There´s a new phenomenon in Spain. It´s called the Botellon. It´s huge. There´s a Botellón in most Spanish cities every night and probably there are no Spaniards under 25 who have never been to one. Most go to a botellon over once a week. What is a “Botellón”. A Botellon is a user generated bar. A bar that is improvised in a predefined place, say a park to which tons of people, many times over 1000 people, take drinks with them and give them to friends, friends of friends and sometimes to strangers. I am now in Palma de Mallorca and there is one very near the marina where my sailboat is at. It is a truly remarkable gathering, something that would probably not be allowed to take place in most countries other than highly permissive Spain (where we have Gay Marriage, legal P2P, gambling, prostitution, overall a highly tolerant society paradise to some, hell to others). For some in Spain Botellones are a horrible fad. Personally I am intrigued by them. In my Spanish blog there´s an article about them and why they take place and readers wrote many explanations. The most common reason as to why people would prepare all sorts of alcoholic and non alcoholic drinks, cut lemon and lime, bring glasses, and be so kind to others is because for the price of a gin tonic at a disco they can get a whole bottle at the Botellon. Still that does not explain why drink donors would give them away as there never any money charged for drinks. In my view the economic element is only part of the story. I think people are fascinated by the anarchic, social nature of botellones, they like to move around without the constraints and rules of a bar or disco. They like to meet their friends and run into old friends or even people they don´t know. Botellones are like the social sites on the internet…live. Bar and disco impresarios are extremely upset about the Botellones and try to lobby to make them illegal. The three big negatives are noise from the street to people who live nearby, the abuse of alcohol and the fact that the very 2.0 attitude of creating a user generated bar ends when it gets time to clean up. All these issues need to be addressed so Botellones can coexist well with the rest of Spanish society not involved in them.
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