Friday, July 12, 2013

Nurse the Hate: Hate Running With The Bulls

I have made the terrible decision to attempt to attend the San Fermin Festival in 2014.  This drunken disaster is better known to Americans as “The Running of the Bulls”.  Hemingway made it famous in “The Sun Also Rises” in 1959 and really messed it up for the poor residents of the area, who had been getting drunk and disorderly there since the Middle Ages.  In the good old days, a bunch of Basques rounded up cattle, had a fair, and got really rowdy like Basques are wont to do.  It was a good party that was a locals thing.  Well, back in the 1500s it was anyway…  Things started to ramp up in the 1600s with the first mention of asshole foreigners, but it was that damn Hemingway book that brought in the Eurotrash Bro crowd.  I don’t know what the Eurotrash Bro Crowd looked like in 1959, but I’m pretty sure they spent their days much like the current Bro crowd focused on drinking and sexual assaults.  They probably just didn’t wear white knockoff Wayfarer sunglasses.

The festival seems like almost everything I hate.  It is wildly overcrowded.  Carnies will be attempting to rip you off at every turn.  I can’t even begin to imagine the price gouging.  The nearest clean bathroom is probably in Bilbao.  Every drunk asshole from Great Britain will want to fight or barf on anyone in their path.  There will be nowhere to sleep.  There is nowhere to park.  Transportation will be unavailable and unreliable.  Everything will be a hassle.  I will dislike every tourist I come in contact with, especially the backpacking Americans.  Yet, I am drawn to see it for myself like getting a real eyeful after a horrific traffic accident.

The Festival runs from July 6th at Noon until July 14th.  There are several key events.  The first is on July 7th, the Saint Fermin procession where dour religious guys are dressed up in their best garb and they parade around.  I assume everyone else takes pictures of them with their iphones.  On a weekday close to the procession is something called “Struendo”, or The Roar.  The idea is that way too many people go to the main plaza and make as much noise as they can for about six hours with drums, whistles, horns, and that kind of shit.  It seems like an event geared towards bringing out the inner six year old in all of us.  There are also these Giants and Big Heads parades, which seem like a Spanish version of Mardi Gras parades.  This all leads up to the daily “Running of the Bulls”.

The Running of the Bulls seems like a very poorly conceived event for me.  I am a slow runner.  I don’t do well in crowds.  I don’t speak Spanish.  I am afraid of being gored in the nut sack.  These are all very real concerns for participating in this.  The problem is that I already know I will be filled to the gills with Rioja and will get caught up in the fever of the thing.  There is no doubt that I will find myself running in white pants from a 1000 pound pissed off bull, and will be the guy that gets gored and hauled off under the watchful eye of the international news crews.  It’s like it already happened.

Today I will spring this terrible idea on Leo, who will probably agree to participate without giving it a second thought.  If there is one person that you need along for a descent into this type of madness, it is Leo.  Leo’s agreement with this debacle will be the confirmation on the degree of poor judgement I have in this undertaking.  Generally, if Leo thinks something is a good idea, it is an absolutely terrible idea.  That doesn’t matter.  It feels like this bus has already left the station.  I have decided.  It’s now about finding a local “fixer”, someone that is our kind of people on “the inside”.  We’ll need someone that can introduce us to the right unsavory element.

While the festival wraps up this Sunday, I will open a bottle of Rameriz de Ganuza I have stowed away.  I will be making plans.  Terrible, terrible plans.         


At July 15, 2013 at 10:26:00 AM EDT , Blogger Ken Miller said...

Going by yourself is a good idea, but going with Leo is a great idea.

At July 16, 2013 at 11:13:00 PM EDT , Blogger Greg Miller said...

Christoph is showing interest as well...


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