Day of High Drama

And I'm not just talking about the football, more of which later. Yesterday those of us who live in and around Seville experienced a weather phenomenon which, while mild in comparison to those in the US, scared the living daylights out of me, and I was at home. It was like a mini-tornado, a swirling mass of dust which blotted out everything behind it, and swept across our garden, bending the trees double and rattling the windows. I'd never seen anything like it - my husband told me to keep the children away from the windows, in case they smashed, and to move the car away from an unstable wall next to which it was parked. Thanks to the internet, or more specifically Facebook, I was able to track its path. Friends reported it in four different locations - one, who was in a park with her daughter, where I was supposed to have been with my children, reported a fallen tree and flying scaffolding, which narrowly missed the children (my friend's daughter kept saying afterwards, "the park's fallen down"). Another reported her car being buffeted by the winds, and branches, foliage and debris blowing all over the road, as well as a dust cloud which made visibility near zero. And at the mercadillo near our house (fruit and veg, clothes, shoes etc), much of the produce was swept off towards the motorway, about 500 metres away. News reports today say the winds - they called them rachas, gusts, and turbiones, squalls - reached 60km/h. But with all the dust, and it being such a concentrated area - a specific mass which moved along on its own - I'd say it was more like a mini-tornado. I've seen them at a distance, usually moving across an area of flat land, like a field, but never near my house. Tornados are defined as having winds of more than 64km/h, so we were just under. But seeing all the dust it carried, I'd say a minor whirlwind is about right. In any case, it uprooted trees, apart from the one that narrowly missed the children in the park I mentioned earlier, landing one on top of a bus in Seville, while another trapped a family in their car for two hours. A meteorologist explained the cause: "the temperature difference between hot air coming from North Africa in the lower part of the atmosphere, and cold air in its middle part." The other drama was Spanish football's biggest day ever - winning a World Cup semi-final against Germany. For the first time in its history, Spain has reached the final, and will play the Netherlands on Sunday (in case you live in a cave in the mountains). I'll just mention a few things which stood out for me. 1) The Queen, arms outstretched in a victory, with a massive smile on her face. We likey (she hates bullfighting, too) - somehow I can't see our own Queen in such an attitude of unbridled joy (or the Duchess of Cornwall, for that matter). 2) Puyol's head - both his coiffure, and his ability to aim a flying football into a goal using it, while leaping up into the air surrounded by his opponents. Respect. He was described as "the heart of the team" in today's predictably over-excited, over-emotional and wonderfully over-the-top Spanish press. 3) jabato (a new word for me), meaning wild boar piglet, or daring person, after a Spanish comic book character - how Vincente del Bosque referred to his players, while smiling benignly, and admitting to being happy - he even went as far as saying that you have to celebrate your successes. 4) Capdevila, which sounds so like "Bob the Builder", I got quite confused. 5) An over-confidence/extreme optimism, which causes the commentators, especially the eternally excitable Camacho (if you haven't already checked out the video of his reaction to Villa's goal against Paraguay, it is not to be missed), to say "We're in the final", 10 minutes before the game's over (my heart was in my mouth, but they obviously had 100% confidence in Paul the Octopus Oracle), and "Glory awaits us" the day after. 6) I think I have a crush on both Xavis (Hernandez was chosen as man of the match), or maybe it's just because their faces are so familiar to me by now. 7) Zapatero's comment: "This happiness is just what the country could do with." Indeed, Mr President. You don't say. 8) Sergio Ramos is from my husband's hometown, Camas. 9) At the risk of sounding like an over-cautious killjoy, the antithesis of all things Spanish, the Dutch haven't lost a game in 25 matches. ¡A por ellos! 10) Er, Germany's out. And they said that Spain is the best team in the world, and can beat anyone. Enough said.
Blog published on 8 July 2010