boulevard that separates this little corner from the rest of the city. Just the other day, as I was on my way to meet the chef I’ll be working for during the next few months, there was a veritble United Nations of activities going on. On one end was a troupe of shirtless Brazilian men flipping and leaping their way through a capoiera demonstration; marching through the streets was a group of traditional Basque musicians with trumpets and flutes blaring; and on the other end of the Boulevard (but before the immense children’s fair) was an encampment - with a tent - of women wrapped head to toe (or should I say, loosely draped) in yards and yards of colorful cloth while their male counterparts, along with Basque comrades, staged an all-day manifestation for Palestine, terrible political hip-hop included.
And then, suddenly, the ground began to rumble as if with an approaching stampede. From around the corner came a Viking ship’s worth of giant long-bearded men, each commanding an enormous Harley Davidson. They sped down the Boulevard, roaring past the strollers and scooters, with expressionless faces and devil-may-care helmet-less-ness, in a display that brought a small tear of pride to my apparently patriotic eyes.