Wednesday, July 25, 2007

What I Did On My Summer Vacation

•I realized that Madrid has changed in the past nine years from a cosmopolitan-yet-still-very Spanish city into more of a generic, European Union one. Globalization strikes again. Walking and eating in Madrid continues to be great fun, especially on the narrow streets of the Malasena district, and doing a tapas bar crawl to start your evenings before dinner is always good. I was able to see some of my favorite art again at the Prado via Francisco Goya's series of 14 creepy images called "The Black Paintings." Another highlight was spending a morning working (discussing Jason's unfortunate departure via phone with my bosses, damn) at Chocolateria San Gines while having churros con chocolate.

•I went to a bullfight at Las Ventas in Madrid that Helen, Julia and I all found disturbing. First of all, there's no "fight." The bull is going to die, and he's definitely going to lose. Six bulls are on the card each night, but we could only stomach two. The first one was pretty horrible, as the bull was not given a quick, clean death. He simply wouldn't go down and bled and bled and bled. The second one made a little more sense, as we watched the intricate interplay between bull, three matadors, the cape and the crowd. While I'll go to any type of spectacle or sporting event in an effort to understand a culture better, this event is a little tough to handle. BUT: Hemingway's Death in the Afternoon is in hand because the whole thing is definitely intriguing. (But I hate Hemingway.)

•I ate horse meat (the dreaded cavallo) not once but TWICE, including cavallo carpaccio with greens. It really IS on about half the menus in Verona. Julia and I only made it part way through that plate, for the more we talked about it, the closer we both got to needing to go outside to vomit. My take: leaner, saltier, with not as much flavor as beef. And I probably don't need to go there again.

•I had a few-day affair with a very funny, blue eyed trombone-playing Italian named Diego from the Verona Opera orchestra...because ten days in Verona means you have enough time to have dates, and enough time to see two operas in the 2,000-year-old Roman Arena. (Plus, go "backstage" to visit. Too funny. And familiar.) Seeing these operas in the arena on a clear warm Italian night is something I am not going to forget for a long time (even with all the mean Germans around us who refused to smile). Magical, and although I have no appreciation or clue about opera, I caught myself tearing up a little bit in one part. Who knew?

•I spent five days in Production Geek Summer Camp at the always charming Hotel Elefante in Verona (home of 20 pet peacocks wandering about!) About 8 other people from various publishers were there doing press OKs at the same time I was, along with my friend/sales rep and her family, so there were loads of people to talk shop with while drinking wine at random hours in the garden. While these work trips usually stress me out at some point when things go horribly south, this one was the best one yet, and the next issue of Vis (called Private with a Louis Vuitton case) will be out in October. I realized I am very fond of Verona, and will miss it until I go back again (maybe next spring?), but having visiting cohorts in Julia and Jason certainly made it all the better.

•My Spanish and Italian improves the more I ghetto-talk my way through things. And I learned some seriously dirty words in Italian.

1 comment:

godihateyourband said...

supporting bullfighting and eating horses? what are you, the female michael vick? ... oh and uh, welcome home