Notes from the Road


"We drove to Chinchón after dark, and followed the empty
yellow-lighted alleys about until we made it to the Plaza Mayor – the town
square. Chinchón is a historical city – like Cuenca, it is ringed by water, and
in the summers, the whitewashed and wood-framed square is converted into a giant
bullring. The center lamppost is removed and rows of stadium seats are erected.

I liked this square, but I also tend to think bullfighting is cowardly
torture; something extravagant and flashy and sensational that derives from that
same Latin mistake called ‘machismo’. Bullfighting is not an ancient Spanish
tradition – it is a modern spectacle, a sick and sadistic voyeurism into the
blood of death. Flamboyant peacockishness in males can be seen in any culture,
but these over-hyped coliseum sports seemed awfully fishy for a landlocked

Before bullfighting existed, hip peasants slid into the bullpens of
wealthy ranchers and faced the bull bare-fisted, and slaughtered them in the
true sense of sport and adventure. That tradition has replaced the sport with
extravagance and entertainment. Traditions die, as is the siesta, anywhere.
Hemingway loved the bullfight and he also loved marlin fishing."

from "Cuenca and the Southern Meseta"
Notes from the Road

Text and story: ©2004 Erik Gauger

[via TPB, Esq.]