Saturday, August 15, 2009

Day 4 - Beach and Bulls

A very late update on day 4 in Spain. On Sunday, we had a nice relaxing morning and then Steve and I went to the beach.

There was a restaurant that I wanted to go to on one end of the beach, and Steve wanted to go to the nude/gay section of the beach which was on the other side. I didn't want to tell him that it was 2 miles from one end to the other, so we went to the nude/gay beach with the intention of taking a nice stroll before lunch. I've never beed to a nude beach, but I didn't expect to be bothered by it, and I really wasn't! It was totally relaxed - just people being naked (or not) and hanging out in the sand. We settled down in the more nude/less gay area of the beach, which would be my preference only because the nude beach is quite and calm, while the gay beach tends to be a little bit louder and more in-your-face (especially with Steve around, who is like a walking... I don't even know... fag bilboard I guess. But not in the cute lovable fag way, in the loud, annoying, bad clothes, bury your head in your hands kind of fag way...). So, we spent a little bit of time there, and then walked to the food place, which was a very long walk in the very hot sun. I was doing fine, and silently laughing inside that I was inflicting such discomfort on Steve without any harm to myself! After all the shit he had put us through at that point, it was very rewarding to have some retribution. I'm evil, I know.
The Frank Ghery fish we saw on our walk to the restaurant.

So, we finally make it all the way to the restaraunt, and they won't let us in because we didn't have resverations! It was SOOO SAD! We ate at the place next door, which was fine, and then took the subway back to the apartment to pick up my mom and get ready for the bull fight.

The bull fight.
The opening ceremonies.

I don't even know where to start with this. I guess I didn't really have a clear understanding as to what a bull fight entails - I knew it had matadors, and capes, and... bulls. That's pretty much all I knew. About a week before we got here, my mom said that the POINT of the fight is to KILL the bull. I didn't like the sound of that then, but I decided that I should go on ahead and see what it was all about, if only to gain a little bit of cultural knowledge about Spain. We get to the bullring, and there are a handful of protestors outside calling for the end of bullfights and urging people not to go in and support the fight. This is the line I would normally see myself being on, and I started to get really weirded out at this point. We get our tickets and find some seats and wait for a bit before the "show", "specticle", "blood fest" begins. And it goes like this: after some pomp and circumstance with the matadors and horses and guys dressed up like conquistadors, they let out the first (of 3!) bulls. The matadores (little matadors) start by taunting and teasing the bull a little bit with their brightly colored capes. This is to start getting the bull angry so it will actually fight against the main matador. The teasing with the capes I could deal with - it's cruel, yes, but I could handle it. In the next part, a single matadore runs around the bull with these bright colored tubes, sort of the size of a packing tube but smaller, that have hooks on the end. In this "game", the matadore has to dig the hooks into the flesh of the bull so they stick in and flap around, and mostly so it makes the bull angry. This is when the bull begins to bleed, and even from the highest section in the ring I could see the blood pouring over the bull's back. Then, men on horseback come in a jab at the bull with pointy javelins, puncturing and wounding the bull even more. I left in tears at this point and sat on the sidewalk outside the ring crying for about a half an hour. I couldn't bear not only to see this bull, this poor confused creature, be tortured and humiliated in front of a crowd of people who believed it entertaining, but to see the famed "matador" take down the bull, which is already broken and bleeding, covered in blood and feces, scared and angry. I hardly see it as an act of heroism to take down a beast for sport, but even less so one that has already been wounded to give man the upper hand. This is done with 3 bulls, and once they are killed they are dragged through the dirt in a show of merciless pride around the ring, and then out to God Knows Where to be disposed of. It is not my intention to condem a cultural practice based on my own views. Bullfighting has been going on for many many MANY years in Spain, and some people claim there to be an "art" to it (although I don't know what could be artful about animal slaughter). But the King and Queen themselves could not have kept me there to continue watching that barbaric tradition. I was glad to hear that the provence of Catalunya overall tends to be against bullfights, and they are moving to make the whole provence Bull Fight Free.

"An Anti-bullfighting demonstrator sits amid others laying covered in fake blood while holding a sign that reads 'Bullfight abolition' at the Plaza de Toros de Las Ventas on May 24, 2009 in Madrid, Spain. An estimated of 300 demonstrators protested for the abolition of bullfighting.
(May 24, 2009 - Photo by Jasper Juinen/Getty Images Europe)"

I finally made it home and waited for my mom and Steve to come back, and then we went and had some more really shitty food on Steve's reccomendation. I was glad to end that day, for sure.

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