The following episode contains chocking pictures. Dutch: Het is echt een heel eng verhaaltje geworden, Luc.
Round midnight I left my hospedaje Madera and walked towards the direction of the Catholic Church in Balgüe. The night was bright and filled with stars. I carried my camera with me and felt like taking some pictures of dying cows, bleeding to death due to the butcher’s blade. Can’t tell you why Luc, but since Mexico I wanted to see how a carnicero prepares a cow. In Balgüe I finally got the opportunity. Pues I took my camera with me to see how people prepare their meal here. Hopefully I would meet Rosalio the local butcher at the church, as I didn’t have an appointment. Next to it there’s a little concrete plaza were he slaughters every Friday night two cows. The old fashioned way, by knife. The butcher was late. Pues, I leaned over to some volcano-rocks and made sure there were no snakes around. I mean, since Tal almost in the dark stood on a boa I got aware. They scare the whimpering shit out of me anyway. After fifteen minutes a shit faced guy showed up. His tongue was paralyzed off all the cheap booze he drank and introduced himself as Wwrrisjard, or something like that. ‘Ah pinche Richard pues’, I guessed. He smiled a drunken grimace and shook my hand without any strength (Here in Nicaragua they shake hands. In Mexico you give your buddies a low five and a wrist-punch). He asked me if I was that Dutch guy on this monster-motorcycle. People knew me by that time, even the drunks. I was hard to miss – you see there was no other blonde guy on a white noisy seventies Moto Guzzi-cruiser around in that dusty little neighborhood.
`You murdering freak’
The butcher showed up half an hour late. I recognized him. I saw him this afternoon when he was leading a grey/black and a brown cow through the main street of Balgüe. So I stood in front of this man holding a razor sharp butcher knife and introduced myself as this Dutch guy owner of this noisy seventies Moto Guzzi-cruiser. He said he hadn’t heard or seen a noisy seventies Moto Guzzi-cruiser around lately. ‘Pues que quieres muchacho?’ I told him that I wanted to take some pictures tonight while he was doing his filthy job. ‘To show the world how you kill animals, you murdering freak’, guessing he didn’t understand anything I’d just said.
Pues I invited myself to this…slice-show. Besides a lot of blood I had absolutely no idea what to expect and how they would kill the animal. Will Rosalio stab it to death, in the heart? Slide the throat? Most likely, but how? When it’s standing up, or hanging tied with ropes and all? Hell, do I know, I’m just a city-boy on the run from civilization. Four other guys showed up. They would assist Rosalio while he was stripping the animals. I noticed them in the dark lying down and tied with a rope to a tree. It seemed to be a peaceful night. Only the place where they hung out seemed different than the dry fields just outside the village. When two guys, in one of them I recognized Jorge, he helped me catching this fuckin zopilotes, approached the animals they stood up, anxious about what would happen. ‘Qual primera’, Jorge asked. The brown one, the butcher said, while starring at his one feet long glistering razor blade. ‘Se parece como un assesino’, I feigned a smile. Rosalio laughed. He must have heard this a hundred times. People, even here in Balgüe, like to eat a steak, but without blood on their hands. ‘The knife is the killer. I just sell meat’, Rosalio said wisely. Meanwhile Jorge had tied the brown cow’s legs together and with the help of the other guy he pushed it to the ground. Then they dragged the confused animal to the left corner and tied it with his neck facing the drainage. I wanted to comfort the animal and tell it that there was nothing to be afraid off, which would have been a terrible lie anyway. Pues Rosalio stepped forward and without any hesitation he zigzagged the cow’s throat. I could see the blood spouting out off this one-feet big whole in his neck, floating into a rapidly increasing puddle and seeking its way to the drainage. Oh yes Luc, my knees felt weak at that time. I was impressed by the heavy smell of blood, which soon attracted a bunch of dogs. It took at least a minute or five to bleed the animal dry. Same deal with the other cow. Felt sorry for this animal though. It must have known that his life was about to end. I was surprised how fast I got used to this all. Didn’t throw up or something. Maybe it was because I was starring trough the lens and created some distance, but most likely I realized that all this bloodshed was just part of the food-process here in Balgüe. So they stripped the animals routinely to the bone. I noticed myself lighting a Lider-cigarette when Rosalio chopped ofa leg with an axe. Richard who stayed to keep me company already felt a sleep on the concrete floor.
After two hours I got tired myself and went to bed. Around nine in the morning I wanted to come back to make pictures of the meat, routinely sliced in little pieces and hanging out to dry in a banana leaf shack, hidden in a cloud of flies. I saw that the other Saturday when I bought the Zipolite-meat and was disgusted and impressed the same time – by the simplicity of it all. But I never went; I overslept myself