Almussafes

Sunday, April 7, 2013

            We are back from a cold and rainy weekend in Almussafes where we attended a magic convention.  Almussafes is about 20 miles away from downtown Valencia and its claim to fame is the Ford plant that is located there.  It is a small town, not particularly attractive and in the rain it is less so.  We decided to go because a number of the members of CIVAC had planned to attend and they did, but a number of our friends including Pepe, Paquito and Gurrea were among the missing. 

            We left on Friday, a little after 2:00.  When we stepped outside our door it began to rain.  In spite of the rain we decided to walk to La Estación del Nord and our timing was perfect because we boarded our train two minutes before it left.  The trip lasted some twenty-five minutes and we exited the station looking for a taxi.  There was none parked outside.  I went back inside and asked the ticket vendor for the number for a taxi and he pointed me to a nearby sign.  I called the number only to be told by the driver who answered that Friday was his day off and his suggestion was to call the hotel and have them send either a car for us or a cab for us.

            I called the hotel and they provided us with the number of a taxi service in a nearby town and some ten minutes later he showed up at the station.  The ride was brief – less than ten minutes – and he dropped us off at the front door of the Hotel Bartos.  We checked in and from the front desk we headed to our room and unpacked.  It was now a bit after 4:00 and we had not eaten lunch.  We went downstairs, exited the hotel and stopped at a bar on the corner.  The grill was closed so the only ting they could offer us was a sandwich.  We were hungry so we accepted the offer.  When we finished we opened our umbrellas and walked the ten blocks to the Centro Cultural to pick up our credentials.

            From the Centro Cultural we made our way to the Pabellón where the dealers’ room was located, as was the room that was to be the site for the lectures and the close-up gala.  We spent a good half hour in the dealers’ room and while there caught up with a number of our friend from the CIVAC, as well as our friends Carmen and Antonio, Miguel Puga and Carlos Hampton.  The one item I had hoped to buy was unavailable and there really was very little else that called out to me.  Antonio invited us to have a paella tomorrow and we gladly accepted the invitation.  We slipped into a nearby bar and had a drink while we waited for the first gala to begin.

            Friday night’s gala featured a number of the young magicians from Valencia and it was my first opportunity to see them.  They were most impressive.  They all had good stage presence, their acts were very magical and they had paid close attention to all the necessary details of lights, sound and staging.  In addition to the young magicians there was a professional female magician on the bill, Alana, and I was not very impressed with her act, which featured continuous productions of earrings that did not show up well from our vantage point of the thirteen row and multiple hands protruding from her leather jacket.  The presenter was a comedian named El Gran Barragán and he was an unmitigated disaster.  His humor (?) was entirely inappropriate for a family magic show and none of his so-called humor was original.  So in the end we got to see a gala with classy magicians and a comedian with no class.

            Saturday we slept in and had a late breakfast.  Afterwards we headed to the dealers’ room where we caught up with a number of people and I ended up making a couple of purchases.  We skipped the magic contest and explored what little of the town there was to see.  At 2:30 we met up with Antonio, Carmen and two of the friends and we enjoyed a paella valenciana.  From the restaurant we made our way to a 4:00 PM lecture by Dani DaOrtiz where he proceeded to explain the foundation on which a number of his effects were based.  The bad news is that, for the most part, you have to be Dani to do Dani’s effects.

            Saturday’s gala was a mixed bag.  The first three acts were quite forgettable, but the final two performers, Miguel Puga and Norbert Ferré, saved the show and demonstrated why they are two of the finest performers in the world of magic.

            This morning we slept in a bit and went down to breakfast.  We asked the front desk to call for a cab to take us to the train station.  Fortunately or unfortunately there was a miscommunication and the cab driver was taking us to the AVE station in Valencia and we wanted the train station that was ten minutes away from the hotel.  In the end, we struck a bargain and he took us to our front door at a very reasonable price.  Tomorrow is another dia festivo here in Valencia and we will use to rest and recover from what was a cold and rainy weekend.

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