Saturday, May 15, 2010

Festivals and Presidents

Today is the Festival of San Isidro, the patron saint of Madrid. Madrilenos are out in full force. Children young and old walking arm in arm with their parents, eating ice cream, and city workers are preparing the city for a long night of dancing in the streets. I'm torn. Maybe I'll go out, but there is lots of drama at our hotel that also has my attention. Presidents and Prime Ministers from 10 nations including France, Mexico, Argentina, and Brazil are meeting on Monday at the Inter-Continental where we're staying. Yesterday the strong men arrived; drivers and body guards in black, and today the levels of police presence on the streets and surrounding this building make me feel like we're in siege instead of staying in a hotel that is hosting a meeting of heads of state. Protecting world leaders looks like a lot of hurry up and wait to me. Maybe it's like the bull fight we saw last night.....a slow ritual dance that I know nothing about.

I want to write more about the bullfight, but I can't just yet. Mary and I went because we wanted to experience this contest that has such a long history in Spanish culture. I've read that the queen of Spain hates it, her husband, the king likes it, and their daughter likes it, too! Barcelona has just banned it, but last night the bullring was filled with nearly 25,000 people.

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