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Barcelona’s Birthday Gift to Me

Barcelona will be closing it’s last bullring due to, say it with me: lack of demand. What a wonderful 40th birthday gift to me!

I will, however, believe it when I see it. I was in Barcelona two years ago, soon after it declared itself "an anti-bullfighting city," and let’s just say that declaration must have occurred in Barcelona’s collective dreams, because there was nothing "anti-bullfighting" about the place. I was encouraged to go to a bullfight by nearly every local I encountered, and when I reminded them of the cruelty of the "sport," they all sort of chuckled with that more-commonly-seen-in-France look that says, "silly American." And then, of course, they tossed the c-word my way ("culture," in case your mind went elsewhere). Oh yeah, and "tradition."

Now, I’d love to say that it was the older folks who didn’t think that bullfighting was cruel, or at least didn’t think it should be banned. It was everyone. Even women.

Furthermore, in 2004, the Catalonians (people in Barcelona) hated the US so much, and were so vocal about their animosity, that I found myself wanting to defend our foreign policies. And that, my friends, rarely happens.

I try to discourage people from going to Barcelona every chance I get. It’s not a vegetarian-friendly city (they equate vegetarians with pescetarians, and it’s almost impossible to get a vegan meal at a regular restaurant if you don’t like Indian food–and I don’t). You’re out of luck unless you can get everyone you’re with to go to a health food store or restaurant (there are a couple) where, thankfully, you might meet a couple of Animal People (although the stores and menus are loaded with dairy products).

I hope Barcelona is serious about this, and I hope that the running of the bulls is the next hideously-cruel event to get banned.

Remember, if you give them your tourist dollars, you are making a statement whether you intend to or not. You are telling them: I like your city and I support what you do. If you don’t support what they do, don’t give them your money.

2 Comments Post a comment
  1. Anonymous #

    40th birthday A…I remember when I was smart assed teenager (like there are any other kind) I said to my girlfriend "I'd rather be dead than turn 30!" Well my wish did not come true because I'm 43 years old now…lol. I know now that aging is not as bad as I thought it was going to be because as a teenage your life revolves around you looks and as adult you hopefully have more important things to concentrate on that just that. Mmmm let me guess yours might be animal causes just like mind…lol. I wish you a very wonderful birthday.

    Laura Lee

    December 21, 2006
  2. Seb #

    I agree, I really had a hard time finding anything I could eat in Barcelona, and I didn't like the culture of animal abuse. Same thing in some French places, especially Lyon and the south west. Defenders of culture and tradition tend to defend only their own culture and tradition, and be closed to others. But regarding the anti-American thing, and the "silly American" look you say is most commonly seen in France, I sympathise with you but I gotta say that I believe you may have been influenced by Fox and the other American brainwashers. I grew up in France and I don't know anyone like that. I do know some idiots who are not open to other cultures and the vast majority of French people are completely lost to the principle of veganism. But the anti-American thing is not true, it's propaganda – don't believe it. Don't assume that because someone is rude to you, it is because you're an American. Some people are rude and hate everyone regardless of nationality. They would be much ruder to you if you were a citizen of arab descent, in fact (sadly).
    I nearly forgot… Happy 40th birthdays, wishing you the very best, and keep up your great posts!

    December 22, 2006

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