Sunday, September 25, 2005

Human castles and other (smaller) challenges

Today is one of those days when I really wish I spoke Catalan. I’m watching the human castles on TV as I write this: it’s really quite an amazing thing. I’d like to understand what is being said on the TV so I have a better comprehension of how the castles are made and what the builders say to eachother as they form them. A large group of very strong men pack in tightly around a central group of three men who are clasping arms. The man at the base are packed right up against eachother, with people in the center to stabilize the structure. It’s very carefully choreographed. All the builders seem to bite on their collars; I’m assuming that this practice helps them exert themselves entirely to the incredible strength that the building requires. Anyway, the structures are built in layers of usually three primary people, and once the first layer is densely packed the second layer begins to form. This layer also consists of a group of people supporting the central structure of three. Upon completion of the second layer the tower moves quickly. Very slim, increasingly smaller and younger people form the upper layers, and their bodies shake with the effort of balancing while supporting the layers above them. One person shouts directions from the ground. The people in each layer climb up the bodies of the lower layers to stand on the shoulders of the people below them. Once layers of about 7 people are reached, two children climb to complete the top: one kid crouches on the top layer of two people, and the other kid perches atop the first kid. But as soon as the last kid reaches the top, s/he thrusts her arm in the air and immediately starts sliding down the people below her, disassembling the structure as quickly as they can due to the incredible stress on the lowest levels. Everyone involves is so agile and strong and quick! What an amazing sight! There are many false starts, and the teams seem to help eachother out despite the competition – once a team reaches a height the other teams take turns trying to beat it. Sometimes the entire tower shakes as knees buckle and I am probably getting a better view of TV than I would get in person, but it certainly isn’t as fun as being there.

Since I don't have any photos to share, here's a link with one:

Todd took Bebe to the Gaudi park (Park Guell) without me today. I have an enormous headache and stayed home to rest. I think that carrying the baby and our gear all over the city every day is exhausting me. My body aches everywhere – even my fingers hurt! I was having chest pains for a while, but I think we determined that it’s just muscle pain – probably from the baby carrier or from swimming. Woe is me – such a tough life it is to live the life of leisure in Barcelona!

Anyway, the time and quiet also allow me to catch up with the blog and maybe even do a little crafting. I have a lot of photos to upload and haven’t had much success with posting them lately – either the program or our slow, sporadic connection are making it very difficult. Sorry there aren't any photos recently. There are lots on the computer, but I can't get them uploaded to the blog!

Yesterday we made another trip to the Picasso museum so Todd could have a quick look. Then we went to the beach for a little while, and later we went out for a walk and to find something to eat. Poor Bebe didn’t get to bed until almost 9 pm and took an unprecedented two-hour nap today as a result! So I guess I’m not the only one who has been worn out.

I’ve been working on a style post. The people of Barcelona have such flair, but it’s been difficult to capture it on camera. I’ve missed some fantastic outfits, but I’ll try to post some photos if I can get the upload to work.

One of the castles just fell – couldn’t tell if anyone was hurt, but it was frightening to see.

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