Friday, January 18, 2008

Cada Caca!

San Sebastian is getting ready for the big blow........the yearly city festival. There is a definitely buzz in the air.....a 60 cycle background humm. Cops are roping off parking on all the downtown streets. Delivery guys are wheeling carts of food and booze into the Parte Vieja. The city sound system blasts recordings of the March every few minutes.

Amanda is dreading the next 72 hours. The sound of the March gives me goosebumps......I am like an old firehorse when the fire bell rings: "Let's go!"

San Sebastian......the real name is much easier to type.......celebrates being overrun by Napoleon back in the early 1800's. It may seem weird to celebrate losing a battle.....but not if you have the long, Basque view of history, and not if you have the extremely dry Basque sense of humor and irony. Yes......Napoleon won back then. Say.......what happened to that guy anyway? So, hjow is that French economy doing anyhow?

The, women and kids.....all form into marching bands and costumed clubs. There are chefs, milkmaids, and variious kinds of random Napoleonic soldiers in uniform. Squads and sqauds of them.

Back in the day, it quickly developed that the French could not venture safely out in public. The Basque women were highly skilled at skinning lambs.....or Frenchmen. Usually, the lambs were dead first, however......and the Frenchmen never were. Napoleon's boys holed up in the Citadel on top of the mountain above the Parte Vieja, and ventured out only once a day to the city well for water.

When they came out, they came in force.....and accompanied by drums and music. The Pas de Charge.....the march that preceded Napoleon's attacks all across Europe....was so terrifying to local yokels that oftentimes opposing armies just ran away upon hearing it. In Donostia.....not so much.

The milkmaids, etc would march in step behind the French on the way to the pump, beating in time on empty flour kegs or milk buckets......completely mocking and humiliating the invaders.

The whole process is repeated over and over for 72 straight hours.......just outside our hotel room. Yippee! Alcohol is involved in minor ways.....I know you are shocked. part of getting the town ready for the invasion, there was a big public debate on local TV today about dog poop.

Donostia dogs are the best behaved dogs on the planet. Everyone has a dog. There are no leash laws, because the dogs don't need leashes. They just walk with their people, and patiently wait outside shops and bars until their people have finished whatever dumb human things they think need to be done. Today I saw a 12 week old golden retriever puppy.....calmly walking alongside her master in the middle of insane rush hour leash in sight.

Meanwhile, the streets these dogs walk on are pristine....they are not paved, they are tiled. Every night special city Zamboni's come along and wash and polish all the streets downtown. (For you ignorant f**ks who grew up without hockey and don't know from is an ice cleaning machine invented in Azusa, California back in the day to clean and smooth ice).

The problem this weekend is that the Zamboni's will be overwhelmed by the volume of Cava (i.e. champagne) bottles and won't be able to keep up with the normal dog poop deal.

I am a regular habituent of Carmel Beach.......and a dogophile. Xabi, my grandpuppy is even in the Carmel Dog Calendar this year. In Carmel, when your dog poops on a two mile beach regularly washed by the grand Pacific.....a properly prepared person already has a City of Carmel issued pooper scooper to scoop the poop and after the beach walk.......ready to deposit in an official City of Carmel trash can.

Not so in Donostia.

No one picks up poop.......that is what the Zamboni's are for.

So.......this busy weekend only......while the Zamboni's are otherwise occupied scooping Cava/champagne bottles up from the immigrant drunks (present company possibly excepted)........the City of Donostia has issued special sticker/flags to all the little old ladies.

The flags say "Cada Caca!".....which translates to "Every Poop!"

Rather than Scoop the Poop.....all the LOL's have to do is stick a tiny flag into the poop to warn passersby and to target the poop for the beleaguered Zamboni operators........

No.....don't worry. Tomorrow I am ordering a few thousand stickers......and the T-shirts.....

Cada Caca!


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