Spaniards must be partially crazy. What other culture kills animals as a public spectacle? It’s not even a random animal; it’s their national symbol! What if American’s started shooting Bald Eagles for sport? I don’t think that’d go over too well.
The bullfight turned out to be much more gory than I expected. It starts out relatively peaceful as the matadors tease the bull with colorful capes. The bull runs in circles through the pink and yellow fabric, it’s almost pretty. But then the gore starts.
A man on a blind horse is brought onto the field. The bull is directed towards the horse. As the bull jabs the horse with his horns, the man on the horse jabs the bull with a metal point. During the first round I didn’t realize the bull was getting hurt until I saw the blood oozing down his back.
Once the horses are led off the field, the matadors have more work to do; they insert colorful sticks, with pointed tips, into the side of the bull. The goal is to stab the bull deep enough so that the sticks don’t fall out. The sticks are red, yellow, and white. It almost looks like the bull is being decorated for a festival except for the fact that blood is spilling from its side.
After all of the sticks are successfully inserted, the main matador enters the field. He uses a red cape and runs the bull in circles. When the matador decides the bull is thoroughly exhausted he’s handed a sword from the sidelines. He aligns the sword with the bull’s spine, and in a split second it’s in the bull’s back. If the sword is inserted properly, the bull will die instantly. If not, he is stabbed in the head until he falls over dead.
We saw some pretty crazy things at our bullfight. At one point a matador had to jump over the wall! After trying to stick the bull with a red and yellow stick, the bull started chasing the guy. Luckily the guy was really fast, and apparently a high-jumper in high school. After hopping the wall he stood up and ran back into the field. It was mind-boggling that he was able to recover so quickly.
He wasn’t the only one able to recover. At another point, a different matador made a mistake with his cape and got caught in the bull’s horns, he was jostled around for a few seconds before escaping. He had a huge gash in his thigh, but kept on fighting.
We also saw a horse get knocked over. The bull was really getting him with his horns, and the horse lost his balance and fell, the man on the horse was able to escape safely.
The bullfight was like nothing I’ve ever seen before, and hopefully like nothing I’ll ever see again. It was a good cultural experience, but a little too intense for my tastes.