We invited our Cordoban hosts, Viviana and Andres, out por una copa (for a drink) and the opportunity to practice Spanish. Little did we know what we were letting ourselves in for! As a couple with four children under the age of ten, they don’t get the opportunity to go out very often, so we provided them with a excuse to go out for the evening – starting at 9.00pm (very very early by Spanish standards).
We first went into a pena (a social club for flamenco aficionados – down the lane, around the corner, under the archway, past the well, through the door on the left, no tourists) but were a bit early for anything to be happening. Canas (beers) all round with tapas thrown in.
In this pena, a Jack Russell ruled the bar! It bounced up and down to bar height – checking out customers as they entered – after which it sat on the bartender’s feet because apparently it didn’t like sitting on cold tiles. As a private club, smoking was permitted inside and the fug was about a meter and a half from the floor.
Then we went to another bar because it was on the way to yet another bar. More canas and tapas (toast with a tomatoey topping). The Mercado Victoria, an old market we had passed through several times during daylight hours and wondered how the businesses located there survived, was heaving – at 11.00pm! All the bars were packed, and to get una copa de vino tinto required concerted elbowing and hollering to the bartender ponga me tres vinos tintos... It also took half an hour to get from the bar to the ladies and back again – because Viviana had to say hello to all her friends and relatives – and introduce me as the ‘exotic’ from Australia …es muy lecho! (a long way!) Meanwhile Andres was discussing business opportunities with advertising agents. But of course.
Dos copas de vino tinto later there’s a birthday party to which we’ve been invited…at yet another bar! Are you sure? Si! Porque no? More vinos tintos (red wines) y rum y coca cola later, plus lots of dancing – flamenco inspired of course!
At two thirty in the morning – three bars and a birthday party bar more than we had expected – did we want to go salsa dancing? With the greatest of reluctance we tore ourselves away from the party animals and staggered the two kms back to our piso.