Over the last few days, the village has been celebrating yet more fiestas.
The main car park area by the river is given over to candyfloss and hotdog stands, the usual stalls selling tat, a bouncy castle or two and a few traditional funfair rides.
It’s all pretty run of the mill stuff. There are dodgem (bumper?) cars in two sizes, a couple of Torito Salvaje rides and a Canguro Loco. (I guess the first is a Spanish equivalent of a bucking bronco ride for kids, and the Krazy Kangaroo is a fairly standard kind of octopus ride.) Then, of course, there’s a carousel with painted horses and other fantasy creatures.
But one thing I don’t think you’ll see in the UK is the pony carousel. (The Spanish use the word pony to refer to shetland ponies.)
The ride had space for seven animals, but there were only half a dozen this year. These patient beasts were lined up like a chain gang, or a group of slaves awaiting an auction, while the spare framework hung there leaving you to wonder what had happened to the erstwhile occupant.
(The ride is deserted in that photo as the fireworks had only just finished. I think the ponies were actually one of the more popular attractions, at least among the camera-owning parents of very small children.)
It reminded me of the donkey wheel that operates the well at Carisbrooke Castle, though now I’ve looked, that is more like a vertical hamster wheel, which looks far worse than the memories I had from when I visited back in the Sixties.
I can’t decide whether I was glad to see the pony carousel, although the animals looked in better condition than they did when I last saw them a couple of years ago. I don’t know how they were affected by the fireworks, but they seemed to put up with the strobing lights and thudding music without complaint. Even so, and even remembering how much I loved donkey rides on the beach as a kid, I can’t help but feel ambivalent about their presence at the fiesta. It can’t be the ideal place for any animal.
There was a distressing piece (i.e. don’t click the link if you are sensitive about cruelty to animals!) in Sunday’s El Mundo, about horses being abandoned because people can’t afford to feed them because of la crisis, as the recession is called here in Spain. I guess I should be glad that the owner of these six ponies still finds it worth his while to keep them fed and fit for work.