02 June 2009

There and back again, a traveler's tale

2 June 2009

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Here be some music having to do with my conflicting feelings about going home. 1st half is the sadness to go, the second half is my excitement to arrive.

We had our final dinner on the 22nd at this place called the Trobador. It was delicious! The layout of the restaurant was not convenient for our type of gathering though, which really sucked. We didn’t have our own room this time, so it was really hard to hear the speeches and awards that were being given out. B*Town was there, but he didn’t bring his gorgeous wife. Oh well. Elena came over and talked to us twice—once to tell us that 2 people’s bags had been stolen and the other time to tell us she was leaving and to study hard, but not too hard! They people who stole the bags had been wandering around our group and they stuck out like sore thumbs. We all knew they had no reason to be standing in the middle of our group looking around, and I’m surprised they didn’t realize the same. Well, anyways…finals were fine. I definitely gave them my all! Marianne’s last class was challenging, but great nonetheless. I turned in my final paper yesterday morning, and I am finally free! SCHOOL’S OUT FOR SUMMER!

Tuesday night was Allie’s last. We all went to Oveja Negra and had a drink before the final goodbye. She cried and told me I had a heart of stone, haha! True, unfortunately. I transferred all of my money back to the US. The Caixa had been remodeled since I was last there, so I was a bit confused when I walked it. The guy asked me if I was going to watch the game and I asked if they were going to show it at Plaza Catalunya. He had no idea, but said sometimes they put the jumbo up! I had my last Boqueria experience. They had a lot of Barca flags up and there were lots of people doing the Barca cheers in the market. Since we were wearing our jerseys for the game, lots of people were yelling to us and cheering on the streets!

The Barca-Man U game was aweeesome! Instead of showing it at Plaza Catalunya (which apparently they did later), they had it playing on a jumbo down at Mare Magnum—the big mall down by the port. It was ridiculously crowded there! On the bridge over, we heard that Messi scored a goal and the people on the bridge went nuts! When we got

over there, there was nowhere we could stand to watch, so we tried going into the mall. No dice, but it was funny to see people running around the mall drinking and smoking. We found a good place to stand on the ot

her side and camped there for the night. Insane crowd and game. Ronaldo is a little bitch. He’s so cocky and arrogant, yugh! Long story short, WE WON! Barca has now won the Copa, the Liga, and is the new Campion! Insanity ensued in Plaza Catalunya. The people who had restaurants or plants along the rambla had to chain things together so no one took stuff or trashed it. There was a lot of dynamite, fire, drunken cheering, and people climbing light posts. After hanging out for a while, Amy and I decided to head home, but the way was blocked. So we had to go aaaaaall the way around the Plaza, which was practically impossible due to

the amount of people. I stepped on a piece of glass that got stuck in my foot (no biggie, just a small piece). Here are some Barca sayings or cheers:


“Ese portugues…hijodeputa es” – in reference to Ronaldo

OH LE LE! OH LA LA! Ser del Barca es, el millor que hi ha!”

“Copa, Liga, CAMPION!” – to the chorus from We Will Rock You

Thursday afternoon, we got all the way to the bus stop before realizing the Tibibus doesn’t run on weekdays. Instead, we went to Parc Guell. A lot of it was blocked off due to storm maintenance, so that wasn’t cool. When we got back into the city, we went to 4 Gats for some yummy crema catalana. I got my ear pierced (it was only 9 euros, haha), bought a don Quijote painting on the Rambla, got some other little doodads, and then went to SIX—a store the US desperately needs. No joke, I wanted to buy half of the store. Their stuff is so cute! On the way home, we ran into a mob in Plaza Catalunya. Everyone was wearing Barca stuff and carrying flags, so we assumed the team was going to come by! We ended up waiting 2 hours for them to show up, but it was totally worth it! They showed up on their Barca bus and were dancing and waving flags on the upper deck. They were totally wasted—it was hilarious! Behind them was an Estrella party bus that was playing music and stuff. It was SO cool to see them all up close! When we got home, we told amy what she had miss and then went with her to Aribau to watch them again. Perfect timing! This time we saw the other side of the bus and different people! Score! So awesome! Later that night we met up with Jimmy and his adorable Italian roommate at Oveja Negra. We taught him to say “keep your pimp hand strong” and then told him to go say it to the group sitting next to us. Unfortunately, they were Kiwis and didn’t know what that meant anyways. So, they settled on ripping up his cardboard Barca hand and then tried to steal him, haha! Funny night.

