It was the day of the'la Tomatina' festival as I tried to wake up everybody at 0600 hrs. The festival happens in a small village called bunõl an hour away from Valencia. As per tradition, at the start around 0800 hrs,a big chunk of ham is hoisted on a long pole in middle of the town. People are supposed to try and bring down this ham by climbing onto the pole and when anyone succeeds in it that marks the begning of the tomato slug fest. It was advised over the internet to reach Valencia station by 0630 hrs in order to catch the first train which would reach bunõl by 7:45 hrs, giving good time to grab prime position to witness the spectacle. As it turned out, by 0730 hrs we were just leaving our house. Valenciaians don't seem to be early risers as we could not find a taxi to reach the station not many people to ask direction for the nearest train or metro. After walking for nearly half an hour we finally managed to reach a metro station from where we went to Valencia station. The next train for bunõl was at 0900 hrs. They were other late risers who were slowly making their way to the station with the bulk already having reached the destination. Dejected and cursing the stupid Spanish driving rule, which did not allow us to take or private vehicle, we took the train. The ride to the village of bunõl is very ordinary, with the landscape similar to the ones in the interiors of Maharashtra in the driest months of summer. After reaching bunõl, we quickly made our way to the place where we anticipated the action to take place. As we showed our passes, which have to be bought well in advance before they quickly get over, we didn't see any signs of tomatoes. We were expecting to reach and see only lanes of tomato juice from the fun we would have missed, but as luck would have it the tomato slug fest is now time bound due to heavy influx of tourists from 1100 hrs to 1200 hrs. It was 1045 hrs and this new piece of information enthused a new vigor in us. There is just one lane which was chocoblock full people from all over the world. We could make out many Americans, Germans, Japanese and lots of Indians. At the stroke off 1100 hrs, there was a loud bang from the skies, like the ones we hear in diwali from one of the rockets, which marked the start of the fest. Soon trucks appeared with heaps of tomatoes in them and as they tilted their carriage onto the roads people went berserk. There was such a frenzy it's hard to describe. Everyone ran in to get the tomatoes and soon the tomatoes were flying everywhere. As we got hit by the missile's of tomatoes, we decided to get into the thick of the things. Pushing and jostling our way we reached where there tomatoes few minutes back but now remained only a puree of it in which people were rolling gladly. As more truck loads of tomatoes came for the next one hour it was complete chaos as people went crazy in having tomato fights with anyone and everyone around. At 1200 hrs another big bang came from the site which marked the end if the festivities. We had played to hearts content. The train back to Valencia doesn't allow anybody in until they are clean of tomatoes. So either taking the showers from the hoses of the many grateful locals or the ones arranged by the railways we got ourselves cleaned and headed back to Valencia.
Back at home, we washed ourselves off the tomato, which seemed to have stuck onto us like a disease and went off to sleep. Getting up at 2000 hrs we headed to the beach, all of us this time. We played a little on the beach before settling into the same cafe we had been yesterday and ordered food and wine as we ended our day recalling the festival which had given all of us a nausea of tomatoes.