Globetrotting with Push
With your host,
Raji "Push" Pushparajah
Push Does la Tomatina
Dear readers, again I beg your forgiveness for this belated entry from my
journal. The shock therapy combined with acupuncture has only recently
energized me enough to where I can hold a pencil and drink through a
Alberto, my former friend, invited to visit him and tour some of the quiet
Spanish countryside. We spent the night in Valencia before taking the train
on a 40 km ride to the sleepy little town of Buñol. In the Plaza Del
Pueblo I noticed an odd object. A ham at the
top of a lard-encrusted pole. Also, all the store fronts were covered with
plastic sheeting. Some sort of mass renovation project I assumed. The
smell of spiced foods filled the air. Drunken men and women indicated
some sort of festival. Alberto said it was "la Tomatina." The revelers
seemed stimulated by the warm Spanish sun and fueled by numerous barrels
I thought it odd when several large trucks unloaded what must have been
several tons of ripe tomatoes on the street. Nearby a cannon fired and
then all hell broke loose. Everybody was hurling tomatoes at everybody
else. My poor little brown body was pelted from all angles. Welts began
to form immediately. It must be illegal for men to wear a T-shirt during
this melee for the crowd was chanting "Camiseti!" just before they tore
the shirt off my back. This left my delicate hide even more susceptible
to the sadistic sting of the produce.
Whenever I slipped on the drenched surface or was just trying to hide from
the onslaught, a partygoer was only too happy to pull me to my feet so I
could to be set upon and attacked by the vicious fruit again. Pulp hung
from my ears and seeds wedged their way into my eyes. In the end it
wasn't a tomato that was my demise but a knotted up wet T-shirt that
struck me square between the eyes.
An hour after it started another shot was heard and all activity ceased.
Fire trucks came in to hose off the people and the buildings. As I lay
marinating in the tomato mixture a kindly couple scooped me out before I
floated into the river with the rest of the ankle deep puree.
When I awoke I was back in Valencia in a hospital where a beautiful nurse,
Inocencia, was trying to separate the tomato flesh from my own. The
hospital was very well equipped as was the nurse. What I had been a part
of was the world's largest food fight. I have heard the American media
refer to weapons of mess destruction and those tomatoes must surly fit
that category. At the very least I think the Buñol town elders should
petition the Pope to have the tomato
declared a forbidden fruit. In the future I will be wary of any occasion
that begins with a pork product dangling from the end of a greased stick.
Alberto was no where to be found, so my nurse invited me to spend a week
recuperating at her apartment where she proved to be nothing like her
name. Alberto, I don't know whether to damn you or thank you.
(Transcribed by Dave Henry)