The City that Never Sleeps

25 Oct

Just as a small update, today I realized that I am exactly halfway done with my semester abroad—where has the time gone?  At times, looking back to the days when I was at home seems like forever ago, however I still feel these past two months have flown by.  I have been thoroughly enjoying my experience here, yet I still have so much more to see and do before I call it “done”.   Other than the fact that time is just slipping away, mid-terms are coming up.  Don’t fret, this isn’t Purdue, remember?  Therefore, that didn’t at all keep me away from the night scene this past weekend—besides, I still have Sunday and Monday left for studying.

Before I arrived here, past students told me how amazing and different the nightlife is in Spain.  Well, now that I’ve gotten a good taste of it myself, I know exactly what they’re talking about.  It’s hard to explain why it’s so different from the typical “college scene”, but I just have a feeling the nightlife’s going to feel rather boring upon my return to the States.

Basically, Spain lives and breathes through the night.  I’m not even just talking about the bars, clubs, and discotecas (or even just weekends). Picture for a moment what 10:00pm looks like in your town.  Pretty much everyone’s winding down, heading home, possibly going to bed, many stores are closing.  Spain?  10:00pm in Spain is livelier than 2:00pm.  Suddenly, families are eating on the terrace of restaurants, pedestrians have flooded the sidewalks, there’s about double the amount of cars on the road, shops are busy, and children are outside playing in the parks.  Actually, just last night, I saw two children no more than 5 and 7 years of age playing a little futbol in the barrio plaza—at 1:00am.

A typical night out for me begins by eating dinner with my family around 10, and then it’s time to shower and get dressed.  Guapa.  I’ve found that leaving your casa around midnight is about perfect, and before 11:30 is almost unnecessary.  While many people are “out”, they haven’t really made their way to the bars just yet.  First, many people head to the beach for botellon.  While I have yet to participate in a full out botellon a la playa (there are still many tourists and therefore the police hang around), I’ve heard from others that it is fantastic—think of it as “pregaming”.  After, it’s time to head to a bar or club for a while to grab a drink or so.  My personal favorite would be Goa—good music, it’s not insanely packed, and while it’s not all “Spanish”, it’s still a good mix.  Plus, the drinks are cheap.  It can be easy to get sucked into bars catering towards Americans—however, you will pay for it (at least 3 or 4 euro a drink).  I’m happy I’ve found a good location, and when you become a “regular” there are some perks—free champagne anyone?  Also, remember that drinking here is different from the States.  While yes, people do get drunk, they do so over a longer period of time.  Their “night out” lasts about 8 hours, whereas a typical American’s is half that or less.  So chugging down drinks as quickly as you can will have you back to your casa pronto, before you can even make it to the discoteca (which won’t open til 3 or 4).  It’s also just not very impressionable to come off as the obnoxiously drunk American.

If dancing is your thing, the discotecas will serve you well.  Some are expensive to enter—but luckily many are cheaper for chicas, if not GRATIS.  Yay for being a girl, right? 🙂  You normally will have to wait in a rather long line, so it’s not a bad idea to arrive early if you mind the wait.  Upon entering, you are immediately on the dance floor—however, you cannot SEE the floor.  Literally from wall to wall, it’s a huge mass of people dancing to the pounding music.  The music varies from each discoteca.  Some is mainstream R&B, others electronica and trance, and even rock and punk.

While many nights I make it to 6am, my Spanish friends still laugh when I call it a night—8am is more acceptable.    Speaking of Spanish friends, I would love to make a point (and if you remember anything about this blog, in all seriousness, remember this).  Make Spanish friends and go out with them!  The language barrier can be intimidating, but don’t let it be.  Trust me, I love my American friends dearly, but my best nights here in Alicante have been spent with my locals.  I knew a couple Spanish Student Helpers before, which go out with us sometimes, but I really hadn’t met anyone outside the program completely until just recently.  I participated in an intercambio and made friends with 3 chicas.  Last night, we and three other Americans who they are friends with also went out together.  To be honest, it was the BEST night I’ve had since I’ve been in Spain.  Hands down.  Don’t save it just for the night scene though—spend as much time with them as possible.  It’s so worth it, so rewarding (and great for your language skills).

Vale.  So basically, if you come to Spain, you definitely have to take advantage of the thriving nightlife.  I definitely don’t go out every Thursday, Friday and Saturday night—neither my body nor my wallet can handle it (even at 1 euro a drink).  However, it definitely is a huge part of the experience, and should thoroughly be enjoyed.  And if you manage to make it to 8:00am—consider yourself a cultured Spaniard 😉  Buena suerte!

Hasta luego, amiguitos!

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