We had heard about the scheduled Bullfight on Saturday and decided to go, neither of us had been to a Bullfight before so this was our opportunity to see one for ourselves.
The event was advertised to start at four in the afternoon. Not being sure how long it would take us to get there and what difficulties we might encounter we arrived to early for the event. So we got to the bullring about forty-five minutes early and we were some of the first customers to arrive and for a while the vendors outnumbered the customers. Eventually people started to arrive and most were Gringos/North Americans and Europeans, we were wondering when the or if the Mexicans were coming to this event. In the mean time we watched the preparations for the fight. Three men prepared the ring by wetting it down and in doing so got it to wet and had so move the water away from the over done spot. Then the men began to lay a circle using a rope and some lime and this caused some difficulty because the rope didn’t move well enough so they got another rope and the three of them made two circles one inside the other and big white spot in the middle. All the photos and movies I had seen about bullfights I had never seen these white rings, did the movies leave out some important details?
At about four fifteen some Mexicans started coming into the seating areas and a band showed up and made preparations for making music for the event. The vendors started hustling their wares and it looked like something was going to happen. The parade of Matadors came out with all the other characters involved in the bullfight. There the featured Matadors and behind them the assistant Matadors the horsemen carrying spears on horses that were padded and then a team of work horses driven by men on the ground, behind them were the other workers who had prepared the arena.
Every one marched around and saluted the box where the officials were and took their places with all but the Matadors leaving the arena. Then with a music playing the gate or door was opened and the first bull came charging out into the ring, he already had a short spear like thing stuck in him and he looked ready to fight. Several of the Matadors went into the ring and with their big capes got the bull to charge them, this went on for a little while and then the horsemen came out with their spears. Eventually the bull charged the horse and while the bull was doing its best to ram the horse the horseman drove the spear into the bulls back drawing blood. The Matadors got the bull away from the horseman and the horsemen departed the ring. At this point one of the Matadors got two small spear like sticks and after charging the bull stuck them into the bull’s back the Matador did this several times till there were six or more of these sticking in the bull’s back. The the featured Matador came out and with a smaller cape made the bull charge him again and again. After the Matador did this numerous times he was passed a sword and the Matador faced the bull and with a swift run ran towards the bull and shoved the sword into the bull’s back the other Matadors came out with their big capes and made the bull move back and forth until it fell to the ground. Then this other Matador came around the back of the bull with a dagger/knife and stabbed the bull just behind the bull’s head and the bull laid down and didn’t move. The fighting Matador removed his sword and walked around with it and the guys with the work horses came out and dragged the bull out of the arena. If it has been a good fight the officials award ears and rarely a tail to the Matador and he gets to parade around and show off his award to the pleasure of the crowd who if they like the performance throw things at the Matador like their hats and in one case their boot.
So this goes on and on with various Matadors showing their skills and in the case of what we saw not measuring up very well. There was one Matador who was quite the showman and was a crowd pleaser he got so close to the bull he got the blood of the bull on his costume, he actually made the performance look like a legitimate skill. The rest were less so.
The crowd was as interested in themselves and who was there and what was going on between their friends as to what was going on in the arena. A lot of liquor was drunk and the smell of cigars was notable in the air.
In the end the bull dies and gets dragged off
We arrived early and we left early. When we got outside to the street we encountered lots of police, I suppose they were there to prevent the drunks from getting out of hand.
My thoughts on the subject are; Hemingway was full of it, there is nothing glorious or metaphoric about a bull fight the bull dies, the bull is going to die anyway that is where hamburger and steak comes from, sometimes the bullfight can be performance art when you have a good bull and good Matador, most of the time in small out of the way places it is less so. I am not so sure I would go again then who knows ?