Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Dirty Museums and Baby Chicks

Day 61

I was up pretty early and after an oatmeal breakfast I headed to the Falles Museum. It was quite a walk and on the way I bought a book called The Historian. I knew very little about the museum. Just that for some odd reason giant falleses were constructed once a year and then burned on the Day of St. Joseph. One falles was pardoned for its beauty and I was headed to the museum that housed the pardoned falleses.

You might be thinking, as I was, that this was going to be quite a dirty museum, certainly not a subject for my clean, PG rated blog. It turned out that this was very far from the case.

A falla is a satirical monument made of flammable materials. The museum is compromised of the pardoned falleses since 1930. The festival itself began in the 1850's. At this time most of the falla depicted sins, or negative actions. When they were burned it was like cleansing the town of sin. Over time they evolved into their own art form. I wasn't allowed to take pictures, so the ones you see here are from the small pamphlet that I was given.

The falles put on display were huge, or at least looked it from the pictures. The ones that were saved were just pieces of bigger displays. As I moved forward in time the falla changed from young couples dancing and old couples on boats, to more commercial topics. India Jones was hanging out with a monkey, and Jimmy Cricket silently sang. Over the past 6 years or so it seems like they have moved back to their 1940's roots and more humanistic scenes were once again being portrayed.

Right across the street was the large and uber modern Arts and Sciences Complex. This was all designed by Frank Gehry, the same guy who did the Sidney Opera House. A lot of people feel that this complex is actually better than that. You could really spend about a week here alone, checking it all out. I didn't have the time or the wallet and decided to go with the science museum.

The first exhibit I found was a bunch of eggs that had just hatched, were hatching, or would soon hatch. I watched for a while, but after 20 minutes no one had really made any progress and I lost interest.

The whole museum was very hands on and it was all translated into English. I had a blast checking out my balance on different terrains and checking my dexterity. One of the best parts was when I got to confirm that I had lost as much weight as I had suspected. Yeah for the rtw diet! There was also a special section on the life of women. Everything was in English, it was fabulous!

I spent about 3 hours in that museum. When I had finished most of the other places I was interested in had closed for lunch. At the hostel I spent some time updating pictures and typing up the blog from my notes of the last few days.

The night before I had met a Brit named Vincent who was studying law in London. He decided to join me in visiting the archeology museum. When we got there they told us that we had to take a tour and to come back at 7:30. We had about 2 hours to kill. We first went to see if the nearby Moorish Baths were open, they were, but only for a group. Instead we killed the time by grabbing drinks in the basilica square.

Soon we returned and met our guide. I don't remember his name, but he was Italian and spoke only so-so English. The ruins (mostly Roman) were pretty remarkable, not for the level of preservation, but rather because the diverse time periods represented. There was a 14th century well dug into a 1st century home. It was possible to see where the forum and temples were. Our guide told us that not much had actually remained, and most of what they knew was theory, not concrete information. They did not allow pictures.

One thing about this museum was quite odd. The many displays and even movies in English made it one of the best explained museums that I had been to in Spain. On top of that we had a guide and free entrance. Why would this little museum with so much info be free while the Alhambra costs an arm and a leg and has no information at all? This doesn't make any sense!

Vincent had an early flight so he didn't join the group from the hostel for a Flamenco show. I brought only my small purse and neglected to fit my camera in it, so I have no photos of the event. The music was amazing, I kept forgetting that I had a drink and would catch my hand as it was about to drop. That's how mesmerizing the music was. No one in the group could agree if the dancer was male or female, just that he/she was only 12 years old. The whole thing is so expressive and emotional, I wish I had a video of it to put up.

I fell asleep that night with the sound of Spanish guitars in my ears.

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