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Old 29th June 2010, 09:12 AM   #1
Davehodgo
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I have been living in andalucia for a year and a half and i am currently learning spanish and trying to integrate, i eat spanish food watch spanish football etc.
Has anybody else experienced this? i was recently at the fiesta de san Juan in Benalmádena and went down to the beach for the festivities and firworks etc. I observed everybody running into the sea at midnight and was enjoying the night.

then suddenly my Britishness came rushing to the surface, i´m sure most members here know this already. The locals assembled around fires on the beach and one by one ran over the fire (bare footed) and some rolled over the fire.
I heard myself saying to myself "this would never happen in England" and i was actually wincing at thre thought of somebody tripping up and falling head long into the fire.

I was later informed that this was a tradition of young men showing off to impress young ladies. So re-adjusted my thinking, they have been doing this for years and they will continue.

i feel sometimes that as a Brit (and i love my roots btw) it is so ingrained into me to be health and safety concious and dare i also say PC, that i have to renew my thinking when it comes to living in Spain.

doesn´t matter how much i intergrate i still feel like the foreigner from time to time, which of course I am.
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Old 29th June 2010, 09:39 AM   #2
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Quite true. I'm guessing you don't have kids over here !
- I took our daughter to one of the Town Hall Sponsored Water Fights / Fiestas over here last year. Barefoot kids dodging around generators and compressors, jumping off bouncy castles straight onto the tarmac, broken glass and dog mess everywhere.
- Did anyone get hurt ? NO - maybe us Brits just worry too much and don't credit people with having enough common sense to be able to look after themselves.
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Old 29th June 2010, 11:07 AM   #3
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I am sure the throwing of sweets into the crowd during the Tres Magos would not be allowed in Britain. Might put someone's eye out, don't you know? Something I have never heard of here. Britain has become so H&S concious and PC that I doubt I could return. I would probably break some silly rule or offend someone's sensibilities within the first five minutes of arriving.
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Old 29th June 2010, 11:56 AM   #4
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yes i think you are right with that. No i dont have kids yet, i am a newlywed but what i like about Spain is that we do not have all these rules and yet the children are really cater for in Spain.
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Old 29th June 2010, 12:00 PM   #5
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yes richardska you are so right i forgot about that. plus i was at a friends daughters birthday party and they all stand under a box of sweets (filled up with boiled sweets etc) and they pull on the ribbons to have the full contents land on top of them. I am sure some council in Britain would ban that too!

I am not anti Britain but i am shocked how engrained the british pc culture has infiltrated what i percieve to be dangerous.
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Old 29th June 2010, 12:35 PM   #6
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It seems to me that the Spanish kids and their parents have a much more relaxed view to potential dangers on these occasions. Generally the parents are not stupid about risks but are much less inclined to wrap them up in cotton wool (figuratively speaking). I've been at a few Cabalgatas de los Reyes when the kids launched themselves virtually under the wheels of the floats to get the sweets and its even more exciting at any of the fiestas with correrfocs. Fireworks going off horizontally along the streets, firecrackers and loads of kids following the flare-carrying dimonis. Great fun and something which would never be allowed over here.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Correfoc
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Old 30th June 2010, 03:18 AM   #7
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Originally Posted by Davehodgo View Post
yes richardska you are so right i forgot about that. plus i was at a friends daughters birthday party and they all stand under a box of sweets (filled up with boiled sweets etc) and they pull on the ribbons to have the full contents land on top of them. I am sure some council in Britain would ban that too!

I am not anti Britain but i am shocked how engrained the british pc culture has infiltrated what i percieve to be dangerous.
Are you serious? Here we put the sweets in a paper-mache critter, blindfold the kids, and turn 'em loose on it one by one to whack at it full strength with a baseball bat until that sucker is destroyed. You DO want to stand back during this process! (And we're not even Spanish.....)
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Old 30th June 2010, 05:23 AM   #8
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Fair enough comments about not wanting to wrap kids up in cotton wool but you should try talking to some doctor friends of mine who have to deal with the burns suffered by children while playing with or near fireworks.

"Barefoot kids dodging around generators and compressors, jumping off bouncy castles straight onto the tarmac, broken glass and dog mess everywhere."

Sounds a whole heap of fun...I suppose you're exaggerating to make a point?
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Old 4th July 2010, 05:08 PM   #9
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for me its all about balance and common sense. we certainly need health safety rules, but not stifling ones like we had in the uk. I was a youth leader and the amount of paperwork involved in taking children away on a daytrip was just well over the top.
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Old 4th July 2010, 07:00 PM   #10
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IMHO Much of it is about insurance. The eagerness to sue when things go wrong means that people who deal with the public have to cover themselves against anything going wrong & punitive damages.
Even in Spain it has hit the fiestas with more and more rules being introduced about bull running (new rules about crowd barriers, age limits of participants, insurance cover), firework displays (size of fireworks, safety zones etc) and other public activities.
The immediate result is probably that there are less of these type of events and that those that remain become more expensive to put on - which in current economic climes accelerates the decline as local authorities run out of money.

