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Observations on a New Life in Spain

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El Parque de Perros/discoteque (dog park)

7 May, 2009 (08:14) | Living in Europe | By: admin

My new routine is to wake up and take Quixote and Haka to the park, first thing, no coffee – nada. So far this has worked, Quixote is learning to pee and poo outside (for the most part). He likes socializing with the other dogs.

Here is a photo of him sitting obediently with his 5 best canine friends from the park:
img_2993 Quixote is the tiniest dog.

There is a regular set of characters who hang out in the park with their dogs; there’s Montse who has five well behaved dogs, there’s the Basque guy with the beagles, there’s our friends Sara and Ricardo with their 2 (spoiled rotten) dogs Cip and Kira, and other regulars whose faces and dogs I recognize, but do not know their names.

It is Saturday. This morning Montsei says to me, “We’re celebrating Oriol’s birthday tonight (owner of a big, brawny, white bulldog) . About ten of us are meeting for dinner at the Palestine place on Calle Verdi (in our neighborhood).Would you like to join us?” I accept. One of Mark and my motto’s when we moved here was to “accept all invitations” if it is possible. We have succeeded in connecting with people as a result. Tonight is no exception.

I return home and tell Mark. At first he says,”What are we going to talk about? They’re all Catalan. Do we talk about our dogs? I say, “I’m sure they will speak Castiliano for us. Let’s go!”

So we do. It is really fun seeing everyone all dressed up, no dogs. The Angelina Jolie lady sits across from me. She is married to Miguel, who is Basque. Oriol is turning 33 years old. Drinks all around.
1)View of group, Montse first on left. 2) Oriol the birthday boy turns 33. 3) Oriol and another dog owner whose name I still don’t know, 4) Cecilia with Montse behind her.

Mark and I have a yummy lamb mustafa stew and engage in fun small talk. Surprisingly, the topic of dogs never arises. Instead we talk politics, films, tv, art… I am proud of Mark, who is seated next to two people and not directly across from me. He is conversing easily, and I can hardly remember back to when he spoke not one word of Spanish just 2 years ago. We are a motley (and typical in this country) multi-generational group, varying in ages from early 30’s to the grandmother next to me in her late 50’s.

Dinner ends around midnight, and they say, “Shall we all walk to the disco?” I am surprised and delighted to learn we have a discoteque in our neighborhood, literally 2 1/2 blocks from our front door! Mark and I have often in the past mused out loud how the only thing missing in our neighborhood is a discoteque, and voilĂ !

The music starts out groovy techno but progresses to a kind of salsa fusion pop which all the ladys know the words to. The crowd is a multi-generational mix of druggies, local neighbors, girlfriends and later on a gay contigent arrives – it is the perfect colorful mix by around 1:30 am. Mark and I leave our lively group at El Dorado Disco at around 2:30.
1) Some of our group at the disco. 2) On the dance floor
1) Montse with birthday boy 2) Oriol with yet another dog owner from our neighborhood
Meanwhile, here’s a couple photos of the morning after, of a few of last night’s revelers letting their dogs socialize while they recuperate from hang-overs on the sidelines. Evidently everyone stayed at the disco until around 5 am and then headed over to Miguel and Cecilia’s for another few hours.
What a great neighborhood Gracia is!
Dog park hang-overs plus Quixote and Cher the greyhound.