Tuesday, July 5, 2011

San Fermin

"Todo el mundo está invitado y a todo el mundo le gustaría venir, pero solo unos pocos son los elegidos"
Translation: All the world is invited, and all the world wants to come, but few are elected

And so the madness known as San Fermin finally begins. It is only 9 am here and already the shops and streets are filled with people preparing for the opening ceremony, El Chupinazo. At noon, everyone heads to the town center to put on their "pañuelo" (a red scarf) to symbolize the beginning of San Fermin. While I am not wearing the customery attire, almost everyone else is decked out in all white outfits with red belts. For the next 9 days, Pamplona is the party capital of the world. Tomorrow is the first "encierro" (or running of the bulls are we call it in the States) and I plan on having a front row seat- even if that means getting there at 6am. It has been amazing seeing the city transform in a matter of days.
On Monday when I toured the city, it seemed like a quiet, tranquil place.While there were people, it was nothing to the magnitude of the business of Madrid. However, yesterday the city transformed. Everywhere I looked I saw groups of young people (mostly Australians) heading to set up their camp. Even though the festivites do not officially begin until today,last night thousands of people were sitting in the streets drinking beer. Already on my walk to school this morning I saw people sleeping in the park. And this is only supposed to get worse. Luckily, I am actually here during one of the least crazy times. This weekend will be pure madness and most Pamplonicas actually leave town because they hate being bombared with all the tourists. I have a feeling 3 days of San Fermin will be more than sufficient.

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