On Friday we rented bikes and rode them all over the city. Let me tell you…Barca is not a bike friendly city. People kept getting mad at us and I was super annoyed. We eventually made it all over the city and saw everything we wanted to revisit in a day! My allergies were HORRIBLE though. When I got home, everyone in the piso thought I had been crying really hard because my eyes were all bloodshot and watery and I was sniffling a lot. Nope! Just allergies, yaaaaay?

We finally made it to Tibidabo on Saturday. Our bus driver was so chipper and he was playing oldies music all the way up. Tibidabo was so fun! We got to see the big church and then went on a bunch of rides! We went on the rollercoaster twice, a swinging ship twice in one go, the hurakan (which is 2 rows of seats that spin, all attached to arms that go in a circle), the bumper cars, and this insane ride whose name I don’t even remember. This last one was terrifyingly awesome! It raised 4 people on seats up incredibly high and then dropped them. If you were sitting on my side, the seats tilt so you’re facing straight down on the way down. It was so fun! I have a video of it which I will put up later since I realize that description didn’t make much sense. It was a very fun day, but I got sunburned even more on my left side. Oh well!

Sunday we had planned on going to Sitges, but since none of us had finished our papers, we decided to call it a work day. That night, we went to the magic fountain show in Plaza Espanya which is one of my favorite things in the city. Of course, they did part of the show set to My Heart Will Go On from Titanic. I had already been upset during the day since it finally hit me that this was one of my last days in Barca, and writing my sad story only augmented those feelings. So having to watch that, I felt like I wanted to cry the rest of the night. Boooo!

Monday I was better. I sent my paper in and packed most of the day. We made a hodge podge dinner last night of things we had lying around. It was fun! We watched some Undeclared. Very funny show by the way.

Here I am on Tuesday. I made my arrangement for my taxi tomorrow already. The woman on the phone was so nice. After giving her all my info, she was like “okay, don’t worry. When the driver gets there at 5:30, he’ll buzz your apartment, okay?” What a nice lady! Not sure what I’m doing today. I was planning on going to bed at like 8pm so I could get up at 3am, take a shower and finish packing and such, but I don’t know if I’ll be ready to sleep in 8 hours. Today I ran and got some squishy candy and then went to the beach! It was SO hot today! We went later in the afternoon so we wouldn’t have a heat stroke. On the way back, we did some shopping along the rambla and got some gelato at our favorite place. And guess what they were playing?! MGMT! Sweet! We also saw (on 2 separate occasions) an old man riding his bike though Barcelona butt naked! Hilarious, but why? Lovely last day! I’ll be back up in 5-ish hours to start my day from Hell. Ugh, I cant wait to just be home and done with all of this traveling!!

Anyways. This year has been amazing. Thank you to my parents for their love and support—I couldn’t have done this without you! While I know I didn’t do a lot of things on my “To Do in Europe” list, I am not upset because I did things I didn’t even imagine I would do! This year has been a whirlwind of ups and downs, and I wouldn’t redo any of it! I am sincerely grateful to have been able to come here for a year. I have evolved as a person, and am better for the experience. While I know it will be incredibly hard to say goodbye to my little home in Barcelona, I will get to look forward to seeing my wonderful family and my puppies! Given all of this, I know I shouldn’t cry because it’s over…I should be happy that it happened. Europe isn’t going anywhere. I’ve got my whole life to come back to it, and I’m sure I will one day. So everyone, thanks for the memories, thanks for the laughter, thanks for the tears, thanks ever after.

Until I’m in the 720

Much love,


01 June 2009

La corrida de toros

1 June 2009

So back to this bullfight I went to. I’m going to tell you the good, the bad, and the ugly and then I want to know what you think of it!

So in Spain, a bullfight is called a “corrida de toros” (running of the bulls). During one show, 3 matadores get to challenge 2 different bulls for a total of 6 bulls at each show.

So the first thing that happens when the bull comes out is some toreros distract him so they run at their capes. They do this to see how ferocious and courageous the bull is. After running the bull for around for a bit and doing some fancy moves with the cape, they have the option to save the bull. If the white panuelos are waved in the air, the bull is spared! If not, we move on to the second phase.

