Monday, September 15, 2014

Feria in the pueblo

As we stood in the stands of the bullfighting ring, Lola had her hand firmly on my arm, forcing me to stay in place. “Look, the men are somersaulting over the bull!” But I didn't want to look. I had already seen the bull's face, its eyes wildly darting about, drool streaming from its mouth as young men taunted it, running away whenever the bull feigned in their direction.

It wasn't a bullfight where the animal was being stabbed, rather it was the pre-show. Still, the bull's eyes haunted me. It was surrounded by people sitting in the stands, watching, while it darted its head to and fro, confused. I'd always thought the somersault pre-bullfighting events would be something I could handle, but I was clearly mistaken. In less than a minute after arriving, I said to Lola, “I'm hungry. Let's go.” I wasn't hungry at all, but my stomach felt sick.

The feria is an interesting event for me, in that it contains a lot of things I don't usually like: animal rights abuses, crowds, loudspeakers, extreme late nights, drunkeness. But with every experience I want to try, I search for things that do appeal to me and focus on those. 
The verbena (an outdoor concert): bad music, good times.
For example, a private flamenco show I attended in the terraza of a bar was a night I won't soon forget. One by one, local singers sat onstage and, as the guitarists plucked out complex, dizzying rhythms, the men opened their mouths and poured their hearts out. Us in the audience were so enthralled by their raw talent, that we all soft-palmed rhythms, which climbed into a beat that was electrifying. Honestly, the night was one big crazy wave of emotion that swelled and ebbed, but never ceased. Even afterwards, my friends and I couldn't stop raving about the amount of raw talent the performers possessed.

The feria has also been an excuse to not work, and go out starting midday until the wee hours of the morning. My friends and I barhop, catching up with people who live outside of Villacarrillo but return every feria to see their family. This village party is also my way of celebrating my last few weeks with these friends. I will of course see them in the future, but who knows when? They ask how often I'll return, and to be honest I'll want to spend lots of time in my new city, getting to know it. So the answer is, probably not very often. But I really love my friends here so I'll return when I can.

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