Wednesday, July 11, 2012

La Corrida de los Toros

Overall my time here has been such an adventure. Every day I am learning something new or meeting new people from all over the world or seeing new things. Class has been so much fun and it doesn't even really feel like a class, but I am learning so much and my Spanish is definitely improving. When I run in the morning I find myself thinking in Spanish instead of English! My host mom is such a doll and I am so blessed to be living with her. I met her daughter, son-in-law and their two kids this past weekend and had a huge Sunday lunch with them. I thought that the first course was lunch so I ate a lot, and then Concha brought out a huge pot roast and piled meat and potatoes on my plate. So that's my little update. I have so many stories, so ask me about tapas, El Palacio Real and running sometime.

This past Sunday I went to a bullfight with a few of my friends from class. The tickets were only 6.50 Euros because we sat pretty high up in the stadium and in the sun for part of the time we were there. When you buy one ticket, you stay for three fights total. I wasn't sure if I wanted to go at first, but I decided I should at least go once so I can form my own opinion of what I think about the bullfights. Bullfighting is prohibited in CataluƱa, one of the regions of Spain, and in other Spanish-speaking countries, like Ecuador, they are trying to prohibit it.

Here is how a bullfight works. First, there is a type of parade where all of the players (all men) parade around the arena while a small pep band plays a fanfare. Then, the first fight starts after 6 men are in their places stationed around the arena. When the bull comes out each man takes his turn waving his cape in front of the bull and the bull runs around the arena in circles to each of the 6 men. After they tire the bull out a bit, the picador, a man on horseback with a huge javelin, comes into the arena and the men direct the bull towards the horse. Usually the bull will charge the horse and the picador will stick the javelin in the bull's back. From then on the bull is bleeding profusely for the entire rest of the "fight." It's definitely not a fight, it's more of a form of torture, I think.

Then, 3 more men enter the arena with these things called bandilleras, sticks with barbs, that they attempt to run up to the bull and thrust into its back. Then the matador (or torrero) comes out and this is the main fight one on one, man and bull. But the man has his full strength and the bull has been weakened already and is continuing to lose blood. The matador uses his cape to make the bull charge, and after he has been tired out (we could see the bulls drooling and dropping their heads and hanging their tongues out of their mouth), he sticks the bull with a sword. If the matador is successful the bull will die almost instantly, if not he will have to stick it with the sword again.

In the three fights that we saw, there was so much action. In one, the bull was so riled up and aggressive that he knocked the horse over and the picador fell. You could here the two animals hit each other with a pound, but the horse was pretty much defenseless because it was blindfolded. I guess if it weren't the horse would be too afraid to even enter the ring. In another, the matador had to run away from the bull and catapult himself over the side of the arena! And in the last fight, the matador was trampled by the bull and had to be taken out of the arena. So, I guess in that case the bull won... But they still killed it.

 Although it was a neat experience going to see a bullfight, I don't think I would ever go see one again.

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