Every year, at the end of August, thousands of people gather in the little Spanish town of Bunol for the world’s largest food fight. The Plaza del Pueblo is filled with overripe tomatoes, and madness ensues. In 2011, Zindagi Na Milegi Dobara popularized the event in true Bollywood fashion. Trendsetter Hrithik Roshan and company wowed us with stunning visuals of the revelry, resulting in the festival featuring on a lot of bucket lists. For those lucky ones that managed to secure a ticket to this year’s La Tomatina, congratulations! Hopefully you are all packed and raring to go. Here are a few tips to follow during the festivities:
Wear The Right Clothes
It might be tempting to flaunt your trendy clothes while you strut the streets of Spain. But remember that you will be soaked in tomato juice. Whatever you wear is going to end up stained and reeking of overripe tomatoes. The acid from the juice will also leave your darker clothes looking discolored. Carry an old set of clothes that you don’t mind throwing away once done with the revelries. Be sure you opt for fashion styles that do not impede your movement, or make you uncomfortable when wet (avoid light shades that tend to turn transparent). Save those new fashion dresses for other days.
Opt For Comfortable Footwear
You are going to be knee-high in tomato juice, so expect to slip a lot. Make sure you choose shoes that stay on firmly. Go for comfortable sneakers over flip-flops or sandals that could end up lost in the sea of red. This will also protect your feet from sharp objects that could be littering the streets. Let fashion trends take a backseat and pack old shoes you are not attached to, or purchase a cheap pair for the occasion, as you will be throwing them away.
Familiarize yourself with the town and the streets where the actual event will be taking place. It is a good idea to reach Bunol a day in advance so you’ll have plenty of time to figure out the directions. This will allow you to enjoy the festivities in a fluid fashion. Talk to the locals (or research online) and find out what the best spots are, depending on whether you want to be in the thick of things or watch from a less boisterous vantage point. Check for transportation to and from the venue and keep in mind that the actual tomato fight only lasts for an hour, so don’t oversleep!
Leave Your Valuables Behind
There are no facilities at the venue to store your belongings safely, so make sure you don’t carry irreplaceable items with you. Holding a handbag while being thrown in a pool of pulp is not a very practical idea, so leave behind anything you don’t want stained with tomato juice. Check with your accommodation if they have provisions for safes where you can keep your phone, wallet and important travel documents for the day. If not, keep them locked in your suitcase or travel bag (secure the key to yourself so you don’t drop it while dodging a tomato).
An important rule at La Tomatina is that you have to squish the tomatoes before throwing them, in order to minimize risk of injury to others. Make sure you follow the safety regulations, and keep an eye out for those who don’t, as there tend to be rowdy elements in the large crowd. Always stay aware of your surroundings and stick with your friends. It will be very difficult to contact them if you get separated since you will not be carrying your phones. Also take care to protect your skin and eyes from the acidic tomato juice. Carry a sturdy pair of goggles and cover up any cuts or scrapes. If you have sensitive skin, speak to your doctor about precautionary medication you can use to avoid allergic reactions.
Now get out there and throw some tomatoes!
Picture courtesy – heavy.com