Friday, July 8, 2011

San Fermin and Others Like It

The Spanishare uncharacteristically punctual for the daily running of the bulls throughthe streets of Pamplona. Every morning the encierrobegins promptly at 08:00. You can set your watch to it. To say that this sortof precision is absent in most other activities in daily Spanish life would bea grotesque understatement, and thank god for that. The last thing I would wantto see is for Spain to become more like Switzerland. That’s kind of afrightening thought and it’s not that I have anything against Switzerland butSpain is a great place because it is so different from most other countries inEurope. ¡Viva la diferencia!

Summer inSpain is especially lax as far as timetables are concerned which makes SanFermin even more remarkable in its rather NASA-like accuracy, at least as faras the encierro goes; I’m sure thatall of the other events surrounding the festival of San Fermin are a completemess. This probably has a lot to do with the fact that the daily running of thebulls in Pamplona has become a national, if not international event withtelevision coverage and all that this entails (I can see it now, “This goringbrought to you by Nike.”).

While SanFermin in Pamplona is certainly the most well-known, there are countless otherbull festivals throughout the Iberian Peninsula during the summer months. Inormally see three or four festivals in the villages around the surroundingcountryside here in Valencia. For theSpanish it’s just another excuse to have a street party with lots of food anddrink. As I have said before, I doubt that the Spanish are capable of paying aparking ticket without it involving food and beverages. I’ll try to keep you informed of these festivalsin the Valencia Community as they occur throughout the summer.

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