That's right, folks, the live bullfight can be checked off the bucket list because I went TODAY.
Our whole group didn't go, I didn't even know what to expect. All I know is that when I heard mention of being able to such a spectacle, I was all over it.
In fact, I didn't think anything of the fight until we told our parents we were headed out to see the "Corrida de Torros" at San Isidro today during our lunch. After we chatted about the bloodiness, the matadors, the bulls, I started getting a little... anxious? It wasn't a bad anxious, it wasn't a good anxious- I just got a little nervous! One girl in our group told us how her aunt had had nightmares for years after witnessing a fight, and I couldn't help but imagining myself having some out of character mental breakdown in the arena. Whew. Anyways, when 4 PM hit, Fernando handed us a pair of binoculars and we were out the door. No turning back!
Getting off the Metro, walking up the stairs, and seeing the stadium for the first time was kind of like the first day of school in a weirdish way. I was excited, scared, nervous, but at the same time just ready to get in there and witness some bloodshed! (heh heh...)Meeting up with the group we got our tickets, and then took some pictures around the place. One of the main reasons I wanted to hit up the bullfight was for the atmosphere... and what culture there was! Basically all that go to bullfights is really old people- old men smoking cigars and sporting Fedoras, especially. All over the sidewalk there were vendors selling "frutos secos" and other candies, yelling "COCA COLA FRIA AGUA FRIA AGUA AGUA FRIA!" as they tried to sell their goods along with an assortment of fans, posters, and childrens' matador costumes.
When 6 :30 hit, we headed into the arena to find our seats. Something peculiar about Spain I have realized is that I feel like no one in public ever trusts me. In stores the owners breathe down my back, on the metro they stare, and at the arena the workers literally took us to our individual seats and sat us down. ... heaven forbid we sit in the wrong place!! It was pretty funny. Our seats were in the "sol" section opposed to the "sombra" (shade) section, which was fine besides the fact that it was BOILING outside and the sun had not even begun to think about it's descent. Needless to say, we were all sweating. A lot. And I was everso thankful for Rick's sunscreen/aftershave. Thanks, buddy.
Now onto the actual Corrida. I don't know how much you know about bullfights.... heck, I don't know much myself besides what I can vaguely remember from my 9th grade Spanish class, so I will try to make this easy. Let's play follow the pictures.
1. The bull comes out, trotting along, happy as a clam. That is, until he sees the matador's assistants waving their pink and yellow capes.
2. After the bull runs around and gets a little moody, a picador comes out on his horse and stabs him with this big ol' spear thing in the back a couple times. It's really bloody
3. The assistants rile up the bull some more, until the matador (literally translated means killer) is able to get a feel for the bull's mood
4. (not pictured... oops) the assistants come out and jab 3 sets of spears into the bull's back called "banderillas". It definitely looked like the scariest part!
5. Dun duh duuuuuh the Matador removes his funny hat and comes out with his muleta (red cape) to demonstrate his artistry and skill in the faena.
6. You can see the banderillas here in this pic... more faena round.
7. BAM the matador stabs the bull in the back with his "espada". If the sword falls off, he has to do it again until he can get the sword to stick all the way into the bull, killing it instantly.
8. When the bull finally goes down, people either clap if they like the matador, or whistle if they think he's a waste of skin and took too long to kill the bull. The cut off the ears and tail as prizes, and the fight is over.
9. The bull is tied up and dragged out of the arena by a team of horses. Cleaners come to clean up the bull entrails, and the next bull is released!
I thought the bullfight was pretty interesting. Definitely wouldn't want to go every day, but it was a good experience. When we came home Pili told us she'd watched it on TV, and said it wasn't even a good fight and the matadors weren't that great. Meh, oh well we didn't know any difference.
All I know is that the story of Ferdinand the Bull kind of lied. None of the bulls I saw just wanted to sit in the middle of the arena and smell the flowers. None of them.
And here is a little video I put together of the spectacle. Enjoy!