Yesterday, we went to the bullfights in the Plaza de Toros. Towards the end of the very first fight, a cocky matador named “El Califa” tried and failed to finish his bull off. He turned his back, preparing for another shot, but the bull surprised him by charging. El Califa went down hard and the bull pounced on him. It was terrifying… I had secretly been rooting for the bulls, but at that instant, I thought I was about to watch a person die and switched my allegiance. We got the goring on video … it’s at the bottom of the post.
Apart from that insane opening act, the rest of the fights were pretty standard. I’m no PETA member, and the thought of an animal being slaughtered doesn’t bug me too much, but actually watching a large animal’s slow death in front of a cheering crowd is not my thing. I hid my eyes as the first and second bulls were dispatched.
But after the third carcass was dragged from the arena, I started to get desensitized. By the fourth fight, I began to appreciate the skill involved. By the sixth fight, I caught myself clapping when the bull coughed up blood, fell to his knees and then collapsed, dead. Frightening. If there had been a 7th or 8th fight, I’d probably have been howling for more blood and cackling dementedly as the sword severed the bull’s spinal column.
So a bullfight was definitely an experience, but not one I can describe as enjoyable. We did, though, enjoy the matadors (or “toreros”, as they’re called here). El Cid, El Califa, and the more disappointingly-monikered Miguel Angel Perera — all of them so stridently arrogant, so cocky and virile. They were a lot of fun to watch: Dead sexy.
But I could’ve done without the picadors. Vicious, fat little bastards on their horses, who stab the bull with spears in order to slow it down for the matador. One particularly eager picador ruined what had been the day’s liveliest bull. Once he was done with his cowardly jabbing, the bull was bleeding profusely from his wounds and could hardly walk anymore. The picador was booed out of the arena.
The bulls were often less than impressive. One ridiculous white bull ran out into the arena, tripped, did a somersault and broke both of his horns. The crack which echoed through the arena was sickening, and they had to lead the bull out. Clever guy — I assumed it was his plan to get out of being slowly murdered in the arena, much like a soldier shooting himself in the foot.
So it was an interesting day, and I’m glad we did it (on our anniversary! How romantic). But I don’t think I’ll be returning often to the Plaza de Toros, unless it’s to take visitors.