The Torero’s Trophy

I was commenting about the Felanitx bullfights the other day. Here is some follow-up.

In Spanish-speaking countries, if and when the crowd considers the matador or torero to having done exceptionally well, he will be given a standing ovation, with men throwing hats and ladies throwing roses into the arena to show their appreciation. The successful torero (“killer of bulls”) will also have earned a severed bull’s ear, sometimes even two, and exceptionally even the tail of the bull, depending on the quality of his or her performance (yes, there are a few female toreros). If the bull’s performance was also outstanding, the public may petition the president of the bullring for a vuelta. This is when the crowd applauds as the dead bull is dragged once around the ring.

I went back to the Plaza de Toros in Felanitx the day after the last bullfight, and took today’s photo. If you look closely you can make out part of a banderilla, a knife, and some black objects, which in fact are such cut-off bull’s ears. It angers me somewhat that the whole fuss is about doing a good show and earning a supposedly well deserved trophy, only to find that the acquired trophy is then disregarded, discarded and thrown out. A little respect for the combatant, in this case the bull with the no. 100, 101, 109, 110, 111 or 115, would have been of the order, don’t you think?

The photo was taken in Felanitx, Mallorca, Baleares, Spain. The date: August 29th, 2008. The time was 09:09:35.

The Torero’s Trophy

End of Summer Delights

Ah, the delights of late Summer. The fig season is starting now, at the end of summer, and figs are sold either fresh off the tree, or else, dried. The ripe fresh fig is full of sumptuous flavours. Heavenly.

The beauty of Mallorcan figs is found in its variety. There are white figs, green figs, red figs, blue figs, violet figs and black figs, plus dozens of in-between varieties. There are Hivernenca, Verdal, Martinenca, Coll de Dama Blanca, Coll de Dama Negre, Paratjal, Aubacó, Rotja, De la Senyora, De la Roca, Galantina, Bordissot Blanca, Bordissot Negre, Cucurella, Morisca, Vecal, Ull de Perdiu, De sa Tira, Blanca Clara, Xina, Perejal, Porquenya and Llimonenca varieties out of a total of some 75 different fig specimen. It is said that there are even too many fig varieties in Mallorca to be classified by European norms. The queen of all figs is rightly called Sa Reina, which to my knowledge will not be ripe until the end of September.

Sadly, though, the Mallorca fig cultivation is in pretty steep decline, as is so much else here related to agricultural matters. You better try some Mallorcan figs; who knows if there will be any in a few years from now.

There will be a village fête dedicated to the dried fig variation, in Lloret de Vistalegre, called Festa des Sequer, usually during the first half of September.

The photo was taken near Vilafranca de Bonany, Mallorca, Baleares, Spain. The date: August 27th, 2008. The time was 14:41:07.

End of Summer Delights

Six Young Toros Came to Felanitx

These six young bulls were branded with their respective numbers, no. 100, 101, 109, 110, 111 and 115 (one of the bulls is just outside of my frame, in case you wondered). The Novillos came courtesy of bull breeders, Hermanos Garcia Jimenez, in Cabaco, Salamanca. None of the six bulls survived yesterday’s bullfights in Felanitx.

Three young Novilleros (Garza Gaona from Mexico, David Jimenez, from Sevilla, and Jorge Escudero, also from Sevilla) displayed their Estoque aided dominance at the Plaza de Toros, Felanitx, in front of some 2,800 spectators, including youngsters. 

The Plataforma Antitaurina de Felanitx staged a colourful anti-bullfight protest outside in front of some 280 sympathizers, but not to much avail.

The photo was taken in Felanitx, Mallorca, Baleares, Spain. The date: August 28th, 2008. The time was 11:15:01.

Six Young Toros Came to Felanitx

The Diocesan Museum in Palma

The Palau Episcopal, the residence of the Bishop of Mallorca, has undergone an extensive renovation, recently. Nine months ago, the Museu Diocesà re-opened in the new setting, and a visit is highly recommended.

The museum displays some of the treasures of the Mallorcan Church of which there are many as one might imagine. There are relics of religious sculpture, archaeology, ceramics, ecclesiastical art as well as Gothic paintings, with a few original pieces thrown in for good measure, designed by Antoni Gaudí. The museum also comprises the very beautiful oratory of Sant Pau, dating from the 15th century.

The Museo Diocesano and the Palacio Episcopal are near the sea front, just behind the cathedral in Palma de Mallorca. Opening hours are 10h00 to 14h00, Tuesday to Friday. Admission is 3 €, unless you are a resident, in which case you could gain access for a mere 1 €.

The photo was taken in Palma de Mallorca, Baleares, Spain. The date: April 11th, 2008. The time was 13:15:32.

The Diocesan Museum in Palma

Carriages, Before Hispano-Suiza

The first motorcar ever to be matriculated in Spain was a Hispano-Suiza, in 1898 in Barcelona. The Fábrica Hispano-Suiza de Automóviles was founded that very same year by Emilio de la Cuadra in Barcelona, in collaboration with a Swiss engineer, Marc Birkig. Their enterprise quickly grew into Spain’s most reputed automotive manufacturer.

My photo shows a horse drawn carriage pre-dating motorcars by some ten, fifteen years, possibly also built in Barcelona. I spotted the treasure in Palma de Mallorca, earlier this year.

The photo was taken in Palma de Mallorca, Baleares, Spain. The date: May 14th, 2008. The time was 12:37:18.

Carriages, Before Hispano-Suiza

Mallorcan Coal Mining

Coal mining is not necessarily an activity that one would expect on the Mediterranean island of Mallorca. But, perhaps one should. At the beginning of the 20th century, there were a number of coal mines in operation in Mallorca, mainly in the Alaró, Lloseta, Selva, Binissalem, Consell and Sineu region in the centre of the island, giving employment to some 600 mineros.

Not so long ago, in 1989, the last active mine, run by the Lignitos S. A., a company owned by GESA, was closed down. In 2000, their old coal mine of Sa Truiola, in Lloseta, was restored to its former glory. Since that time, the surviving Mallorcan coal miners meet once a year, in December, to indulge in joyful reminiscence of past activities and to celebrate a church service in honour of Santa Bárbara, the miners’ patron saint. 

The main photo was taken in Sóller, Mallorca, Baleares, Spain. The date: July 17th, 2008. The time was 14:53:55. The small photo is published courtesy of Pedro Nadal, an ingeniero de minas. Gracias, Pedro.

Mallorcan Coal Mining

The Rise of China

China demonstrated their abilities of competitiveness with great ease at the Beijing 2008 Olympics, winning 51 Gold, 21 Silver and 28 Bronze medals during the last fortnight. Not all competitions were won fair and square, I suppose, but that in itself is nothing new in sport competitions or Olympic Games.

Nearer home, here in Mallorca, you may have noticed a sudden rise of Chinese mega shops opening up over the last few years, everywhere. Here in Felanitx, where I live, at least four of such ventures have opened their doors in the last few years, each one bigger than the previous one, and each one offering wares more hideous and ghastly than the next.

I have now discovered where all the Chinese merchandise originates from. A Bazar Nuevo Oriental wholesale warehouse in the Polígono de San Castelló on the outskirts of Palma de Mallorca (shown here) appears to be the main supplier of Chinese knick-knack on the island, be that plastic flowers, bras, handbags, t-shirts, cutlery, tools, toys or novelties of unspeakably bad taste and questionable merit. Whad’ya know?

The photo was taken in Palma de Mallorca, Baleares, Spain. The date: June 17th, 2008. The time was 13:04:27.

The Rise of China