Sunday, May 30, 2010

Culture overload, abort, abort! ...and bleeding bulls.

The next day Indiana and I arose with the roosters in order to soak up some Madrileño culture, as much as we could in 24 hours. We started with some chocolate con churros, a Spanish breakfast. The chocolate is supposed to be hot chocolate. But in this context, it is basically a thick, creamy, orgasmic lava of chocolate in a cup. It is so thick that when you dip your churro, it sticks all around it and creates the most amazing sweet breakfast. As a choco-holic, the Deputy never shies away from a choco-challenge and this was no choco-different. I INHALED the churros and the chocolate. I drank the chocolate like I had just upturned a Hershey's syrup bottle, bringing me back to my childhood. Enough with romanticizing sugar products, we were off to the Reina Sofia and the Museo del Prado to see some art.

The first museum, the Reina Sofía, presented the artwork of more modern, progressive art depicting cubism and realism by artists like Miró, Dalí and Picasso. Indiana is a great museum goer. She, like I, did the slow sauntering gait through the wide hallways of the gallery. Taking both hands clasped behind your back as you gently kneel to the paintings description, but with a certain air that you are only looking to reaffirm your first impression that it was from Miró's later work. Even if you see it is from a random Flemish Impressionist, you slowly nod and look up and maintain the cultured essence about you, with your nose raised slightly above sea-level. The work was fantastic, I really enjoyed the museum, we spent an hour just on one floor. Some of the artwork went completely over my head (Miro's "Landscape" with a line across the canvas, a red dot below it, and six-pointed star above it). I mean I "understand" the theory and social and political commentary behind it, but I am more of a Renaissance man (using the term Renaissance as an adjective in reference to the 15-1600's art movement and not to my multi-faceted abilities).

We spent so much time in the first museum and may have over-indulged the museum pace that we had to quickly scamper through the second museum. Almost as if we had recorded our first museum walk and essence and played it in fast forward, arms still behind our backs just the shuffling of feet and nodding of head was more for going through the motions.

THEN THE PLAZA DE TORROS. Probably the highlight of the weekend was taking the metro to Las Ventas and seeing my first bullfight. A lot of the locals have not even been to one because of the depravity and inhuman nature of it, but when in Rome do as the locals don't have the stomach for. After hustling for some scalped tickets, we enter the arena. We wore decent clothing and sunflower seeds to make sure we fit in with the toothless savages that attend such displays. We could not have been more off. The person who attends a bullfight is of the upper-class, with collared shirts and jackets for the men and the appropriate counterpart for the women. As I sat spitting my sunflower seeds on the floor in front of me, my neighbor lightly placed it into a cup. It was quite a bait and switch for us.

So the bull charges out, raging in anger. There are three bullfighters, each fight twice and they are composed of teams. Within on corrida there are three rounds: the main bullfighter tires the bull a little, then men on horses with lances strike the initial blows, then vigilante torreros holding only but two spikes insert at least six into the bulls back, then the final torrero tires the bull until he has a chance to make the fatal strike with a sword to the nape of the bull's neck. Graphic, I know, but it entranced me for two solid hours. It possessed artistry, athleticism and skill. It was not a bullfight but a bull dance. It didn't help that the torrero was dressed like he was just voted off Dancing With the Stars, with jewel encrusted corset and tights. It was brutal and barbaric in a way that invites the audience into an accurate depiction of a traditional past, something that we can all respect.


  1. chocolate con churros = dank. so good.

  2. Great photo! I have so say, the jealousy of your chocolate con churros is only trumped by how much fun you're having ... Can't wait to meet up in Barcelona.

  3. but where do you keep getting bulls from if they are always killed? and what do they do with the dead bull afterwards? can you eat it? can you make something of it? hmm.. seems wasteful.