Sunday, 24 August 2014

The Gross Side of La Tomatina

What could be better than being crammed into a skinny Spanish street with 20,000 other attempting to throw a few tonnes of soft fruit at each other?

Pre-tomatoes


Nothing.



Seriously, nothing is better than a well organised tomato fight.

And, on that note nothing at all that I am about to tell you makes me regret doing La Tomatina, but I may have been a bit vague about some of the details the first time I wrote about it here.

The hour spent throwing tomatoes at each other was amazing!

After the first truck went through, we found a great spot at the bottom of the street. It was a kind of cross roads where there was loads of space to truly fling your fruit at people, and there were people gathering up tomato mulch in hats and pouring it over people. It was amazing, and fun, and we laughed every time it happened.

So what aren't they telling you?

That mulch being thrown around? It more than likely has some bodily fluids in, piss, vomit. People have been hanging around for a few hours before the festival starts. The porta-loo's are gross within minutes of people arriving and the queue is insane. Plus people are Euro-Tripping, getting wasted and then getting up half an hour after they went to sleep to get to the tiny town La Tomatina is held in. Niiiice.


And this mulch. It gets everywhere. Even in your eyes.

The acid, plus the other shit that's got into the mulch, burns with the fury of all hell's fire. I sat on the bus trying not to rub my eyes and hoping that one of the girls would wake up so I could find out if their eyes were the same. On getting back to the hostel, I locked myself into the public toilet in the hostel and noticed that I had some greeny/ yellow sleep in my eyes. It was not sleep. When I touched it stayed in my eye and was simultaneously stuck to my hand. It was like a sinus infection coming out of my eyes, I had to use tissue to reel it out of my eyes. Absolutely disgusting! And as the day progressed, more and more people in our dorm had the same thing happen.

On top of that, if you're really unlucky, you're in a 12 bed dorm where it takes THREE HOURS before half the girls have got through the shower. If you didn't wear your ugly swim cap- which I did- then you spend that time trying comb mouldy tomato gunk out of your hair & spend the next couple of days finding it every time you brush your hair (thanks for reminding me of that, Anna)!

And it doesn't stop there.

Your skin dries up for a couple of days, and you get this pin-prick rash in odd places. And then there's the smell, it lingers. On your skin. No matter how hard you scrub. You smell like rotting tomatoes for a good couple of days- which is a great impression to make when you arrive at a new hostel, the following day!

Lastly...

There's the post La Tomatina Slump. Tiredness + your body trying to get rid of toxins. I developed a fever and a horrid cough for about 48hrs after. I desperately wanted a bath- and technically I got one, I visited the hammam, sat in the hot waters & sweat out my fever & followed that up with a nice massage.

Would I do it all again?





HELL YEAH! 





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22 comments:

  1. After reading this, I am strangely repulsed at and excited by the idea of participating in this festival!

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    1. That was, indeed, the reaction I was going for, Jacqueline :)

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  2. Sammi, I'm glad you enjoyed it...not sure if it's for me!

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    1. Yeah! Go! It's an hour of your life, and a load of smelly tomatoes. Experience everything!

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  3. I went back in 2009 (when there were 40,000 people and you didn't have to buy tickets to go) and unfortunately I stood in the wrong spot and then got stuck there so I didn't get covered nearly as much as you. The whole place stank thats for sure however I jumped in the nearby river and washed off with soap from another festival goer and whatever I had on me did come off pretty easily. I kind of want to go back again just to get messier :)

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    1. I was wondering when you went after your facebook comments. I do think that it's better organised, by the sounds of things, now. I definitely want to go back and do it again. I kind of want to spend a summer travelling around Spain doing ALL of it's festivals :)

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  4. Thanks for sharing this interesting post. It's gross, indeed. I don't think I'd like to participate in this festival. Maybe if I was 17?

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    1. Well I managed it at a quarter of a century (25 if you're mathematically challenged like I am, often) & survived. It's an hour of your life, and it's a food fight- what could be better?!

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  5. Bleerggghhh, I am so glad I ate supper 4 hours ago or it may have come back up. Usually I say thanks for linking up... this week, thanks for not making me spew (just)

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  6. Hahaha is it terrible that I would still do this? Because yeah, I would suffer gross hair and eye goo for the chance to hurl tomatoes at people. (I say this now...)

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  7. Oh my gosh, that is so disgusting!!!! I wouldn't be up for it, never!! :D

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    1. Van, c'mon, you would do it! It would be amazing :) it's a huge food fight! :D

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  8. Hahah, sounds crazy!! I'm not sure I'd be up for this after your report though :D

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    1. Yeah, you should still do it! It was sooooo worth it :) I want to go back- we should have a Sunday Traveler trip next year!

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  9. I never wanted to take part to this festival for all the bad sides you mentioned. The idea of being covered in tomatoes is just not fun for me plus I hate the idea of wasting so much potential food too.

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    1. The tomatoes are bought by the council from farms mainly in Extremadura (but also the rest of Spain) and what is bought are all the tomatoes that have spoilt (i.e. bugs have eaten thru them, they have started to rot- hence why it smells), basically anything that cannot be used for food consumption. So, they would not be used for food, anyway.
      I LOVED La Tomatina, and would do it again and again.

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  10. Thanks for letting us all live vicariously through your La Tomatina experience! Love that you wore a swim cap - that's genius. I can't imagine how they clean the tomato smell off the streets after all that.

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    1. Haha, thanks Lauren! It was amazing.

      The streets are totally clean by the evening, it's pretty amazing. The walls of buildings are covered with tarps, and the streets are hosed down and swept through pretty quickly. All the locals join in to help, and you can stick around to help, too.

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  11. Wow, what an experience! I've seen video of this festival before, and it looks like a blast! I guess what they don't show is the horrible aftermath. Glad to hear you recovered safely, thanks for sharing!

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  12. Nice tip about the swim cap. La Tomatina needs to be paired with the Thai Songkran Festival where it's water guns galore. 1st the tomatoes, then the water fight.

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