A Florida Park visit was on the agenda this morning, mainly for a photo opportunity of a bronze statue of American Jazz Trumpet player great Wynton Marsalis. His statue stands next to a bench that has well known names of jazz musicians and singers inscribed on it. The names are those musicians known throughout the years playing in the Jazz concerts held in Vitoria Gasteiz.
After spending a bit of time in the park, drinking coffee in the outdoor venue near the gardens, I walked on to the old town where, by then, people were strolling in large numbers. That area seems to be the popular place for protests to take place during the day.
There was a protest last night, as well. I could hear the magnified voices and then drum beat, and I was beckoned to see what was happening. I walked to where the sound came from and found it was nearby and where an open market took place earlier in the day.
A stage was set up and there were several people beating large drums and calling attention to the disapproval of fracking. Well, that was a new word for me so I asked around and got some bit over what the protest was about.
Fracking is a process that injects large volumes of water, sand and chemicals underground to break rock apart and free the gas. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and many state regulators say fracking can be done safely, and the American Lung Association says it can help reduce air pollution. But scientist disagree and opponents claim the process can pollute water and sicken residents.
I’m not certain what the other gathering folks were protesting, however, I did see a long train that would give folks a ride around the city, while on the train a politicians face appeared plastered on the train, advertising his fine virtues and reasons to vote for him. Ho hum!
While on my walk I found the spot where the instantaneous group of six got its start a few nights ago and what I wrote about. You may remember I mentioned a great chess player? Well, he was there in the outside of the building sitting alone.
I also noticed the many Basque words on signs and one in particular on a restaurant. The gentleman assured me that it was Basque and he seemed proud to tell me that.
I cannot say that I fully understand the political history of Spanish and Basque people, but just to note that during Francisco Franco’s regime, he suppressed the Basque language and culture. You do that to a people, and surely people will arise up.
From what I understand, about half of the residents of the three Basque provinces, speak fluent Basque, or Euskara, which is the name of the language. The Basque language is seen sometimes in bilingual signage, and sometimes alone. You can sense the turmoil that has been brought about during Franco’s regime, and the Basque people’s desire to maintain their language and culture. It is for this reason, the name of the city is always written as Vitoria Gasteiz, using both the Spanish and Basque names.