January 4th, 2008

Let me see..

Feliz Navidad -- we're still celebrating

The Christmas season in Spain doesn't end until the Three Kings bring everyone their presents on Epiphany, January 6. So we're still celebrating.

Among other festivities, the Christmas decorations are still lit. These "trees" are in the traffic roundabout in front of Atocha Train Station, and they are surrounded by tourists photographing each other with the lights in the background.

Madrid has 9 million lights in its municipal displays this year: 55 kilometers of streets made bright for 42 days. They will consume 2.1 million kilowatts, enough to power 6,700 households for a month. Each year, the Christmas display grows a little bigger.

Spain is a signatory to the Kyoto Treaty. It agreed to limit its growth in carbon dioxide emissions to only 15%. It has in fact increased them by 42.3%.

Meanwhile, today and tomorrow are the biggest shopping days in Spain as people snatch up gifts that the Three Kings will magically make appear in living rooms on Sunday morning.

Their Majesties will arrive in Madrid on Saturday evening in an extravagant parade. Aldermen represent the Kings. You may recall that one of the Kings, Balthazar's, is traditionally African. Madrid has no black aldermen, so that alderman will wear a whole lot of makeup.

For children at the parade, the best part is that as the floats go past, the people in them throws tons of candy -- metric tons -- at the spectators lining the street. Some families bring umbrellas to hold upside down to catch their share.

Happy holidays. They're almost over. At last.

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