How to behave in San Isidro
San Isidro Labrador, after getting the angels to plow the earth for him, continues to do agricultural miracles and makes Madrid really converge from all neighborhoods to the Prairie that bears his name and turns it into a fallow. In the celebrations of San Isidro everything that is not excess is frowned upon. If we talk about food, fatness, if we talk about bulls, almost a month of bullfights, if we talk about public, huge herds moving from one place to another, if we talk about music, Los Chichos. And so everything.
Party. It has several scenarios. The main one is the Prairie, where the food and drink booths, the ferris wheel and the bumper cars are installed, where to ruminate with the pibitas to the rhythm of techno or cantaditas. Then there is the verbena of the Vistillas and the Sales, where the spontaneous give the passes in the nearby bars in a wide schedule, and lots of activities here and there. It's all on this web.
Public. The different spaces of San Isidro would deserve a little attention from Unesco, so they have an anthropological reserve. It is one of the few events that manages to bring together what remains of the urban tribes that related the Madrid of the 80s with the Andaman Islands. Like them, there were Genetically pure tribal redoubts and with an ecosystem closed with their own languages and their hostility to everything that came from abroad. In any concert, the Prairie of San Isidro is filled with punks, heavies, quinquis, a kind of skins and whatever they throw. Dressing urban tribe requires a documentation effort and some people make some mistakes with styling. You can get to see an attempt of punki that ends up looking like Boy George, which makes him a little less fearsome and much less anti-system than he intended. Or that other man who strives to look like an extra "Stray Dogs" with his Adidas t-shirt of a golden blinding topped by a gold chain (say) of a big toe, but who has involuntarily become a video clipper rapper.
Chulapos There are whole families dressed as chulapos and older couples dancing treason chotis on any piece of grass. It is tender and also sometimes drag cars that are rather wagons. They are loaded with homemade food in tuppers that can be yours in exchange for applause.
The menu. The chicken coops are the star gastronomic elaboration. Everything else is mostly sandwiches of self-breaking bread with something greasy inside, morunos skewers and white potatoes that are also served in minis but which in this case should not be mixed with alcohol even if it is a vegetable and gin and tonics put vegetables. This one, no.
Drinks. The prairie booths are the ideal place to premiere when the last one feels bad, a premiere as unforgettable as a first girlfriend. The minis are large plastic cups that can contain tetra brik calimocho, a mixture half and half of beer and foam and combined alcoholics. In San Isidro they are less of leading brands than fourths or fifths. They are egalitarian drinks that achieve the feat of not knowing how to distinguish if what you have been served is El Pedal rum, La Cruda tequila or some other cleaning product.
Political booths. In Spain, in addition to voting every four years, the other participatory thing that is well seen is exercise democracy by deciding if you buy the sandwich in the house of the PP, the PSOE or the IU. It is seen that they are some popular parties in which the IU booth has a tail and the others do not, a little unlike in life.
Smells. The sense of smell is fundamental here. San Isidro smells like grease from the plates, to urine, to joint and to the level of the first burns of the year. Except in the groups of guiris, which are more than Coppertone. In the end, it does not matter either, because everything equals the smell of smoke from the sandwiches that allows at home to guess that you come from celebrating San Isidro already from the portal. Or of that, or of a fire.
Bulls. Labradors and bulls are a well-matched couple that always translates into the most important bullfighting poster in the world, they say, and the one who manages to extend the celebration of the saint beyond what is reasonable, until the beginning of June. The main merit of the San Isidro fair is to preserve traditions nationals that without it would be lost, mainly the sun and shadow and the stick in the mouth.
Groups San Isidro, Cine de Barrio and the ambulatory are the places to meet up with the great pop stars of the 60s.
San Isidro. It is holy because a thousand years ago he arrived late to the field while stopping in all the churches to pray, so the angels went down to help him till his lands and in the process they took his son out of a well. If San Isidro were here, the miraculous process susceptible to beatification would have been rather to stand by a calimocho in each booth, that Los Chichos would wait for him to start the concert and find a free taxi at the end.
* This article was originally published on May 13, 2013.
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