Dirty dancing and flying balls in Valencia
Valencia totally kicks ass! Here's what I've been up to the past two weeks:
Marina Beach Club
So, I have no pictures of this to supplement my story, and soon you'll understand why.
There's this incredible open-air space called the Marina Beach Club. It has a gigantic sound stage, lots of open cabanas for lounging, super bougie bars, and a really Miami, party-scene vibe.
I wanted to go so badly.
I rounded up a bunch of mis amigos for our first Saturday night in Valencia to get weird. We arrived rolling 15 of us deep. The place is packed, music is blaring, people are dancing, and life is good.
We get a few drinks, boogie a bit, laugh and joke, marvel at some impromptu fireworks, and let loose. We were having a ball.
It had been sprinkling on and off all night, but nobody had seemed to mind. Then it started to rain a bit harder. A portion of the crowd sought shelter, but most of the audience stayed and swayed in the midnight mist.
About an hour later though, the sky opened up and it really started to rain -- so much so the DJ needed an umbrella to protect his equipment. Most of the club scattered at this point, opting to hide under the massive stage tent.
And then there was just us. Only a few patrons of the packed dance floor remained and a handful of my friends opted to stay and dance in the rain. We lifted our hands to sobbing sky, splashed in the puddles, and screamed with delight.
Everything seemed to go in slow motion. My heart swelled with the sound of the pounding bass, the sight of my friends soaked to the bone, and the sensation of the warm rain on my skin. I hadn't felt that carefree in a long time.
Even though the rain eventually shut down the club, and we were stranded without a taxi and had to walk for 2+ hours in the monsoon-like downpour, that was far and away my favorite night of Remote Year thus far. I would do it all again, 100 times over.
As most people know, Flamenco is a traditional style of dance that originated in Spain. Every Tuesday night at this swanky bar called Radio City professional Flamenco dancers show off their mad skills.
We watched a show and my mind was totally blown by how beautiful and strong they were. The music was incredible; it was played live by the most insanely talented guitarist my ears have ever had the pleasure of hearing.
The two dancers, male and female, were totally mesmerizing. Their feet moved expertly across the floor, clicking and stomping perfectly in time with their hands clapping and slapping their legs for emphasis. Magical.
Street Art Tour
Much like Lisbon, Valencia has a pretty happening street art scene as well. We took a tour with a local artist David De Limon and he showed us all the awesome pieces and explained the underground politics of street art and the unwritten 'code' they live by.
We then visited his studio and made our own tote bags using his signature stencil style.
We got to meet the professional players in the locker room before the game, all of whom were 21 or under except for one player who was my age. We got to ask them all kinds of questions while they were getting ready.
We learned it takes them an hour or more to tape their hands, depending which position they're going to play. They all started playing when they were 8 or 9 years old, and love the game because of the sportsmanship. Because there are so few of them, they play with and against each other constantly. One day they might be teammates, and one day they could be opponents. There is also only 1 referee, so much of the game relies on the honor system for the players to own up to their own mistakes.
The craziest part (aside from the fact they smack a super hard ball around with their bare hands) is that some of the spectator seats are on the court. I really mean on it, as in, inside the legal playing area.
When you sit there you're handed a seat cushion meant for your butt to be used a shield if the ball comes flying at you. Which it does. A lot. And even if it does hit you, the ball is still in play until it hits the floor of the court.
There were some casualties. RIP Becca's shoulder & Henry's thigh.
This past weekend we took an awesome bike and boat tour of the L'Albufera Wetlands. We learned all about how the wetlands are indeed freshwater but connect to the ocean, so it's considered a lagoon and not a lake. The whole area is quite flat of course and has dramatically shrunk in size over the last few hundred years.
We biked through the lovely landscape to soak in the sights of beautiful flora and fauna, the coastline, and the lagoon. We hopped on a boat and had a picnic on the water, visited a bird sanctuary, and then biked home. I haven't biked in years and my butt was super sore, but it was a perfect Saturday with so many of my friends!
It was bound to happen eventually, but I was hoping it wouldn't be this soon. Before we even started riding our bikes on Saturday, I dropped my phone on the sidewalk and then someone in my group accidentally ran over it. Needless to say, the screen is smashed and totally unresponsive.
So, I went to the store this morning to try to figure out my options and the outlook is pretty bleak. I'll write more about this later when I find a solution, but in the meantime email or Facebook message me to get in touch.