Wednesday, July 06, 2005


Tomorrow begins Pamplona’s annual Festival of San Fermín. And that means…the Running of the Bulls!

Go to the Expatica Spain website and check out my essay on this annual testament to man’s idiocy.

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At 12:40 AM, Anonymous Lenox said...

I ran it once. I was passing through town in an old Alfa with Italian plates on the way north. I wandered into a bar which was full of young and very drunk fellows, who after an exchange of insults, turned out to be Basques. 200 against one: my kind of odds. A long boozy night ended up with me agreeing that I should run (or be labeled something un-masculine for the rest of me natural). Ah youth.
There are, by the way, six bulls plus a couple of understudies (!) together with some cows doing the run. In the case of one of the bulls pulling a flub in the ring. Probably a dozen of them all told. All doing a nice turn of speed in the region of 30 mph flat out.
And when you look 'em in the eye, you see something very nasty looking back.
Run...! Run...!
*Pamplona for the rest of the year (I get to go there a lot) is quite astonishingly dull. It's the spiritual capital of the Opus Dei. En fin, I guess they deserve a few days of play every San Fermin..

At 3:18 PM, Blogger ironporer said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

At 3:24 PM, Blogger ironporer said...

I suppose there is some macho bravado thing in a Hemmingwayesque fashion...eating judeas pochas at the local cafe/bar and then running with the bulls (or was that Michner's "The Drifters"?...I forget)which attracted me in my mispent youth, however that was cured by watching the encierro a few times, and by watching las vaquillas en a few pueblos. Even a vaquilla can send a 6'2". 240 lb man sailing 10 feet- such are the neck muscles. I believe one of the more famous bullfighters Antonio Bienvenida was killed by a vaquilla folowing his retirment from 20 years of fighting 1500 lb bulls.

The whole party scene in Pamplona is pretty cool though, if you could just get rid of all the damn tourists....
Uno de Enero, dos de febrero, tres de marzo....

At 5:46 PM, Blogger Sal DeTraglia said...

Hey Iron Man:

I'm with you on the "respect for vaquillas" thing. My town (Cabanillas) does a Running of the Bulls each July, although on a much smaller scale. One of the runners last year was gored in the glutes by a vaquilla. He was tossed heels over head like nothing, and bled an ocean of blood during the few seconds between the time he hit the ground and the time he was carried into an ambulance. If you go to my July (I believe) 2004 archives, there is an extensive write-up. It was gruesome.

This perfectly explains my attitude toward runners. It's not one of condescencion, but of perplexity (if there is such a word). Why would anyone put himself in the path of such raw power, ferocity and danger if its not necessary? It simply doesn't compute with me. And no...I don't buy the "adrenaline rush" excuse, either. If you want an adrenaline rush, then pop "Electric Lady Land" into your CD player crank it up to 11. You'll get the rush, and it won't cost you an ocean of blood.

Thanks for posting again, Iron Dude. You win the VTB Frequent Flyer award for July '05.


At 3:44 PM, Blogger FMH said...

Hi mates,

I am a Spaniard. But I normally go to bed no later than 11 - never do siesta by the way. Have lunch, if possible, no later than 2 and dinner at about 8.30. I speak (or pretend to) English, Italian and some French. I hate flamenco (mainly because I don't understand it). I love quiet restaurants and pleasant conversation. I find the summer in this country unbearably hot and, although I like bullfighting, I leave it for professionals. I was 4 when Franco died. I'm not the type of 'macho' but, well, my wife is not a portrait of Carmen either.


Hemingway, Mériméé and a few others have inflicted more damage on Spanish self-esteem that the bloody English fleet in Trafalgar. God, I hate them!

Fer (yet surviving another summer)

At 5:55 PM, Blogger Culinary Fool said...

Heard on the news this morning - 4 gored and 7 trampled... At least I know you're not one of them! :-)

~ B


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