Tuesday, September 9, 2014

Badajoz, Spain: Homophobes Eat Their Words

In 2011, the then-mayor of Badajoz said he didn’t want any “palomos cojos” (literal translation: lame birds; real translation: fags) in his town. Thus, a TV host in Madrid decided to organize a gay party in Badajoz and call it Los Palomos Cojos – or now just Los Palomos. Now this spring party in this ancient and unique Spanish border town has become a Spain-wide LGBT event; 2015 will be its 5th year. The biggest attraction for me was the incredible park space for the party – spread-wide with beautiful palm trees – it could have been Miami or California (just replace the water with a beautiful view of the town below). Spaniards love their fiestas – most even stay Catholic just for the parties – this one measures up to the rest!

However, the event is not widely known outside of the LGBT community – my friend who livesin Madrid knew because he’s from Badajoz and he invited me to visit his friends & family in the city as well! Alex comes from an adorable         middle-class family – I had the chance to visit and awkwardly decide how to greet his dad (kisses? No, not necessary). Plus I spent an evening with the extended family – who were (of course) very excited to meet me and test my Spanish!

For more Free LGBT news & info - subscribe to my weekly gay travel news brief!

I arrived from Malaga, where I finished up my Spanish courses (this was to be my final weekend in Spain!). Taking (very convenient) Bla-Bla car with two women who also were traveling the 6 hours just to attend the party. My arrival was a bit difficult – Alex is the only Spaniard who uses the phone to talk instead of What’s App – but I didn’t have any phone credit left! One thing you learn fast is that you need patience – and something to pass the time – when trying to meet up with Spaniards. But of course he eventually found me and welcomed me to his friend’s spare room in the city center (so we could party and come home late) – we would meet his family for a big lovely meal before the party on Saturday at an authentic Spanish restaurant outside of town.

Badajoz City Square - Los Palomos eve
To start the weekend, Friday we wandered the city center – and saw the celebratory lights in the square. The party is no longer held here after outgrowing the space – where thousands of people in the square became a hazard. I discovered I had another Spanish friend who was coming all the way from Sevilla – he and some friends heard that this was a fab
gay party!

Party scene - haciendo el botellión
After a light night out – with a number of Alex’s girlfriends – we prepared Saturday for the big evening. Although you can buy drinks inside – of course with the crisis in full affect, most Spaniards brought their own drinks. The (very strange) rule here was simply that they could not have caps on the drinks – and naturally only plastic was allowed. Still we smuggled in tops for each of our drinks! During festivals in Spain they relax the rules for drinking in public – and everyone “does the bottle” – “hace el botellion” which means sharing a bottle of liquor on the street – usually whiskey but vodka or rum too – with cups, ice and mixers. And you can buy these items in a set along the street or square during most festivals.

Entering the beautiful, Palm-tree-lined grounds of the Castle of Badajoz we found a spot in the grass and pulled out our cups to begin drinking the evening away! Quickly it was clear that although it was definitely a gay party, not surprisingly, all the young people in town had turned out just to enjoy it! It doesn’t much matter if it’s gay or not – Spaniards are down to enjoy a fiesta anytime. This made the game of “gay or European” pretty difficult for me – but I still made new friends, hung-out with Alex and his crew and enjoyed the music.

Mucho mas que una fiesta!
Half-way through the evening, we moved down from the Castle area to the, wide Carretera Circunvalción; a stage was erected at the town’s Puerta de Palmas. A DJ spun various beats until people were so drunk they were beating each other up! Yes, this became more of just a party – and not as gay on this wide street. But back up near the Castle, drag queens sang and gay festivities continued, including hit drag ensemble, Que Trabaje Rita. I ended up making a friend – a known gay of Badajoz who took me on a little adventure to a dank spare room in his grandparents apartment complex. Interesting spot to “make-out” – but Spanish boys make-do with what they have. Most here still live at home and I count myself very lucky to have met my friend Alex who’s thriving as a journalist in Madrid.

Hungover and sleepy the next day, we pulled ourselves together and found another Bla-Bla back to gay Mecca: Madrid – to soak up my last few days of Spain, my favorite country in the world!

1 comment:

  1. LGBT TRAVEL | Australia's NO#1 fully dedicated LGBTIQ travel store

    DISCOVER WHAT'S HOT DOWN UNDER for Travel - Accommodation - Events - Clubs - Pubs - Eateries and Saunas

    best gay travel
    best gay travel sites
    best gay trips
    best gay vacation places
    best gay vacations
    best gay vacations 2017
    best gay vacations for singles