We had a Bodega in Daglan last week. No, we had no idea what that was either. We did figure that it was some kind of festival. Spanish maybe? Involving food and wine, maybe? Anyway, it was being held in the area behind our community hall — the salle des fêtes — so there wasn’t far to go. We thought we’d put in an appearance. To be honest, we hadn’t looked very closely at the publicity in advance, and missed the fact that it was a Bodega Tour. Note carefully:
My wife and I paid our 3 euros each at the entrance, and wandered in. People were starting to arrive, there were stalls with food for sale on the left-hand side, a concert stage of some sort at the back, and a very impressive seller of helium-filled balloons:
There was also music in the air — something of a blend of Dixieland jazz and peppy French folk tunes — all played at top volume. One of the wandering bands was this group of guys in yellow shirts; you may remember them from my posting about the official launch of the bicycle path between Daglan and Castelnaud, when they played for the arriving cyclists:
It turns out that “bodega” can mean a neighbourhood store (like a convenience store) or stalls or a wine bar, among other things. At our bodega, there were stalls selling a variety of foods, from sausages to French fries to fresh strawberries to beer and wine to pastries, like this place:
The most prominent band was this gang, which wandered all through the grounds, striking up songs regularly. Here they are with their little drummer boy, who seemed more interested in his helium-filled balloon than in drumming:
As it transpired, there was also a variety of games to watch. The band in red also played loudly as the games began — like this test of strength. This one involved a large crane with pulleys and rope, and the challenge was for two people to pull up a heavy weight as fast as possible.
By this point, my wife and I had ordered a glass of rosé wine, some French fries, and a sausage on a bun, and plunked down at a community table to watch. Here’s a look at the crowd, fairly early in the evening:
One of the games we watched involved kids tossing a pint-sized version of the caber, which is usually a long and very heavy log. Now I’ve gone to a few Highland Games in my day, but I’d never seen a caber scaled-down so that a child could toss it. But here they were, getting instruction on how to hold and then toss the log:
And here’s one young guy who did not badly:
So, as you can see, it was all good, clean, family-oriented fun — a collection of rather simple pleasures. After a while, we’d had enough and decided to leave before it got dark.
Only then did we notice the mobs of young people arriving at the area. And so we missed the other side of the Daglan Bodega — the DJ, the “gogo danseuses,” and the crowds of young people enjoying the music late into the night and consuming large quantities of wine and beer.
But the next morning, everyone could see the results: litter in Daglan’s normally spotless streets, and a number of acts of vandalism — like the shattered flower boxes at the Mayor’s office and at the tea room. But by then, the professionals who organize the Bodega Tour were already packed up, and moving the sound equipment and other fixtures on to the next site. I don’t think anyone stayed behind to clean up, or pay for the damage.