Good Flamenco is one of the most impressive spectacles in the world. This week in Málaga quality dancing can be seen at the Gran Feria, as well as the polemic bullfights, not liked by all nationals. But wise Spaining requires time. The country should be sipped slowly, like a good Rioja wine.
When traveling around the world as a Spaniard, one is still astonished to hear people say that Spain is somewhere south of Mexico, or that it’s a place where all women wear Flamenco dresses and play the castanets, or that there are no cars and people ride donkeys or bicycles. In Southeast Asia, where I’ve been living for a year, everybody knows about Spanish soccer. Taxi-drivers in Kuala Lumpur are fans of either Real Madrid or Barça, and know the craziest details about all the player’s lives, even though they don’t have the slightest intention –or possibility– of ever going to Spain, which is 12,000 kilometers away.
The foreigners and expats who live in Spain –5 million– claim to love the country, though many of them have managed to live here for years without speaking, literally, a word of Spanish, like my friend the British sculptor Richard Hudson, who after a decade barely knows how to say “Hola” and “Adiós”. But all of them, unfailingly, adore Spanish fiestas and food. The Lionel Richie song “All Night Long” seems to explain their idea of Spain accurately. In fact, I only know of two exceptions: Geraldine Chaplin, who says she hears so much noise from her window in Spain that she can’t stand it and my American friend Ann Best Harmon, who often calls the Madrid police because a “bolero” singer –who carries a huge music player in her purse– gives a daily serenade at the Plaza Santa Ana.
Good Flamenco is one of the most impressive spectacles in the world. This week in Málaga quality dancing can be seen at the “Gran Feria”, as well as the polemic bullfights, not liked by all nationals. But wise “Spaining” requires time. The country should be sipped slowly, like a good Rioja wine.
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Ian Bremmer –politólogo estadounidense de origen alemán y armenio, columnista de “Time” y “Financial Times”, fundador de la consultoría multinacional Eurasia Group– es un personaje relevante en Twitter, donde opina con fundamento e ironía sobre la actualidad internacional. El 9 de agosto brindaba a sus casi 200.000 seguidores un polémico tuit con una foto de Ibtihaj Muhammad, esgrimista estadounidense que, tras ganar una modesta medalla de bronce, ha acaparado la atención de la prensa occidental. Bremmer aquilataba con el laconismo característico de Twitter: “Ibtijab Muhammad, primera estadounidense olímpica con hiyab” y apostillaba que “Estas cosas dan sentido a nuestros Juegos Olímpicos”.
When traveling around the world one is astonished to discover that football is –in the eyes of many– a country’s main defining component. In Malaysian capital Kuala Lumpur, hundreds of taxi-drivers are fans of Real Madrid or Barça and know the smallest details about Cristiano Ronaldo or Lionel Messi, even though they will never travel the 12,000 kilometers from Southeast Asia to Southern Europe. Can the essence of a nation really be fathomed through its sports teams?