Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Campillo, Sí Quiero (Campillo, I Do)

When you’ve finished cleaning your sock drawer and have some time to practice your Icelandic, go to: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=haByWjOXdKQ and listen carefully. They’re talking about a Spanish documentary, Campillo, Sí Quiero, which is about a village in Castille called Campillo de Ranas (Littlefield of Frogs).

Or you can skip all that and read about the village in the New York Times.

Get in your car in Madrid, head north on the A-1 for about 70 km., take Exit 76 toward Avenida de la Venta de Méa, take the M-137 about eleven km. till you get to Prádena del Rincón, where you turn right onto M-130. Go about 7-8 km till you rejoin the M-137 again. Be sure to take the right turn and go north and not the left turn which would take you back to where you started on M-137. Follow that for about 8 km, till you get to the GU-187. Stay on that about 5 km. till you get to GU-181. Turn right and continue on about three and a half km. till you get to GU-194. Turn left onto the highway to Corralejo (Carretera a Corralejo) (GU-194) and go about 8 km. till you get to GU-186 (Ctra a Majaelrayo). Take that about half a kilometer, turn left toward Calle Cuesta about half a kilometer and there you are in Little Field of Frogs, the gay marriage capital of Spain. If you make all the right turns it shouldn’t take you more than two hours from Callao in downtown Madrid, about 128 km. in all.

Probably best to go when there’s a wedding you’re invited to. Or arrange one of your own, gay or non-gay. Takes about 45 days to clear the paper work, I understand, so get cracking. Besides the wild boar, there are only 50 or 60 inhabitants, but there are apparently lots of B&Bs and restaurants in villages nearby.

You can see the mayor (and local beekeeper) of Campillo de Ranas, Francisco Maroto, interviewed by Teresa Viejo on the Castillian TV program Tal Como Somos (Such as We Are). People are coming from all over the place (Peru, the U.S., Eastern Europe) to get married in his town, since he decided (he’s gay himself) to take advantage of the fact that Spain approved same-sex marriage in June of 2005. The marriage featured on the program is one done in medieval costume where everybody, including the alcalde gets all dressed up in medieval drag. When Lord of the Rings fans got married, Maroto got dressed up as Gandalf. Whatever it takes, says Mayor Maroto.

This is one clever dude in the body of a cozy teddy bear. He’s stopped the exodus to the cities, the school has opened again with eleven kids after being closed for 32 years, and the old folks are rallying round their mayor in case there might be anybody who would wish him harm.

The interviewer puts him on the spot. She asks him if he’s married himself and he says no. She then tries to interview his partner, Quique Rodriguez (the local justice of the peace), sitting in the audience, but the partner refuses. Mayor says they’re not interested in getting married. Interviewer says, well if you change your mind… A real marriage-maker, this one.

She then interviews a straight couple he married some time ago with their four-month-old daughter who want to thank him for his efforts in marrying them. Most of the folk who come there now to marry are straight. They just like the place.

Seriously – you can skip the Icelandic interview since it’s just talking heads – unless, of course, you like to hear Nordics make those delicious sounds with their mouths. But watch the mayor’s interview, even if your Spanish isn’t up to snuff. The warmth of the guy, of the interviewer, the warmth of Spain comes through.

Where, I ask you, in all this, is the view that gays are a threat to the institution of marriage?

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