El Rastro, bad sardines, bullfighting

On this day we checked out El Rastro, the flea market.

It was interesting and fun to walk through it, although neither of us bought anything. Along the way I stopped for a plate of fried sardines —


— which turned out to be a bad idea since later they gave me an upset stomach. It was either the sardines or the cafe con lech, although I’m pretty sure it was the former.

While my stomach was upset for only a few hours, for the rest of the trip (and even now), the thought of seafood made me ill.

After the flea market, YP headed off on his own (I forgot what he did) while I returned to the library. This time it was open, yay!, and the exhibits were free.

One was of the history of the library and another was about this Portuguese poet, Fernando Pessoa. Those were both in Spanish, but there was another, bigger exhibit about Spanish influence on America which was also in English. The exhibit was pretty good but conveniently left out anything on genocide.

That night we saw a bullfight.


Somehow it didn’t occur to me that a bull — or bulls, it turns out — would actually be killed. I thought the matadors would play around with the bull but in the end it would be okay.

It was not.

Six bulls in total were killed. There were three matadors, each of whom took two turns. While watching the matadors stab the bulls was difficult (there’s a lot of blood), even harder was when the guys on the horses came out and the bulls charged the poor horses who, blindfolded, just stumble blindly, having no idea what’s going on.

I guess in the past the horses had no protection and so were often mauled to death. Now they have what looked like padded armor, which can’t prevent all injuries, I imagine.

But, and this is weird, I still got into it. The matadors were all elegant with their cape work, and sometimes they got so close to the bulls. It was pretty exciting.

The etiquette was interesting as well. People were very respectful, only cheering and clapping when they were supposed to. No one got rowdy. There was feeling of respect for a very old tradition.

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