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feria 2022 (1)

Stopped by opening day of the Feria de Abril yesterday to take some pics as rain was being forecast for the rest of the week and OMG. First of all it was about 30º without shade or breeze, and the number of people was, well frankly, alarming. Apparently Sunday set a new record for attendance, which is saying something about an event that is almost always packed out. I didn’t linger.

I took a few photos and then quickly lost interest. I don’t know if it was Covid burnout but I no longer saw the Feria goers simply as happy folk out for a good time. Instead all I could think of was how reckless – and yes selfish – they were all being. Totally crammed into airless casetas, no masks in sight, with barely any space to move, shouting and laughing into each other’s faces, hugging and kissing and dancing. Happy to be enjoying things being “normal” again after having missed their beloved Feria for two years. It was like being at a Covid Deniers convention.

To be honest, I lost interest in Feria years ago but still enjoyed spending one afternoon there taking photos of the colourful dresses and beautiful horses, then stopping somewhere for a quick manzanilla before heading home again. But yesterday it felt like there was a kind of desperation in all the merry making. And worse, I saw the horses suffering under the blazing sun, being forced to keep making the rounds either so their riders could show off or the carriage drivers could make money overcharging tourists. More than once I saw a horse balk and refuse to go any further, then be forced to keep going. It all made me quite sad and after a very short time I was ready to leave. So who knows, maybe that’s it for me and that was my last Feria.

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