I’m back from my walk-about in Spain and Portugal which was really a bus-about I suppose. There is always something to be learned when we step outside our little village and explore the views and lives of others. It gives us a new perspective on many different levels such as what other people think and why they think it, why they eat what they eat and what is important in their lives. In Lisbon, Portugal I was taught the proper way to eat a sardine…which you wouldn’t think would be necessary but it is. The sardines are not the little ones in the can, but the big ones (seven to eight inches) that come to your plate with scales, fins, eyes and innards, so I needed a quick course in how to eat one. You place the tine of your fork along the belly and roll the skin up to expose the meat, then you eat the liver and heart (didn’t go that native on the dish) and THEN you eat the meat. It was very good though. Interesting too. I also learned that siesta time is a serious thing in Spain where almost everything closes at 1:00 in the afternoon. There is hardly anyone on the streets until 5pm or 6pm when the night comes alive for the duration. I found Portugal to be a very varied and open country in comparison to Spain, and I enjoyed it a bit more probably for that reason or maybe it was because their siesta is only an hour or so long.
When I visit another country I enjoy all these differences in varying degrees but I pay particular attention to the people’s view of animals. Though one does not need proof, science has shown that how one treats an animal is very telling in how the individual will treat another Human Being.
That became clearer when in Salamanca, Spain which is the center of the classic fighting bull used in the archaic and, to my mind cruel, tradition of bullfighting. The area is known for its 241 breeds of fighting bulls. In the last referendum in Spain, bullfighting was put on notice when half the country asked for an end to the cruel practice and even though it failed by a small margin the loss spoke to the desire of a new generation that is searching for a gentler, kinder way of living with the world and how they view this tradition is a good indicator of the direction in which they wish to move.
While in Spain there was yet another terrorist attack, but even as these events occur, more and more people are planting the seeds of change. It is the little things we change in a slow, methodical way that eventually create the world we want. Patience and persistence is required.