far too much writing, far too many photos

[Continued from entry of 13 March]

Saturday night, my second in Pamplona, I stepped out with Curtis and a couple of his friends before begging off early (early here being 11:30), hoping to recoup some of the sleep I’d lost to the early-hours light show the night before. Drifting through narrow streets back in the direction of the hostal, I passed what looked like a cross between a pharmacy and a natural foods tienda where I spied one of the greatest ads I’ve ever seen: a poster of modest dimensions, maybe 18″ by 14″, consisting of a photo depicting — and I swear this is genuine — an attractive woman in a black bra, close up, meaning from her breasts to the crown of her head. She stared down at her boobs in eye-popping, mouth-open astonishment, hands cupped over them.

The line of text across the top of the poster read “Super Eficaz, Super Rápido, Super Práctico” (”Super Effective, Super Fast, Super Practical”). Below that in insistent, oversized letters read the product name “RASSO DRINK” and below that “Concentrado Liquido A Base De Extractos Vegetales” (”Liquid Concentrate From Vegetable Extracts”).

Below that read the words “Super Top Efecto Push Up.” In other words, Super Top Push-Up Effect.

“Super Top Efecto Push Up.” Advertising copy just doesn’t get much more basic than that.

From the woman came the astonished cry: “¡No Creo Lo Que Veo Pero… Con RASSO DRINK Sí!!!” (”I Can’t Believe What I’m Seeing But… With RASSO DRINK, Yes!!!” With all them exclamation points, this woman is clearly undergoing a life-altering experience.) “…Y,” the poster goes on, “Los Resultados Se Ven!” (”…And One Can See The Results!”)

I stared happily at this jewel of marketing comedy, completely besotted with the idea that some unknown entrepreneur would throw something like that together for my entertainment. And it must have been for entertainment. It had to be. I had trouble wrapping my teeny brain around the idea that someone might seriously expect this shpiel to produce results. Though, on the other hand, what do I know? There might be individuals who would be drawn to this primal sales pitch like moths to backyard bug-snappers.

That encounter sent me happily back to my simple, spartan room where I watched a bit of fútbol and began to float nicely off to sleep around 12:30. That’s when the bar downstairs turned up their music system — techno, possibly at 150 bpm. In general, I like techno, but (and I invite you to picture Jack Nicholson delivering the following line:) NOT AT 12:30 A.M. WHEN I’M TRYING TO GET SOME GODDAMN SLEEP.

My room was located on the third floor, and though the bar was at street level, two flights down, the music literally sounded as if it were right beneath the floor of my space, as if someone had clamped monstrous speakers to the ceiling of the room directly below mine and cranked up a high-powered stereo. Not much a traveler can do about a bar playing loud music apart from (a) plastic explosives or (b) waiting it out. I hadn’t brought any explosives this trip, so went for option (b). Turned on the TV, read, put in earplugs (fat lot of good THAT did), pulled ‘em out again, read some more, watched parts of some seriously trashy movies. At 3:30 the music finally stopped, I finally got some shuteye.

[Continued in entry of 21 March]

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