a wandering woman writes

Saturday, October 15, 2005

Watching Royals



Spain's King and Queen, Zapatero, the president of Spain's government, and Latin American heads of state greet very wet Salmantinos, myself included, from the balcony of the Town Hall in Plaza Mayor. The nonstop`chatter of the señoras around me was well worth the wait in the rain, which had stopped by the time my intern Christophe took this picture. Christophe views the world from a vantage point at least a foot above my own and for that reason made a fine designated photographer. My view up until the very end, when I managed to scoop a front row spot: a lot of very attractive umbrellas.

We're still surrounded. If anyone's worried about my safety, you can stop now. There are so many policeman and security teams wandering around Salamanca they've even begun to flirt with 42 year old me. Which makes me suspect they outnumber the locals.

I ran into the Queen and her entourage leading the various first ladies through a tour of Salamanca on my way back from El Arbol this morning. And I enjoyed this photo for some reason. The old world and the new: Don Juan Carlos and Doña Sofia, arm in arm, while Vicente Fox and his wife stroll good old American style (careful, my fellow estadounidenses, I'm talking continents here), hand in hand.

After I handed the camera to Christophe yesterday, I found a place to watch the action in Spanish, surrounded by Salmantinas. (All women, yes, not sure if they are just bigger royal watchers, or less likely to have to work.) Either way, thank God for them! As the long black sedans that at this moment make up all of the non-law enforcement traffic in central Salamanca snaked through the Plaza, the only clue to who might be inside was the damp flag waving alongside the antenna.

Latin American flags? Who? Me? Not a one.

But my lovely crowd neighbors called out every one for me, as we watched Toledo and Kirchner and Lula and company, and all of their strikingly young wives (whose hair and clothing won the heartfelt approval of the Salmantinas) arrive at Town Hall.

The couple everyone wanted to see - Mr. and Mrs. Kofi Annan - never arrived, although I did find it interesting that Annan was the star attraction for everyone in my little section. The woman to my right chanted "Kofi, Kofi" as each new sedan splashed its way across the Plaza. Intriguing, considering the beating he gets in the US.

What did I learn? Everything is more fun surrounded by people who are thrilled to be living in the moment. Even if the moment is silly, like standing in the rain watching bigwigs wave from a balcony. OK, and it helps if your people have a genetic compulsion to express every thought and sensation. Loudly. We ooohed, we ahhhed, then we got teary eyed as Colombian and Uruguayan immigrants waved their flags and gleefully cheered on the Presidents they'd left behind.

All of which reminds me of a story I think I will tell you tomorrow.

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3 Comments:

  • Do tell.

    By Blogger sissoula, at 8:51 AM  

  • Flirting policemen? I tell you, I must visit Spain sometime..

    By Blogger hobbes, at 8:23 PM  

  • Flirting policemen everywhere, hobbes. Sorry you missed it but sure your weather was MUCH better.

    Sadly, they're all gone now. Walk to work was dull this morning. Not a wink.

    By Blogger wandering-woman, at 12:08 PM  

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