Saturday, March 31, 2012


Ever since Ecuador I was positive that there could be no worse way to spend a hangover than to be knee deep in shark blood and semen, attempting to record their measurements and sex before fishermen hack them to pieces to sell as fish. Silly me, a bullfight is worse.

From the outside "La Plaza de Torros" looks like nothing extraordinary. Walking through the side door and up into the stands filled with shouting Spaniards, felt like traveling back in time. The bull, tossing his head and prancing around the ring was a vision of strength.

I've watched as the pigs I raised from piglets were strung up by their feet and butchered. I've seen goats sacrificed to La Pacha Mama, every body part consumed down to the hooves and the blood. These experiences did not prepare me for the hours I spent watching El Matador provoke and torture these bulls, reducing them to suffering, vulnerable creatures. Proud heads hung in exhaustion, tongue flopping out to the side, bodies convulsing, their knees would finally give way beneath them. This was not a test of man v.s. bull. It took at least 2 men on horseback plus the Matador to bring these bulls to the ground.

Watching them stumble across the ring, the life literally draining from their bodies, was a heart-wrenching experience. I expected to have to shut my eyes, but I couldn't. I did not expect to suddenly taste tears on my lips, and I did not expect to lose my temper at the lady sitting behind me who was laughing hysterically at the sight.

There was some beauty in it all. The strength of the bull, the graceful way the Matador danced around him, the colors, the engagement of the crowd. Watching the life of the bull slip away was grotesque and horrible and beautiful. I do not agree with the sport, but I can appreciate it as a part of a culture that is not mine to understand or judge.

Thursday, March 15, 2012


Cadaques, me matas. Me enamoré. Spent the day meandering your shoreline and taking in your ocean breeze...thinking all the time about my Dad, here before me 30 something years ago. With only a few main streets, with each step I could be placing my feet exactly where his have touched the ground...very cool. Very special.

Visited Dali's house. Fascinating man. Saw his studio...even his paintbrushes! His wife, Gala, was clearly his muse and inspiration. He certainly found a beautiful little niche to spend his days. What a peaceful, timeless place.

Spent the night in Cadaqués and left on a bus at 7:00 the next morning just as the sun started to rise over the ocean, reminding me of my early morning beach walks back home.

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Getting fancy in France

Bienvenidas Sophie, you're not in Spain anymore. Here I am thinking I can get away with just showing up in a city at 9pm without a room reservation or a clue as to where I am. Last night I dreamt in French, which led me to believe that upon arriving I would instantly recall the 4 years of it I took in high school. False. Je ne sais pas is one of few phrases I remember...most likely because I used it the most. As it turns out Aix en Provence is an incredibly beautiful and wealthy place. There are few english speakers, spanish speakers or skilled charades players. Turns out reservations are a good idea. After a lot of semi-anxious wandering I found two very nice French boys and was able to stutter out "J'ai besoin de ton aide," without mixing it up with "menaje a trois," which is the other overused phrase from high school french class. Gracias a Dios. They took me to the cheapest hotel within walking distance. Jokes on me...I was ready to buy a cheap blanket and sleep by that amazing fountain I walked by but instead I paid 70 euros to sleep alone in a romantic little hotel room. 70 euros!! That's the equivalent of my all-inclusive 2 day budget...guess I'll be dieting tomorrow....
So here I am in fancy France, in my enormous bed, eating an old yogurt that hasn't been refrigerated in 4 days and laughing to myself because after all it is pretty funny.

Sunday, March 11, 2012

El mar el poder del mar

I really wish looking at these pictures didn't make my stomach grumble...

Went to the Stiges beaches today! How wrong is it to turn a nude beach into a figure-drawing class?
Swam in that beautiful blue ocean...was a tit bit nippy though...

Exhausted and a little bit homesick. Some moments are paradise and others are well...hard. Mojito time!