Before

In between the barricades

In between the barricades

We’ve spent a lot of the last week in the “during” phase of fireworks and explosions. The “after” evidence is all over the ground, both in scorch marks and great quantities of burned paper bits and melted plastic. I’ve also learned to spot the “immediately before” signs–huddles of young men in the courtyard, children squatting on the sidewalk holding what looks like a flexible foam rope lit on one end. I know to steer clear, or least brace myself.

But it was not until yesterday that I saw a “before” view on a larger scale. The arrangement above is made for a neighborhood mascletá, the daylight sound fireworks that punctuate Las Fallas. Not much to look at, but that’s not what the mascletá is about.

Here is an “after” view of the main mascletá in the city center:

Above the Ayuntamiento

Above the Ayuntamiento

It has been my experience that it takes longer for the smoke to clear than for the ears to stop ringing, but then I haven’t tried to get right into the heart of the beast where the ground rumbles.

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