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November 26, 2005 08:57 PM


Ryan has now clearly set the stage and put enough pressure on me to stop procrastinating and start contributing. As the good man mentioned, I've had the right passwords since New York, but have a habit of putting these things off.

Today (22nd) as our crew departs from Mexico City, it is difficult to write a post about the time we spent in The City without rambling on about crowded street and subways, smog, all-night clubs, street fiestas, and (of course) beautiful women. While it all continues to resonate in our brains, Ryan and I are still jumping at any opportunity to talk about the strange and 'quintessentially Mexican' bullfight we experienced Sunday night.

We first learned of the weekly happening on the road from Zacatecas to Guanajuato. Guierrmo (our driver) spoke of the spectacle and its excitement, but did not have to work hard to convince us. Romantic visions of the bullfighting world depicted by Hemmingway in The Sun Also Rises were churning around in our heads and we were game.

Ryan and I went to the fight with three boys from the hostel who were as far as we were from being 'afficiados' of the sport. Even after the 50 pesos were paid for admission to the upper deck of the 48,000 seat ring, we had little idea what to expect. A yearning for tortas exasperated the problem and a food stop at the door ensured that we arrived in the fight too late to slowly figure things out. As we walked into the ring the first bull was teetering on the edge of defeat. Along with the horse-mounted picadors, the first matador had inflicted many wounds on the gallant beast. The audience was now silently awaiting a quick death. When the 19 year-old failed to deliver after several attempts, the audience became uneasy and even began to leave the stadium. Everyone in our group became quickly disgusted and began to question our choice of entertainment.

There were misgivings among us as the second bull was introduced to the ring and the various actors got to work. The enraged bull darted out of the pen and made a point to charge and ram anything that moved. Strangely dressed people quickly began to systematically get the attention of the bull with the intent of making him run laps around the stadium. Once sufficiently tired, the 19 year-old stepped in again to do the typical cape laden dance with the bull. Loud shouts of ¡Olé! were called out as the matador and the bull danced complete circles in the mud. The cry of horn signified the end of the first round, and the picadors lined up for their turn. They emerged on heavily padded and blindfolded horses bearing spears in their hands. It took little more than an instant for the bull to charge, and we were certainly taken off guard. He heartily chose the black horse as his next target and ran fast. Moments later the obedient horse was pinned against the wall - minus the picador who had fallen in the dirt. Our sympathy was immediately diverted to the horse as it slumped to the ground; unable to move under the weight of the leather armor. Although we concluded that we were now looking at a dead horse, this was fortunately not the case. As the matador ran some artistic diversions on the other side of the ring, the horse handlers removed enough armor for the horse (and picador) to walk out of the ring.

By the time the final round began, we were glued to the action. Ryan turned to me as the over-confident matador was almost gored for the second time and asked (in his typical fashion) "what if I really like bullfighting?"

The fight continued as such, bull after bull - until six dead ones were dragged out of the stadium. As the other people in the cheap seats began to take notice of us, we were continuously bombarded with wine skins and offerings of cheap beer. When it was over, we emerged glad for the experience - but had confirmed many of the misgivings we originally had regarding the sport. Ryan and I agreed to frequent no more bullfights outside of Spain...



Tom said:

Hey Brian,

I bet you were just twitching to get in there eh!

December 2, 2005 10:02 AM