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Monday, June 22, 2009

I find myself unable to sleep here at night. I'm not sure if it's the heat or the noise outside, or perhaps the fact that the time is so different here than Charlotte. I have had several restless nights that lead to very long siestas during the day. Thankfully I found my stash of Tylenol PM and intend to use it wisely during my stay...I don't think they sell any Tylenol products here.

Well the night of the pueblo party with the big Jamon, we got home late and had made plans to get up early on sunday. Sunday mornings there is a giant open market called El Rastro. You can find anything and everything there. From clothes to jewelry to antiques, even old random trinkets. So we woke up early to beat the crowds and headed for El Rastro. (we did not beat the crowds!) it was packed! Hundreds of people crowded in the streets trying to find their treasure. I purchased a big silver ring with a turquoise rock... 2 euros! We walked around for almost an hour and a half and we began to get tired from the sun. We decided we had had enough of El Rastro and went over to Gran Via for Tapas. We ended up in this famous tapas place, a hole in the wall, but a place that has been around since the 1800's. We ate a little snack and then headed on home.

After a much needed siesta we had lunch, a mixed rice salad. Its a good idea, rice with a ton of vegetables and tuna...and don't forget the olive oil!!!! I'm glad I did not eat a lot for lunch, because my evening plans would have been ruined if I would have gone with a full stomach...

Well, according to my Father, you can not leave Madrid with out going to a bull fight...Una corrida de toros. My mother begged me not to go, but I figured what the hell I'll give it a shot. My host father is obsessed with bullfights so we both went on Sunday night.

A bullfight consists of 3 toreros (bullfighters) and 6 bulls. Each torero gets to fight 2 bulls. We arrived at this massive plaza that holds 22,000 people. It was beautiful, an old structure where I could only imagine the people that had sat there before me many years ago. It was all very beautiful until the blood. First everyone comes out in their beautiful attire and you get to see everyone who will be involved in the bullfight of the evening. Then the toro comes out...pobre bestia (poor beast). I know a lot of people do not feel what I feel towards animals, but this bullfight was very strong for me. The first time the man on the horse stabbed the toro and the blood came rushing out I had tears in my eyes. I just imagined how innocent that animal was, no idea what lied ahead of him. He's paraded around this giant sand circle, stabbed numerous times, forced to run around nervously, and then killed...for money and entertainment?? I understand it is tradition, I understand that it is an art, that these bullfighters have studied this for many years and perfected every move, but it is not for me. I watched 6 bulls die on sunday, but I can at least say that I have seen a bullfight, and no I will never see one again. Pobre toritos. After the bullfight we walked over to a couple of bars were people always go to talk about the fight. It was not a good fight at all. The bulls were very slow, not how they should be. There have been many strikes in Madrid, the MadrileƱos say that the Plaza de los Toros was cheap this year and did not buy any good bulls. By the looks of last nights bulls, I have to agree.

We arrived home and had dinner...some vegetable I don't remember the name of, but it was very good. Then trying to avoid a restless night I relied on my tylenol pm to help me sleep.

This morning I woke up around 10am and headed to El Retiro with Maria. El Retiro is a giant park in the city center. Lined with trees and various grassy areas. We found the perfect spot in the shade and read some english books. Later we ate bocadillos with tortilla and jamon. They were very good! After El Retiro I fought with Lufthansa to change my plane ticket...I still have not solved this problem!

Today was a lazy day, just spending time with the girls and taking them to British school in the afternoon. I'm looking forward to what tomorrow may bring.


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