Picture of the Week

5 May 2014

Week 18: Vistahermosa and Santa Faz

Filed under: — Administrator @ 08:37

According to the original plans, last week’s pictures would have been from Singapore and Jakarta, where I was scheduled to lead a workshop for ASEAN economists Monday and Tuesday. Instead, I spent a good part of the week in the Clínica Vistahermosa with a painful case of acute diverticulitis. Altogether I was hospitalised for 6 days, from Thursday night of the preceding week to Wednesday of last week. So there are pictures from the hospital, but also some post-liberation images of local festivities.

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Once I had stabilised and the pain was controlled, I was told to walk around, but at the same time I was not supposed to leave the floor, so I tried to make something out of nothing and photographed the hallways:
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Like a real prisoner, I would walk to the window at the end of the hallway several times a day to look at the view outside:
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The worst part was that during the first four days, I was not allowed any food or drink. The only thing I was allowed to ingest orally was half a glass of water a day to take a pill. Otherwise, it was all IV. Needless to say, I was getting increasingly hungry and started to fantasize about food. The view from my window did not help matters, even though I usually do not frequent such places:
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I saw many nurses during my stay, but especially this lady was nice and always smiling and singing:
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And this guy was the last nurse I dealt with–he removed my IV on Wednesday morning in preparation for my discharge:
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My wife picked me up from the hospital, and later that afternoon, we drove to the supermarket to do some shopping. I am on a strict low-fibre, low-fat and no-booze diet, but fish are very much allowed:
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On Thursday, my wife and I rode our bicycles 4-5 km to Santa Faz, a monastery which houses a piece of cloth supposedly used to wipe the sweat off Jesus’s face on his way to the crucifixion. Each year, the second Thursday after Easter, a huge procession takes place, covering about 8 km from the cathedral in the centre of Alicante to the monastery. The relic is taken out only this one time a year, and a mass is held. This year, approximately 300,000 people participated in the procession. So I wanted to go and have a look, and a light ride like this fit in very well with my recovery programme.

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Towards the end of the pilgrimage, people queue up to receive a commemorative tile. Many houses around here have these tiles around the front door:
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This young girl felt very important, having been enlisted to help distribute the tiles:
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Another queue, this time to enter the church visible in the background:
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The mass is ending:
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The mass has ended, and the relic is carried back inside the church where it will remain until next year’s Santa Faz pilgrimage:
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The people who live around the square have a privileged view of the proceedings:
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Afterwards, the older pilgrims find a place to sit down and eat a badly needed sandwich or other snack (the procession starts at 8 a.m. and ends around 11 a.m.):
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In addition to the religious aspect, Santa Faz is about eating, drinking and having a good time. In fact, this aspect is probably more important than the religious bit for a majority of the participants. The streets surrounding the monastery are completely filled with stands and people milling around:
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Grill:
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The ubiquitous lottery vendor:
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Faces in the crowd:
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Another face in the crowd:
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For the young people of Alicante, Santa Faz is an excuse to have the biggest botellón of the year. They start the party already in Santa Faz, and then around noon walk to Playa San Juan, about 3-4 km away, and do the serious partying there. The shopping carts are used to transport vital supplies:
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A baby stroller can also be used:
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Body paint, usually using thick black markers, is an important part of the ritual:
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About six hours later, my wife and I went to Playa San Juan (only 2 km from our home) to have a look at the aftermath of the giant party. Even though it looks chaotic, it was all well controlled, and the “regular” tourists looked bemused at the mess:
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Twin setup:
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Things are winding down at this point:
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Left behind:
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Thursday was also Cheeta’s 13th birthday, so the obligatory photo with a candle was taken. Instead of cake, she got some healthy mango sorbet:
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Candle removed, Cheeta can get down to business:
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On Friday, I cycled a bit further away, 10 km to the harbour of El Campello. It was a nice spring day (they are all nice spring days now) and there were people in and on the water:
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The fish auction house in El Campello, ready for that afternoon’s action:
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Virgin Mary and baby Jesus watch over the proceedings:
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On Saturday, we were out cycling along the beach again. Here are two playgrounds, one for children and one for adults. It is unusual to see a chiringuito open already in early May. Normally they are allowed between June 15th and the end of September. But this year, because Easter fell late and brought many visitors, the municipality allowed some of them to open early:
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On the way home, we stopped for my wife’s usual pre-lunch beer at a bar on the beach promenade (I am on the wagon these days), and I took a few pictures of the children swarming around the ice cream menu:
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This is the dog belonging to the owner of the bar. He is 15 years old but in good shape, and regards that part of the promenade as his territory. He also considers it his natural right to beg for food at the outdoor tables:
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1 Comment »

  1. As usual: well done!

    My wife just returned from the hospital today after recovery from acute food poisoning (viral, definitely not bacterial). Today is Monday. It started with a 911 call at 3 am on Thursday (technically Fri am). While she was in durance vile, I decided I couldn’t stand the house being without a cat and when one of the Humane Society shelters advertised a Maine Coon mix, I went and adopted him. His only problem is obesity at seventeen pounds, but I think we can in time slim him down a bit. He obviously had been someone’s pet, because if you pet him, he’ll like you and if you brush him, he’ll love you. I was quite apprehensive about whether my wife would say: “What the hell have you gone and done?” but fortunately she fell in love at first sight.

    I’ll try to put a picture or two on the LUG tomorrow.

    Comment by Herb Kanner — 6 May 2014 @ 03:01

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