So, today was cool. I slept in until about 10:30 then watched a movie in Spanish with Matilde - Vicky Cristina Barcelona. They're all so proud of Penelope Cruz and Javier Bardem. Afterwards, I showered and got ready. I headed to the Plaza Ayuntamiento to meet up with my friends, Cristina, Jazmín, Macy, Jessica, Markos, David, Phillip, Anne, Ana, and Muriel. We watched the Mascletá, and then headed to Plaza de la Reina to have lunch. I got little things called mantaditos: miniature bocadillos. It was delicious. I also got a little bit of gelato. I have no self control there.
At 4:30, I left to meet up with Megan to go to the bullfight!!! It was so awesome. There were three toreros: Salvador Vega, Luis Bolivar, and my personal favorite, the youngest (18) Rubén Pilar - who won. Each of them had two bulls, for a total of six. The fights are so cool. First, there is El Pasello, in which all the players march around the arena. The players are: El torero - the bullfighter himself, Los Picadores (2) who come out on horses with a lance and pierce the bull, Los Banderilleros (2) who look like the bullfighter but just run at the bull and stick darts in its back, Los Peones (several - including the bullfighters who are currently not up to bat) who play with the bull with pink and yellow capes so that the bullfighter can get a feel for the motion and tendencies of the bull, and lastly, Las Mulillas - who drag the dead bull out of the arena with horses at the end. After El Pasello comes el Toreo de Capa.
Here, the Peones play with the bull, and then the bullfighter steps in a does several passes with his red cape, bringing the bull very close to his body, but never letting it touch him. They look really comical when the do this, because they have specific ways of carrying themselves and certain stances they take for perfect form.
Next is el Tercio de Varas in which the men on horses come out and stick a lance in the bull when he charges them. Sometimes, it seemed like the bull was going to dismount the man, but miraculously, he always stayed on. Following this is el Tercio de Vanderillas.
Here, the Banderilleros run at the bull and stick colorful darts into his back. This happens four times, the two banderilleros each taking two turns. Once they stick him, they run and jump out of the arena, because they carry no cape to distract the bull. Next is el Tercio de Muleta. Again, the bullfighter performs a series of passes with the cape, but this time, he brings the bull still closer to himself, preparing the bull for the kill. The final stage is La Estocada.
Before killing the bull, the fighter asks permission from the judge to kill (because sometimes if a bull does exceptionally well, he will be saved) and then dedicates it to a person in the crowd, or the whole crowd. He then prepares for the kill. First, he draws back, then profiles himself toward the bull, then he lunges toward the bull, plunging his sword between the shoulder blades of the bull. If the bullfighter has done well, the bull dies very soon after, and then the men come in on horse back, chain the bull, and take him out of the arena. Rubén Pilar was the most successful of the three - both of his bulls died almost immediately.
Our seats were really cool, too. We were in the middle of a bunch of Spanish guys, and apparently, it's custom to share EVERYTHING you bring - chorizo, bread, cheese, drinks - so they were constantly insisting that we 'mincha' (snack) with them.. it was funny, but also a great experience. We got the real deal. They are all just so friendly. Also, when we told them we were from the States, they started calling us Obama. Always the case.
After the bullfight, I said goodbye to Megan, and then my new friend Miguel came to pick me up. We drove around Valencia for a while, then headed to his church for a youth group gathering. It was really cool... I made a lot of new friends! Afterwards, we went with some people (Jorge, Daniel, Cesar, Vicki, and Gemi) to get pizza. When we'd finished, around 1:30, Miguel and I took Jorge and Daniel home, and then drove around some more, just talking. He's really cool. He and his sister were both adopted when they were toddlers, and he wants to go to seminary and be a missionary overseas. He was telling me his testimony. It was awesome.
He finally dropped me off around 3:30, and now I'm going to sleep! I have to get up early in the morning to go to the park with Cristina and co. to share breakfast with our homeless amigos!
Quedándome en Valencia para siempre,