Another friend from home arrived today, making the grand total of former Wilkes-Barreians living in London 3. Thatís 3 I know of, but Iím willing to bet that it works as a grand total too: W-B doesnít encourage much activity more ambitious than getting old, let alone international travel. We didnít take him anywhere crazily exotic, just to the touristy but fun Leicester Square area. Having seen how he and Mike gaped right after jumping the pond, I now know what I must have looked like: wide-eyed wandering, obviously nervous and eager to explore. We have another friend coming in a week; by the end of the summer, I may qualify to be a London tour guide! Itís all good: the more the merrier. Our guests surely wonít be living in luxury, but weíll definitely still show them a good time.
Iím going to Spain the morning of the 5th, and my dadís more than a little nervous. At his request, Iíve developed a list of things Iíll remember while sprinting from the steaks:
1. Don't fall.
2. If I do fall, cover my head and don't get up. When all the bulls have passed, observers come onto the track and let you know itís safe to get up. The deaths that do happen are because drunken people are hit by bulls while halfway standing. Getting hit with a really big hamburger centralizing its force on your spine isn't the healthiest thing for the back.
3. Stay inside on the corners. Bulls are rather fat and the track is cobblestone, so they tend to slip and slide when the road turns.
4. Talk to the Spaniards. Comprendo un poco espanol and many of them will know at least a little english, so I'll have Spanglish conversations about la strategia para corriendo.
5. Be sober. I'll be at a huge advantage in terms of reaction speed.
6. Don't climb out. Onlookers supposedly have a tendency to push those that change their mind mid-run back into the alley, regardless of the proximity of large, angry beef bundles.
7. Don't stop until Iím in the arena. Sounds like a no-brainer, but I guess some bulls run significantly later than others and people who stop have gotten horned surprises.
8. Be aware that people are a little more concerned about not being gored than they are about whether they're elbowing me. Some say the barrage of people is more dangerous than the stampede of bulls, so I'll be watching for and reacting to more than the hoofed animals.
9. Don't hang out in the arena. Too many bulls, too little idea from what direction they're coming. At this point, onlookers help you up over the sides.
10. Watch other people. If they're reacting to something, it very well may be a large, angry steak on the run.
11. Come back to London. No matter how much fun I have at the bullrun, I really should show up for work on Tuesday.
Yeah, iím a little nervous and pumped...