A few years ago, I decided that I wanted to do La Tomatina in Bunol, Spain. But before I spent thousands of dollars in travel expenses, I wanted to give it a dry run at Tomato Royale in the Alameda County Fairgrounds.
So one summer morning, I bounded out of bed, ready for the experience of a lifetime – a tomato fight with a thousand of my closest friends and my (then) boyfriend Luke.
We were told to show up around 11 am. Unbeknownst to us, the event didn’t start until 3 pm. So we had nothing to do for tour hours but sit around and wait. And drink. And wait. And drink some more.
After many hours of this, we’d made good enough friends with two other daring couples that they invited to their hotel room after the Tomato Royale for a post-tomato orgy, I mean soiree.
We pushed to the front of the line. The gates opened and we rushed the pile of tomatoes.
It was as I was grabbing a fistful of tomatoes that I realized that ALL THE TOMATOES WERE ROTTEN!
Not sure why I expected them to be otherwise, but I did.
They were also hot from sitting in the sun all day. And stinky. And despite their rottenness, exceptionally hard – which matters when they’re BEING THROWN AT YOUR HEAD AT 70 MILES PER HOUR.
Before I knew it, my goggles were coated in tomato puree. So was I, with bits and pieces of tomatoes clinging to me here and there.
Five minutes into it, a rotten tomato hit me in the mouth. I can’t even explain the grossness that ensued but suffice to say it involved gagging and a little bit of crying.
Ten minutes into it, I lost a shoe.
But it wasn’t until I got pelted in the temple with a 90 mile and hour tomato fastball that I decided to call it quits.
“You ready to go?” I asked Luke. He nodded.
Now I’ll admit, there was something fun about the Tomato Royale. Gross, but fun.
But the BEST part of the day was taking a hose to myself in the middle of the Alameda County Fairgrounds and TAKING A SHOWER IN PUBIC.
Once in a lifetime experience my friends, once in a lifetime.