Sunday, July 14, 2013

Yesterday I described the Pamplona bull-running as insane and to prove it something happened today which I've often felt was inevitable. An excess of young men - some of whom may not have been sober for a week now - piled up at the narrow entrance to the bullring after a few of them had tripped as the bulls approached. Those at the rear were then hit by, first, the lead cows and, then, the bulls, as youths trampled on whoever they could in their self-centred panic. Then somebody closed the doors of the bullring so as to prevent more mozos arriving. Or the bulls escaping backwards. Not that they gave any indication of realising they could do so. Eventually, the frustrated bovines extricated themselves from the melee and escaped into the alleyway around the ring and thence into it and out into the holding pens. The mass of bodies then slowly unfurled itself, to reveal a limp body at the bottom, of a man with a white shirt and a purple face. The crowd in the stands had the decency to refrain from its normal raucous celebration and we who were watching on TVs around the country were given the benefit of a camera eye's view of the medical efforts to revive the poor individual who'd been at the bottom of the pile. For the benefit of his relatives, I suppose, the scenes of his trauma were then replayed at regular intervals. Blood is popular in Spain, animal or human. The latest news is that he survived but is in a serious condition.

While I'm mentioning the bulls, I should say it's 'The Sun Also Rises' in which Hemingway makes Pamplona famous, not 'Death in the Afternoon', as I suggested. Or that's what I read yesterday; I can't remember which it was.

I did eventually find Dixie last night and I did spend the night in his mobile home. After which I know I will now never buy one of these to drive around Spain and North Africa. At least not if I have to share it with anyone. Getting into the second bed involved a great deal of precarious climbing. Especially when you've left something 'downstairs'.

The Alameda in Ortigueira at 7.15 this morning presented a challenge to those charged with keeping the town clean. But this is something at which Spanish councils excel and it didn't stay like that very long. The roads were already being swept and hosed down at that hour. Quite a few all-night revellers were lolling around and singing and there was at least one bar at which live music was still being played. As I regularly say, fun is taken very seriously here in Spain. Happily for me there was a café open on the main street, where I could get my early-morning café americano. And where I could watch the drama unfolding in Pamplona.

Anyway, here's a foto or two of Ortigueira.

Woman with duck on her head 1.

Woman with duck on her head 2.

Wedding cake house

Art Deco relic

Young pipers.

And here's what massed Galician bagpipes sound like. Those in the know will immediately realise that the gaita has one less drone than its Scottish cousin.

While Spain may take having fun seriously, it doesn't do the same with democracy. The President, Sr Rajoy, not only declines to respond to charges he and his party are crooks financed by the construction industry but also refuses to engage in any parliamentary process in respect of the allegations. It's at times like this that you understand how Spain bequeathed to South American states the sort of government they enjoy. Rajoy's next step? To repeal any law which prevents him from serving as President for a lifetime? As we wait to see, here's Guy Hedgecoe of IberoSphere on the subject.

Finally . . . Here, from Lenox, is an example of Spain at work. Or not.

By the way, I'm sure you noticed the woman who walked across the video, even though she knew I was filming the pipers. She made a token dip of the head in proof of this.

1 comment:

Perry said...

The exceptional (?) warmth in Galicia, in which you are basking, might have its origins in an unusually cold patch of water off the west coast of Spain. Now, how that could be, I have no idea! The mechanism for delivering warm temperatures in Poio from cold water in the Atlantic is probably mystical.

OTOH, the map is QI.