Saturday, October 22, 2005
Feria de los Sentimientos
Walking through the Plaza Mayor this afternoon after two weeks' absence, I was reminded of how dearly the Spanish love a fair. And not just the big ones, that have them dressing up in costumes and drinking til all hours of the morning. Small ones--Feria of the Book, Feria of Used Tchotkes, Feria of Solidarity--all it takes is a few white tents and large speakers. Once, Geoff and I, crossing the Plaza Mayor early on a Saturday morning, were surprised by workers setting up what, for all intents and purposes, appeared to be a Feria of Disease. (In truth, they may have called it a health fair). Flocks of white tents filled the square, each one dedicated to a single, horrifying condition. There was a pancreatic cancer booth, a heart disease booth, even a leprosy booth. Not much action outside that one.
So it was with some curiosity that I entered the roped-off area of today's Feria of Feelings. I pictured graphic goings-on in the tents: wailing, hysterical laughter, screams of pain. But instead it was a children's fair, complete with inflatable Moonwalk (strangely called an "American court") and guys making balloon animals. There were some banners that listed various feelings, and among them "tolerance" and "phobias" were especially prominent, leading me to believe that this fair, like so many Spanish ones, had some subtle political statement to make. I just couldn't figure out what it was.