running of the bulls
just when i thought i was scott free, i decided to take a nap in pamplona's airport. like madrid, i had an hour or two to kill before the flight and i thought it would be ample time to meditate. sure enough, meditation led to a full on, hard core sleep. dreaming of oblio and his dog arrow, we wondered through the pointless forest.
right as the album ended, i woke up. nay, i jumped up. something was wrong. something was really really really wrong. no, i didn't develop a point on my head, but my watch indicated my flight should be boarding and in front of me there was no line... frantic, i grabbed my bags and bounced to security with loud verbal inquires if my plane was still here...
pamplona's airport is fairly amazing. right out of the 1950's, there is only one landing strip and two doors - one for departures and another for arrivals. in this day and modern age, they jam packed an xray machine btw the double doors. two spanish centurions stood guard as i shoved my backpack into the xray machine.
then my worst fear came true, off in the distance stood my turboprop with frantic activity to pull of my bag. in front of this horror stood an Iberia airline attendant. she said emphatically said in english, "if you want to fly, you better get your ass on that plane." in front of her, stood four super friendly national police officers who wanted to tear open my bag and quiz me on every geek toy.
after her statement, they all chuckled as if this was a ploy to make me miss my flight. with my bag barely closed, i ran down the tarmac flailing my arms and screaming, "don't leave me!!!"
as soon, as my dirty cheeks sat down, my flight took off to the pointless forest.
my transfer in madrid seemed endless. departing from the same terminal as the previous days sunrise, time stopped for 24 hours. the stores, the attendants, the air, the people... it all seemed to be the same...
once on board the CSA plane, i discovered the wonderful world of sardines. surrounded by 40 spanish high school kids on their way to a track and field event, i climbed into my window seat.
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first, thank you to all the new contributors! i know i haven't had an opportunity to put your names on the contributors page, but tomorrow i promise you will be listed...
departing nyc was amazing and sad. i really wanted to bring all of my friends. i would have settled on one. sitting to my left, on the laptop prohibiting iberia flight, was was a little lady from new jersey. on my right, sat two israelis who randomly met another isrealie couple. the four argued, laughed, cried and eventually settled down after some insane bollywood movie.
i would have paid $10 to curse at them in hebrew. every time someone walked by, the woman, who was standing, would bum them into me. when the fifth person walked by, i pinched her ass. ok, i know it's not kosher, but i thought she was doing it on purpose... too boot, she then moved... sorry...
to be honest with you, if i would have known that my flight had two hops, one to madrid and then another to barcelona, i would have never ventured out of madrid. instead, i sat in the madrid airport and stared at the wonderful sunrise...
in barcelona, i found myself with less than two hours to jam. despite this small problem, i jammed my stuff into a locker (4.10 euro), and hopped on a bus (3.90 euro). with a lightened loaded, i failed to sneak into a museum, but purchased two postcards (1 euro). then i walked to one of the grand plazas. with the high noon heat blazing, i hopped back on the bus for a quick nap at the airport (3.90 euro).
after a short flight and a shorter nap, i finally arrived in pamplona around 5 pm. as soon as i step foot outside of the airport, i noted the chilled air and knew it would be a long cold night (1 euro).
with a full load i walked around in circles. everyone whom i asked pointed in a blank general direction. in complete frustration, i approached a cop and pleaded with him for more information. in his broken english, he told me "500 meters, church, right, square."
walking and cursing, i found "punk rock" square, aka san fransico plaza. lined with punks, broken glass, and the stench of piss, i would call this little rectangle home for the night. after depositing my bags (3.40 euro) and with 20 euros in my pocket, i was hell bent on exploring the city sans expenditure.
as the day turned to night, i walked, walked, walked and walked. tired, hungry and cold, i made the poor decision to purchase a pamplona classic. within a bagett, sat some mayo, cured ham and cheeses. for 5 euro i also got a mini-bottle of water. it was a poor desperate decision, around the corner sat a lovely cafe and for 2.50 euro, i could have had the sammach.
for two hours, i watched family after family come into the the bright red coffee shop. in toe, children aged from 2 - 5.
for two hours, i watched mothers and fathers, buy endless amount of cookies. then they would sit and the kids would shove their mouths with pure unadulterated shugga. even with ear plugs, the screaming was unbearable. little would i guess, that this screaming would only be the start of a long night.
finally, after much marching, i limped back to "punk rock" square. for about 10 mins i debated on what i should do. option one, find a bar and drink the night away. option two, get sleeping bag and watch the festival of anarchy. i took option two. i really didn't have too much money and fearful of the glass studded streets, i took refuge on a clean park bench.
as the hours ticked, my body warmed. franky, i was worried. i was worried that i would fall asleep and would then have to fend off some drunk. instead, i discovered a new job. as people walked by, they would ask if i was staying awake all night. i would say yes, and then they would ask if i could wake them up in the morning. regretfully, i didn't ask for a few extra euros and offered protection from drunks...
finally around 5:30 am, i packed up my gear and headed north to check out the runners. the light was amazing... as meandered, i discovered hundreds still packing in the booze and a few sleeping in the urine filled doorways. as i hussled, you could feel the excitement.
have you ever felt the presence of lighting? well, it's kinda like that... with bag in tow and a questionable knee, i decided not to run, but to film everyone else. working my way though the streets, i saw fear. not just fear of a bull... fear of death...
what ensued, i can't even begin to describe. the insanity of pampalona's running of the bulls is unmatched in words. the hour and a half before the run, the air warmed and death loomed. my words have no real explanation of the insanity that festered within the walls of pampalona. you'll just have to see the video... ;)
(gotta run... they are locking the doors of the school that i'm in... grammer and spelling will come later...)
four flights have been confirmed... i'll be departing nyc on 7/7/07 at 9pm, arrive in barcelona for a six hours. then, i'll depart for pamplona for a bit of bit of bull running. after 22 hours on the ground, i'll depart for prague to help teach a week long course and snag a few interviews...
during this leg, i'm only going to need one lovely couch and a guide around pamplona... i wonder how many couches are available?
Reservation of the flights:
Date: Saturday, July 07, 2007
From: New York John F Kennedy International Terminal 7
To: Barcelona Terminal B
Date: Sunday, July 08, 2007
From: Barcelona Terminal C
Date: Monday, July 09, 2007
From: Pamplona Departing: 12:00
To: Madrid Barajas Terminal 4
Date: Monday, July 09, 2007
From: Madrid Barajas Terminal 4S
To: Prague Ruzyne Terminal N2 Arriving: 17:40