Good morning from Sunny Spain. It's the festival of San Fermin again, which means the Running of the Bulls is happening in Pamplona and right now its live on TV. You can read my thoughts about bull fighting from exactly a year ago... in summary, it's disgusting and barbaric in every respect.
However, when I first got here, I didn't really feel like that because I didn't know any better. It was only after I watched a few events on television that I formed the opinion that a dozen guys slowly torturing and then killing a bull is just vicious and cruel. But because I thought it was just another fun European tradition and not a savage blood sport, my memories here start with San Fermin.
San Fermin happens to be when Ana and I started living together full time and a few weeks before the festival, we took our first long weekend trip to the Basque Country (another big mistake - home of the ETA where a percentage of every dime spent eventually goes to their support their activities) including Pamplona. At this time in the morning (8 a.m.) TVE (Television Nacional Espaï¿½ola) preempts its normal news hour for a live transmission from Pamplona. At 8 a.m. sharp, a rocket goes up and a zillion drunk idiots lead a dozen or so bulls to the site of their death later on that day. It's quite the spectacle. I remember when I started living here 3 years ago I got up every morning during the week to watch, fascinated with the full-on live coverage including timed sections, comparisions with past years, slow-motion replays of cow-crashes and gorings, and color commentary (that I couldn't understand).
However, now I know quite a bit better about the whole process and I'm not at all thrilled by it any more. It's too bad because it sort of taints the memories I have of first living here, but hey, that's life. Hopefully, by the time Alex is my age, they'll have banned the event all together. I've never met a single Spanish person who says they *enjoy* bull fights, so I really don't understand why it persists.