Saturday, April 13, 2013

A Rolling Head Gathers No Mas Respecto

April 13, 2013
  Got home last night after traveling all day. It was a 10-hour-flight from Madrid to Chicago, then another three-and-a-half hour flight on to Phoenix. Add in the customs interrogation, the delays and the security jostling and, well, we're beat.

  But very happy.

  Great trip across the Extremadura countryside, reading Spanish history all the way (and all the way home on the plane). I keep waiting for it to get better but each chapter of the Spanish saga reads like a comic opera with major tragedy at the end of each act. Some of the stuff is so crazy, it defies credulity. For example one of the Spanish kings had 11 offspring with most of them plotting to take over the crown. The King killed one of his sons at dinner and had another strangled. None of the kids made it to adulthood.

  All I can say is, I'm glad I didn't have the power of the Spanish crown when I was raising two teenagers.

Both the Spanish and the Moors had a thing about cutting off heads. One of the Moorish Kings of Andalusia would, from time to time, capture and cut off the heads of a rival general's brothers then pack them in salt and have them sent to the general as a general greeting: "Hey, this is who you are dealing with mo fo."

Anyway, cut off heads figure in much of the art of Spain, like this little art piece, in the church in Sevilla!

Meanwhile, Kathy and I were in a hip store in Sevilla and on an impulse I bought a Rolling Stones concert T-shirt commemorating the Stones' 1972 American tour which I saw at Phoenix Memorial Coliseum. I asked Kathy, who speaks better Spanish, to tell the cute girl waiting on us, this fact and my wife said, "No."

  I asked why? And Kathy said, "Because she doesn't care."

Kathy took this photo of me wearing the Stones T-shirt near the Plaza Mayor in Trujillo, Spain where the statue of Pizarro stands proudly and defiantly:

This is a second photo Kathy took of me contemplating Cowboy Ground Zero. The statue of Pizzaro was donated to the town of Trujillo by the late sculptor's wife in the 1920s. He was an American who specialized in horses (he was an avid polo player) and was struck with the historical fact that the Conquistadors preferred Spanish ponies, not big quarter horses. The big building behind me, at left, was erected by the Pizzaro family to honor Francisco, who died (stabbed in the neck) by one of the surviving brothers of a general Pizarro had killed. Pizzaro killed two of the attackers and ran through another with his blade before they got him. In one of the early battles in Peru, Pizzaro and less than 200 mounted conquistadors went head to head with 80,000 Incas and killed 400 while losing only 3 or 4. Their superior firepower and armor carried the day yet it is still talked about because he faced bigger odds than Custer did at the Little Bighorn. Of course the Incas didn't have access to Winchester repeating rifles either.

"Where Spain keeps the cow, the rest of Europe drinks the milk."
—Old Vaquero Saying