Monday, September 29, 2008

Lying in bed, in the white, white room at the Hotel Opera in Valencia, the husband napping fitfully beside me, the shades low and the sun burning behind them, it was everything I never did when I lived in Spain ten years ago. For one thing, one night in this hotel cost as much as one-month's rent for my little room in Edu's apartment ten years ago. All my great insecurity, living in Spain ten years ago, gone and I felt as if I'd arrived. But it felt melancholy all the same. Spain has such a strange effect on me.

We were there to watch the popstar do her thing before an audience of 65,000 - she'd given us the tickets, since she was opening for Our Lady of the Perpetual Rebranding, and we couldn't pass up the opportunity, flying down and arriving a couple of hours before the concert. Wrestling our way backstage through the clueless security, we gossiped and watched the popstar have her makeup applied in her little trailer. Not meeting our Lady of the Perpetual Rebranding, who hasn't even bothered to say hello to the popstar, not even after ten concerts.

She put on quite a show.

The popstar, I mean.

As for Our Lady, I was rather disappointed. It was like Las Vegas for awhile, all glitter and kicking and posturing like 13-year-olds, but then Our Lady sang off key. I can't abide people singing off key. And someone should tell her that she needs to cut that shit with trying to play the guitar. She looked as if it was all she could to keep her head above water because the guitar was dragging her down, down, down. We left before she was finished. To avoid the traffic.

Back at the hotel, a couple of boys recognized the popstar, gushing and almost squealing outside the elevators. We paused to take a picture for them, boy then popstar then boy, before going up to our room.

We woke the next morning far too early and after wandering around the city - the husband lived there once when he was hardly more than a boy himself - seeing the old city gate and the cathedral and the mad monstrous and beautiful buildings of Calatrava, we went back to the hotel to rest. But with the husband napping fitfully next to me in that white, white hotel room, all I could think was how different it was ten years ago, and how very good that things have changed.

The Swedish word for the day is upplevelse. It means experience.

- by Francis S.

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