Thursday, January 11, 2018

Beaches and Bulls

I've not posted in awhile I realize. It's been days of guests, dealing with getting our investments moved here, days on the beach, well most days on the beach. Sometimes I have to stop and do things like laundry, buy groceries, slide on down to the chicken shack and the fruit stand. That's between having mojitos and chifrijos on the beach. Playa Conchal, Playa Avellanas, Playa Danta, Playa Langosta, Playa Brasolita, Playa Grande and many more visited. I'm as brown as a leather satchel without wrinkles now. I've swam daily in the Pacific Ocean. One day I stood on a high cliff over the ocean and viewed an endless vista of beaches tucked into mountain coves.

During the run up week to Christmas I had one of those most unique Costa Rican experiences. I went to the local bullfights at the festivals every village throws in mid December. They build the bullring from scratch every year with trucked in lumber, haul in carnival rides, cotton candy makers and other yummy oh so bad for you fair food. They even have stands selling go cups of mojitos and another drink that seems to be like a Bloody Mary but made with Clamato and spices.

One of the festivals was in our little village just outside the main drag of our beach town. Five minute walk on a Friday night brave with lights and music. We got there in plenty of time to get drinks, ponied up the monies to get prime seats in the stands after having some delicious grilled mystery meat on sticks.

 The view from our seats and my third mojito. Yes, I realize by fundamentalist Christian standards this makes me a nearly naked drunken whore.

Before you get too upset over the notion of bullfights here in Costa Rica they are very different than the ones in Spain and Mexico. The strict animal cruelty laws forbid the bulls from being harmed in any way. No matador in shiny outfits No spears, no swords, no pain and death for the bull.

What happens is that there are a bunch of young, mostly drunken, young guys that get into the bullring, and the bull is released. Instead of the graceful ancient dance between the bull and the matador you have foolish young men trying to either touch the bull or get very close to it without being hurt by the bull. Sometimes they attach a small balloon, ribbon or bell to the bull and the guys have to either get the item or ring the bell.

 But the bull is not your standard bull you see at the classic fights. They are trucked in farm animals, tricked out for one night of confusion. As we were walking to our seats we went between the two pens of the beasts and I noticed none of them seemed the slightest bit aggressive. I stopped to scritch one of them around the horns that was pressed up against the fence. Docile, tame and used to people.

So the bullfight wasn't nearly as interesting as the one I saw many years ago as a young woman visiting Mexico. What kept happening is that the chute door would open and Mr. Bossy would trot out with a local on his back, bucking off the rider in a few not so frenzied movements and then the drunken guys in the ring would start swarming around the bull. You could see that the bulls had no earthly idea what was going on. Most would freeze somewhere near the ring exit, caught in the bright lights, confused by the running and whooping men before a real caballero showed up to skillfully rope the bull and lead it out of the ring. At least a half dozen bulls refused to move more than a few feet from the chute door, one clamoring back into the chute to get away from the crowds.

Only one of the bulls exhibited any spirit you associate with a bull fight, rushing the crowd, chasing many of the men in the ring up the side of the ring, seeking to stick a horn in someone's ass.

One of the most fascinating parts of the evening was watching the artistry of the rider and horse in the caballeros roping the bulls. It's amazing to see a man and horse so in tune with each other that they work as one, making it look effortless. I know that type of riding takes so much time and experience. Discovering that Costa Rica is still deeply a horse culture was a happy surprise. I went from Virginia horse country to another type of horse country.

I came away with two impressions. First, bullfighting even when they don't harm the bull is still not a good idea. It's still cruel to the bulls to pull them off the farm and put them through this stressful ordeal. Secondly, you cannot force a bull to behave in any manner you want. You cannot control a bull.

Just like you cannot control other people, their opinions of you, and how they react. Yesterday I put up a piece at No Longer Quivering that was mostly a screen cap from pastor Tim Bayly's blog. He had said a load of offensive things, but he always does. This time it was putting down the entire idea of women are professional engineers, claiming that anything they designed would fail. That's when he wasn't stating things like opera turns you gay.

Bayly always makes me roll my eyes, groan out 'Knitta, please!' and wonder why he seems to be so incredibly threatened over the ideas of gender roles and masculinity. We've quoted him a million times as he's bashed things like hipster beards, millennials, feminists, "soft" men -whatever those are, and a host of things Jesus never once referred to.

Yesterday Bayly finally figured out he's been quoted at NLQ, fired off a series of terse, whiny and demanding emails claiming I am slandering him by using his own words and stating my opinion on his sickening and disrespectful words and ideas. He is demanding an apology.

The very things he's complaining about are covered under fair use and the First Amendment. Opinions.

You know perhaps he shouldn't have said those things on the internet.

He's reminding me of those bulls, completely not understanding the situation or the nature of what's happening.  But he clearly does not understand that I am like those bulls too. No one could force the bulls to be aggressive, and Bayly cannot force me to apologize for pointing out his theology is warped and sick. He needs Jesus and to learn respect for all women.

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