Sidra, olives, and a setting sun in San Sebastián. There was my Swiss housemate, whom I had found earlier in his room feeling miserable about a broken eardrum which ended his surfing afternoons. There was my classmate who was going to Paraguay for two years. And her mother, who had just arrived and would join school next week. There was an American classmate who had spent a year traveling in Europe, looking for her father’s lost Jewish family. There was a Filipina ex-classmate whose boyfriend was local; and her two Filipina friends. And there was I, listening to my new friends talk and from time to time turning to look at the sun still warming my back.
Parque de Urgull now has a pop-up bar, and it is popular. Also, the sunset happens to be magnificent. My American and Filipina classmates climbed all the way to the foot of the Christo statue for a good view. My Swiss housemate was enjoying the moment with every cell in his body, which is more than one can say for most 25-year-olds.
Here the sun sets late, and fast. It is as if it falls into the ocean, just like in the tropics. We are also more West here than most of the British isles; yet we are in the Central European time zone. Hence the day is longer towards the night: the sun does not set until just past 9 pm in late August. It also does not rise until past 7 am, so the mornings are dark. I squinted at the sinking sun and wondered whether this had contributed to the late eating habits of the locals. After all, most restaurants open only at 8 pm which is still an hour away from sunset – and two hours too late for my early health-habits.(San Sebastián, Spain; August 2019)