- -  Day # 108  + +

EU > Spain > Torrevieja

!Viva la Fiesta!

Torrevieja, ES (View on map)

Although Spanish people love the sun, they do not like it everywhere and all the time. Whenever possible, they try to keep the sunlight from entering into their houses or offices. Every house is equipped with blinds, and people are happy to keep them closed to spend their days and nights in the dark. Somehow, all activities seem to take place in the dark, while the sun just invites people to be lazy. Spanish nights are famous around the world ? a good reason to ask around and see what happens after the sun sets.

Susana (26):

`No need to get into a Spanish discotheque before 3 in the morning`
Starting at midnight
Susana (26), photo tells me that late dinners make it unlikely that people will go anywhere before 12 o`clock. Even at that time, it will only be a pub or another place to socialise. Spanish night life only starts at the time pubs in the UK usually close their doors. A typical night begins with a tour around different pubs, before ending up in a discotheque around 3 in the morning. Arriving earlier doesn`t make sense. You may be able to get in for free instead of paying entry fees of 10 to 20 euros, but you will be sad and lonely until the crowds arrive.

Young people living with their parents or studying in university are likely to skip the phase of socializing in one or several bars. They instead follow the Botell?n tradition, a generally accepted form of collective drinking by youngsters. Botell?n usually takes place in parks or around an audio device, but at least around some bottles of cheap alcohol. Since the evening doesn`t start until very late, many young kids are allowed to get back home much later than other European children of the same age. Students and late-teenagers stay on the streets until they move on to the discotheque, where they oftentimes only consume the one drink that is included in the entry fare.

Authorities have recently expressed their worries about the Botell?n phenomenon, but a general ban has proved hard to get accepted. Massive protests and demonstrations throughout Spain clearly showed to which extent students and adolescents are attached to their tradition. Nevertheless, statistics recently issued about the city of Madrid show a downward tendency in alcohol consumption by teenagers.

Second stage
Sylvia (28) explains that the Bottel?n is not something that people keep doing when they start living on their own or finish their studies. In both cases, that does not necessarily happen at a very young age. Many students stay with their parents if they see a chance, their parents are likely to pay for the studies. People often reach the age of 25 without having had a job or a place of their own, which makes the differences between the stages of studying, working and moving out even bigger than they already are.

People who consider themselves more grown-up choose to go to different pubs or tapas bars to start off a night out. They do not sit down when enjoying their drink or snack and conveniently throw any rubbish or cigarette tubs on the floor. Cleaning will only be done at the end of the evening, making the amount of mess on the floor a good indicator of the popularity of a place. The best bars can be recognised by crowds of noisy people who jump around in the mess that sidelines the bar.

Anyway, at three o?clock in the morning, most establishments close and the masses move themselves to discotheques. No need to try and talk in there, because the music is too loud. Apart from dancing, the discotheque is a venue for meet-and-greet. Francisco (31) tells about the role patterns men and women are supposed to observe. Man invites woman for drink, woman choses to accept or not, man expects woman to say yes to subsequent proposals he issues, with the possible end result of close physical proximity in either one`s bed. Accepting a drink and saying `no` to further proposals or avances is not very well-perceived. Most girls therefore kindly reject to be offered a drink or at least think twice before they do. Regardless, Francisco says that having one-night stands in Spain is easier than finding a suitable boyfriend/girlfriend.

Drinking in the discotheques however only comes second to dancing. Spanish people like to move and often see dancing as distraction from everyday life. Time is not a factor to take into consideration. People stay out until they get tired and tend not to think about the next day. They will not have anything planned for the morning, and when they get home, they close the blinds to sleep until they wake up the next day. Customs change as people grow older, but it will decide about how often they go out rather than how long they stay out.

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