Last edited by greytop; 5th July 2010 at 06:50 PM. Reason: typo
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Old 5th July 2010, 01:34 PM   #11
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thats spot on greytop although i have nothing to compare it too as i have only been here for a year and a half. however its still rather refreshing than the redtape we have in the U.K although the Spanish authorities rather like their red tape when it comes to filling out forms etc.
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Old 5th July 2010, 05:09 PM   #12
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Fair enough comments about not wanting to wrap kids up in cotton wool but you should try talking to some doctor friends of mine who have to deal with the burns suffered by children while playing with or near fireworks.

"Barefoot kids dodging around generators and compressors, jumping off bouncy castles straight onto the tarmac, broken glass and dog mess everywhere."

Sounds a whole heap of fun...I suppose you're exaggerating to make a point?
I Never, ever, ever exagerate - ever ! - poke my eye out and beat me with a big stick if i do.

Well ok, maybe I was labouring a point, but actually not by that much, as I'm sure anybody living here in Spain might imagine. The point I was attempting to make is that the Spanish actually seem to allow their children to be just that - children.

One of my Spanish friends also told me that a common philosophy was to give the younger children the freedom to 'find themselves' and this sometimes comes across as younger kids running wild. Whereas Brit kids of a similar age were usually a little more controled, it is often the British teenagers who rebel, and the Spanish ones that didn't seem to run wild quite as much.

- That's not my observation by the way - just what one of my Spanish mates was commenting one !
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Old 7th July 2010, 09:56 AM   #13
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he makes a lot of sense though.

Would it be true to say that we feel safer walking past a bunch of young spaniards than a bunch of Brits the same age.

or is that just to much generalising?
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Old 7th July 2010, 12:43 PM   #14
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Would it be true to say that we feel safer walking past a bunch of young spaniards than a bunch of Brits the same age. or is that just to much generalising?
I was walking along a pavement recently when I came face to face with a bunch of leather wearing, pierced and chain dangling youths. They occupied the entire width of the pavement and walked with the swagger that says, "We own this place". Yet, as I got closer two of them stepped out into the road to allow me to pass and begged my pardon for getting in my way. This, I am sure, would not have happened in the UK!
My local plaza is festooned with idle kids who have nothing to do. Dangling their lazy bodies off the grafitti strewn paublic benches. Very reminiscent of when I was that age. One of them was my landlady's son and as I walked through the plaza I called out an "Hola". Two of the kids actually stood up and wished me a "Buenas ..". How well educated. They might look like yobs, but their up-bringing shows through - or is it the thought that a friend of their abuela might be watching. The very threat of "Abuela" in this house brings the most rebelious kid to heel! Interestingly, it's always grandma, never grandpa, that brings on the trembling in fear!
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Old 8th July 2010, 09:18 AM   #15
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yeh you are right, even last night with the amount of people out celebrating it was all good natured and the police were quite relaxed and everybody had a good time. Not many drunks and if they were it was pretty harmless. a breath of fresh air really.
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Old 20th July 2010, 03:40 AM   #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dimonió View Post
It seems to me that the Spanish kids and their parents have a much more relaxed view to potential dangers on these occasions. Generally the parents are not stupid about risks but are much less inclined to wrap them up in cotton wool (figuratively speaking). I've been at a few Cabalgatas de los Reyes when the kids launched themselves virtually under the wheels of the floats to get the sweets and its even more exciting at any of the fiestas with correrfocs. Fireworks going off horizontally along the streets, firecrackers and loads of kids following the flare-carrying dimonis. Great fun and something which would never be allowed over here.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Correfoc
All practitioners of the "fire culture" (correfocs, cordà, fogueres etc) are hoping the authorities won't ever apply the EU laws about security distances... According to the EU, there should be at least 15m (~50 feet) between the fire and the audience.
Does anybody think these would still be fun from that distance?

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Old 20th July 2010, 05:45 AM   #17
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The very threat of "Abuela" in this house brings the most rebelious kid to heel! Interestingly, it's always grandma, never grandpa, that brings on the trembling in fear!
I had a Puerto Rican professor once who brought our attention to that very same cultural phenomenon one day-- in Puerto Rico it is the lady of the house who is expected to have the steely backbone, while the men are expected to be emotional and histrionic and unable to deal with stress. Apparently this came up when his wife called his father to tell him his son was in the hospital -- his mother then proceeeded to call him up in the hospital and demand to know why that white woman had nearly given his father a nervous breakdown, and didn't she know better than to unload that kind of information on a helpless man? She should have called the mother, and then let HER break the news to the dad the right way!
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Old 5th August 2010, 05:23 AM   #18
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Australians say "whilst" too?
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