Party Party, Political Party
San Sebastian, Spain - (map)
Spaniards love to party.
Three days in San Sebastian and all Ive done is sleep in and stay out late eating tapas and drinking beer. What a life.
It is Sunday, but the only Sunday suits that I see are the blue and white stripped shirts of San Sebastian's soccer team. Today's match between San Sebastian and Bilbao marked the start of the season, and as you can imagine, people started the party early. The streets below my pension were echoing with the sound of revelers by the time I woke up and by 2 PM, the street had grown into a miniature Mardi Gras - with loud music, random fireworks, bawdy singing, and trash covered pavement.
But this is Basque country, home of a strong separatist movement. Today on my narrow street alone, Basque separatists hung banners and a vendor sold separatist t-shirts from a nearby stall.
The people rally behind their Basque team as an icon of independence. So soccer is more than just a game. It is a chance to make a political statement.
Forty-five minutes before game time, the large drunk party organized into a political march and walked from the old section of San Sebastian to the stadium en masse. They chanted slogans, threw fireworks, and flew the red, green, and white colors of their nationalist flag.
I followed the parade along with my friends and got caught up in the moment. With so much energy and excitement, it seemed just clean fun. But the movement's violent side is responsible for many deaths, including two people here in San Sebastian just a few days ago. So maybe it wasn't the smartest thing to do. But what could be safer than hanging out with the terrorists themselves - at least I knew I was safe from bombs in their company.