I’ll try to be objective, but I didn’t like the idea of bullfights before I went, and I am even less fond of them now. I understand the culture surrounding the idea of the bullfight, on the danger of picking a fight with a thousand pound animal, standing alone in the arena, a true test of strength. Commodus was insane, but at least when he fought animals in the arena he did it one on one. The modern bullfight is not like that.
It’s a half a dozen people distracting and stabbing the bull while the matador takes center stage. They let the bull slowly bleed out until it’s too weak to fight, then the matador ends it. It takes a long time. The people celebrate the victory against the bull, but the animal never had a chance. There is no real threat, no test of strength. Whatever it may have once been, now it’s just a show, like lucha libre is to a real fight. The people cheer and dress up very well for it, but I can’t see beyond the dying animal. It reminds me of the cruelty of fishing, but it’s not hidden below the water. The noise the bull makes on looney toons as it fights bugs bunny is almost right, but in life it sounds more desperate than angry. It was loud enough I could hear it over the crowd as the bull was going down.
I remember reading about things to do in Mexico, the bullfights being on the list. Some people might enjoy it, but I can’t. Too much empathy, maybe, or the lack of the ability to follow the masses. It was only worth it to me as a student of sociology, trying to see all of a culture. No culture is all good, and the parts we flinch at are sometimes the most important. In this case, I’m glad my camera wasn’t good enough to get any perfect shots.
Other than that it’s been a slow week. With work changed I have time to look for martial arts again, but I’ve been getting over the laryngitis and the weather has been grey and rainy all week, so I watched the last season of Castle and a few movies I’ve missed out on. It’s weird having time again, but I know I’ll fill it up again soon. There are more Spanish classes and martial arts, and I’m also looking into volunteer work with the indigenous Mexicans now that I have some free time. I want to see if I can find any cooking classes as well. I’m getting bored of what I can cook here, but I don’t really want to start buying more pots and pans until I know I will use them.
The nice thing about this city is that there is always something to do, somewhere to go, something to learn. I just have to start wandering a bit to see what there is to do. I still need to get over to Parque Agua Azul one weekend. I meant to do it today, but I wound up eating a pizza and sleeping half the day. I find it strange when what I want is not what I do. Maybe I just needed some time to relax, take a week off and recover.
I have figured out most of my vacation. I’m heading out to Guanajuato for a couple days, then to Mexico City for the next couple days. After that it’s home for the holidays then back to work. If anyone has any suggestions on things to see, I’m open to suggestions. I plan to wander Guanajuato, it’s small enough that I can see most of what I want without a guide. The hostel I’m staying at has something like 150 stairs to get to it, but it has a great view of the city. The place I found in D.F. is in the center of town, so I can walk around from there, but it’s big enough that I may want to hire a guide to run through a few parts of it. I know I want to hit the pyramids, and there is an early morning tour with an archaeologist that looked interesting.
I was watching Anthony Bourdain’s show, Parts Unknown to see if there is anything I should look for while I was there. That show is interesting but more focused on the culture than on the tourism that No Reservations always was. It’s not very likely that I’ll be looking for cultural revolutionaries and crime journalists while I’m there. I would definitely be interested, but I doubt I’ll be there long enough. My anthropology teacher was right, the longer you’re in a culture the less you realize you know about it.
I was talking to one of my students this week about the corruption in Mexico, and he said something I’ve heard here before. “We have the government we deserve.” That is the least effective rallying cry I’ve ever heard. I know the youth of this country are beginning to think differently, but how will they really change the country? If the great leader they need emerges, they will likely be executed for it. Maybe their death would be the martyr that Mexico could use to become something more, but it’s hard to say. It’s hard to predict a revolution before it begins. Something is coming, but I have no idea when. It might be generations before things change here.
This place is beautiful, wondrous, and amazing, but at the same time so dark and troubled. So simple and so complicated. There are always new things around every corner and down every hallway, but at the same time everything is so familiar and comforting. I wonder if I will ever get a hold of it, and I wonder if I ever should.