One of the most important things getting here was figuring out the cell phone situation. I’d like to think of myself as not cell phone reliant or one of those people who can’t function without their cell phone but I cannot deny the usefulness of having the internet at your fingers. Especially if I plan on wandering around until I’m lost and needing to find a way back home. (Thank you Google Maps!)
Fortunately, unlike the United States, pretty much everyone everywhere else uses WhatsApp for all their communication purposes. Which means I don’t even need to have minutes or texting. Let’s be real, I don’t want to be on the phone with someone. I mean besides the fact that I literally don’t like calling people then the conversation stalling and figuring out how to say good bye….which is why I usually go for the abrupt “I’m going to go. Bye.” And don’t wait for a response. You should hear me when I hang up on my parents….but getting off track. Also, to have to deal with understanding someone in another language over the phone, where the connection might not be the greatest or I don’t have body language to help me understand…no thank you. So Jew instincts pushed through for the win and I saved some $$$ by just getting data. I literally switched to iPhone just over a month ago and it has been a beautiful thing with this trip. All I had to do was pop the sim card in and I was set. I can even iMessage or Facetime people from home.
In conclusion, I get my cell phone set up. And one of the first things was getting added to the rugby group. Pretty much the first thing I see in the rugby group is a bunch of girls are headed to a concert Friday, who wants to go? Asking for a few more details, they send me a clip of the band, which seems rock/metal, right after practice, they’re driving. Sure I’m in!
So we all shower right after practice at the showers next to the pitch…and by we all showered, I mean all the shower heads were in the same room, and everyone was butt naked….which apparently is just a chill thing here. In college, several of the girls on my hockey team did that, just was a bit of a surprise…yeah.
Since I take 5 seconds to shower, this time may have taken even less, I was one of the first people ready. So they throw me in Ari’s car. We’re doing a caravan to get to the concert, so we wait on the side of the road for the other girls’ cars to pass to join the caravan. They honk their horn at us and off we go. They are speeding through the streets and at that point either I’m going to die or we’ll get there safely, in g d’s hands. Seriously, they were not being respectful that we were following them at all. Some cars got between us, they shot around the corner and we lost sight of them a couple of times. I was beginning to think that some random car honked at us and we just started following them. Ari had the same thought and was trying to get a glimpse of the driver as they turned the corner, but to no avail as it was dark. They’re finally driving up this sketchy road and stop at this garage. Ari starts to get out of the car to tap on the window, but then some guys get out of the car, so she immediately stops and gets back in the car and takes off. So now she’s asking me to call another girl to tell her we got ourselves lost and that we’ll meet them there. The other girl doesn’t seem to be answering as I hand the phone back to Ari, and fortunately she answers, we get the address and somehow make it to the concert alive.
Now remember, we just got out of practice, I’m hungry. Some of the girls want to just get drinks, but no, I need food. Ari and I end up splitting this Potato torta, which is delicious and apparently everywhere. I am not upset by that concept. They served it with yuca there. Yuca is like a tasteless potato. When I was in Peru, my host family served yuca with practically every meal. By the end of my month there, I had grown to hate the thing. Since it’s pretty tasteless and I was hungry, I ate it – let no food go to waste – but I can’t say my dislike for it has disappeared after 4 years.
I found out at the bar that we were just randomly seeing some concert in Bilbao, one of our teammates, Maria, her band was performing. It was awesome how the team moved practice early and a bunch came out to support her.
We went down pretty early as the band was setting up and testing. One thing that I do hate about here is the smoking. I mean yeah, I’ve been practically living in NYC for the last year with the amount that I go into the city, but at least I don’t have to deal with the smoke inside venues. And boy oh boy were people smoking. When I got home, I felt disgusting and could smell the smoke in my hair. People were lighting up cigarettes on the dance floor.
The first band was a bunch of guys, and yeah it was metal with some growling and yelling. I felt right at home thanks to my friend bringing me to his gigs and metal concerts back at home. Thanks Mike! A little bit of head banging and I was amused to see some people hitting each other as if to start a mosh pit. Actually Ari also in the middle of our group was crazy dancing and we had to keep pushing her back in the center as she hit us like a ping pong. Unfortunately a mosh pit didn’t really start for real so I had to be content with doing my own thing that didn’t involve hitting other people. (It’s a good thing I play rugby, eh?)
The second group was Maria’s band which was awesome. One of the songs even had some English in it and I heard a verse I recognized. They looked like they were having a blast on stage and the energy was felt in the crowd. It looked like the drummer’s grandmother even came out. She snuck up through the crowd (I was a little scared for her as she passed this couple that was doing their own mini mosh pit) then she got to the edge of the stage and waved excitedly at the drummer. When the drummer finally looked up and saw her, she smiled broadly and her grandmother looked so excited.
And for the first time this trip, my not being able to go to sleep early, because time adjustment and not doing a great job forcing my body to get exactly on the early to sleep early to rise schedule, worked in my favor.