2 picadores come into the ring on blindfolded horses. They each have a lance which they will use to poke and wound the bull with (right between the shoulder blades). The horses have protection on one side of them, thankfully. Based on the way the bull charges the horse, they can tell which side it favors and would that side more. This is the first time we see blood. Now when it charges the capes, it has the tendency to trip over itself and fall over. One of the bulls in our show face planted it, got his horns stuck, did a full on head stand before falling over. Not cool.

In stage 3, the banderillos come out. There are usually about 3 of them, and each have two flags (more accurately, they’re razor sharp barbed sticks) which they stab as close as possible to where the picador made the first wound. More blood loss, weaker neck and shoulder muscles, and the bulls try to shake them off since they’re so uncomfortable. Between this stage and the final stage, one of the bulls that we saw ran back to the place he had come out from and stared at it. After realizing no one was going to help him, he ran over to some people who were standing right outside of the ring and stared at them…it was so heartbreaking.

Last step—the matador. The matador does some fancy passes with his little red cape, and shows how close he will get to the bull that has now lost a ton of blood and is very weak. They use a red cape so you can’t see how much blood is on it, not because the color angers the bulls—they’re actually colorblind. Towards the end of his part, he holds the cape down low and shakes it. The bull looks down, and if the matador does his job properly, he will stab the bull between the shoulder blades and through the aorta or heart. However, stupid matador in pink did it horribly wrong BOTH times! The very first bull we see was completely tortured and suffered a horrible, horrible death thanks to that man. He stabbed him completely wrong and he just stood there. Usually if you stab them correctly, they walk for about 30 seconds and then just fall over. But this one wandered and then stood there, his whole body convulsing, with blood spewing from its mouth. It was quite possibly the most horrible thing I had ever seen. I don’t think the matador and his people even knew what to do because they all stood there and stared at each other! Not only did all of the black bulls look like Ripley, but they were so sweet. The bulls are not mean by nature, they’re actually very peaceful animals. When he wasn’t having a cape shaken in front of him, he just stood there and looked around. They only go for the capes because is a foreign, wiggling object. The matador in white was by far the best. He was very professional, unlike the pink man who seemed to be just dicking around out there. Pinky man even had the nerve to put his elbow on his dying second bull’s head to show how brave he was! No! You’re doing it wrong! They’re not supposed to be coughing up blood, you ass! The matador in red was okay except for the fact that on both of his bulls, his first kill attempt was a major fail. He would stab him, but then the sword would fall out and he would have to do it again. He had the last bull of the night, and let me tell you, that thing would not die. He was a feisty one. I thought this one should have been spared, instead of the brown cow. The last bull would not let that horse go. They had to pull its tail and try to drag him away from it after about 5 minutes. Poor horse. But yeah, he wouldn’t die, so they gave him a death jab in the back of the next and he dropped to the floor like a towel. On the way out, we followed the smear of blood and saw where they were taking the bulls. Two words: meat hooks. Yugh. All of them were skinned and hanging there except for the newcomer who was currently being attached to hooks and being raised up. Poor little guy. His head fell and splashed in the basin of blood below it =(

All in all, I thought it was interesting, but I don’t think I would go to another one by choice. I was rooting for the bull and the horses the entire time, haha!

Other facts to ponder about bullfighting:
+Spanish people yell “olé” when the bull charges the cape
+If it weren’t for bullfighting, this breed of bull would have gone extinct years ago
+While they’re living, they’re treated like kings. They get the best food and the best lady cows.
+They give the meat away, usually to the poor
/A bull fighter who does well can receive a prize of one ear, two ears, or the tail, which is the best prize
-Sometimes the horses that the picadors ride on are all doped up so they don’t even hear the bull near them
-Even if the bull falls down within 20 seconds they are still stabbed repeatedly until paralyzed and then has his spinal cord cut. Even so, it may still be conscious as its getting its ears or tail cut off, and being dragged out of the ring by its horns
-Bulls are often weakened and disoriented before a fight by means of drugs or other cruel methods
-Sometimes they shave down the bull’s horns, making them incredibly sensitive or they yank their balls to make them mad

I’m anti-bullfighting. What are your thoughts?


Corrida de toros

i decided not to put videos up for three reasons:
1. they're upsetting
2. i already packed away my external hard drive
3. i'm lazy =)

if you want to see them, just ask and i'll show them to you when i get back!