Thursday, April 23, 2009

An evening of culture.

Whilst we were in Callosa, Eduardo asked us if we would like to visit one of the secondary schools in Orihuela rather than have a Spanish lesson on Thursday. Keen to avoid the possibility of work, the majority voted to go to Orihuela.

If you were asked to prepare three events to fit in with the theme of a cultural week, what would you come up with? You might consider a trip to a museum or an historic building. On the other hand a demonstration of ancient crafts by artisans might spring to mind. Whatever you thought of would not come close to our experience yesterday.

For the first session, we were shepherded into the school gym where we were confronted with a guy who was either going to turn out to be Chemical Ali or Johnny Ball. He was either going to blow us all up or amuse us. P1000854

Fortunately his intention was to amuse us with the type of experiments that science teachers would perform when they wanted to show off. The guy was well prepared but did show scant regard for health and safety in handling potentially dangerous chemicals. For example, he accidentally blinded a poor girl with his first demonstration by spraying ethanol into her eye. Hopefully, her sight was fully recovered before she went home.

For the next session we were taken into the more comfortable surroundings of a lecture theatre. At the front was a rather scruffy looking man on a chair. We really weren’t sure what to expect having just survived a session with the mad scientist.

What we got was a half hour lesson in relaxation therapy. Try to imagine a room full of silent Spaniards, all with their eyes closed listening to the soft ones of a man’s voice. I know it sounds unbelievable but that is what happened. As a Spanish lady behind said, “he’s got the whole world asleep”. It didn’t work for me though. Straining to understand what he was saying, meant that I was far from relaxed.

To be honest, my first thought was that he might be trying to hypnotise us so I deliberately kept my eyes wide open to avoid going under. I recall seeing a stage hypnotist in France once; there was no way I was going to end up at the front standing on one leg braying like a donkey.

Then we moved on to the cafeteria for refreshments. In the middle of the room were three tables groaning under the weight of food. Seeing that amount, I imagined there was more than enough for a crowd twice the size. No , no, no – apart from being loud, the one thing Spaniards are good at is demolishing a table of food and they don’t have to be invited to get stuck in. Within five minutes there wasn’t a crumb left on a plate.

Suitably replenished, we were invited to attend the third session where apparently we would be told about hypertension and have our blood pressure taken. Like the News of the World reporter in a brothel, we politely made our excuses and left. We’d had enough of ‘culture’ by then.

What can I say to sum the evening up? As cultural experiences go it was certainly different.

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