Friday, June 18, 2010

La corrida de toros

I can cross something else off of my Spain "To-Do" list: see a bull fight.

Actually, I started the morning by completing another item on my list, which was to visit El Museo de Art Deco y Art Nouveau Casa Lis. I passed this museum nearly everyday (it has a wonderful stained glass wall which looks over the city) and always said: "Someday, before I leave, I will visit the museum."

As strange as it is to say, my days in Salamanca are drawing to a close! And so I have made my list and am checking it twice!

The interesting connection is that right now there is an exhibit of Picasso's pieces involving the bull and bullfight. An aficionado for the sport, he created several works of art honoring the game. The exhibit is visiting from The Picasso Museum in Barcelona. I had no idea that I would get a preview of my afternoon!

So, back to the bullfight...I am able to say I am glad I went. Though many would disagree, I do believe that it is a part of Spanish culture, and for that reason, I am happy I took part in a long-standing tradition.

That being said, I have no interest in going to another fight. It may be my mid-western roots, or growing up with a number of farm animals for pets, or my brother's endeavor in the cow/bull business, (I suppose there are a number of reasons) but I did not enjoy watching the bulls be slowly killed.

I still do not understand fully the progression of the fight, nor the terminology. I do understand that it is a form of art, a type of dance, a tradition Spain has held for centuries. After awhile, my cringes became less frequent, and I was able to see the event as a Spaniard does. I realized that it is simply a difference of viewpoint, that causes me to cringe while someone else to cheer. I was sitting near a grandmother and her grandson of 4 or 5 years old. As the matador came into the ring riding a horse, she exclaimed: "Look, Juan, at the beautiful horse!" When the bull entered the ring she remarked, "How ugly!" At this point I realized that I am used to seeing a bull as an animal: not remarkable beautiful or praiseworthy, but another animal on a farm. (I am not ignorant: I understand that we in the states raise bulls for meat...) While the Spanish people (not as a whole, but in general) are accustomed to the bull being an ugly, threatening beast. It is a matter of habit.

I will spare you the gory details of the day and instead remark about the rained, but luckily, the stadium was not full, and we all scrambled to the "sombra," the covered area.

I took a lot of pictures, and at one point asked myself: "Why so many?" I think it was a distraction. Watching from behind the lens was a way to distance myself just a bit. I will post them soon!

I did leave early (after 5 or 6 bulls) to watch the much anticipated England-U.S.A. game, which did not disappoint. And on my way home I heard such loud noises, it sounded like bombs, much too severe to be a storm. The possibility of fireworks did not hit me until I saw the sky light up. I love, absolutely love, to watch fireworks. I walked until I had a decent view, and sat down on the sidewalk to enjoy the remainder of the show. A nice ending to an enjoyable day. I was saddened by the thought that I will miss The 4th of July celebrations this year!

I hope you all are enjoying a lovely June.

Un abrazo.


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