Barb and I spent an interesting evening in a local Montercorto Tapas bar with all the local men watching a big flat screen with bull fighting – live – somewhere in Spain. Quite a spectacle – the bull enters , all 500 kgs runs into the arena and looks very seriously pissed off from the outset – perhaps he knows that he Is destined for hamburger meat in the very near future. I understand that bulls only ever have one fight – the matadors take that as a given as a bull that has had any experience would learn a trick or two and be extremely dangerous.
It is a highly ritualized slaughter with several performers in the team – the picadors -horseback mounted lancers who stab the bulls neck area causing blood loss – ( we saw one get tossed off his horse and get dealt to by the bull ) Three banderilleros who task is the insert 2 barbed flag topped sticks into the bulls flanks to cause even more damage and blood loss and the star performer the Matador who is dressed in a classy costume that seemed to drive the woman in the crowd wild. The matador waves a little red cape at the colour blind Bull and the bull seems to oblige and charge it repeatedly. The crowd assesses the matadors courage – how he controls the situation – shows no fear and even contemptuously turns his back on the bull. The crowd really gets into the performance – displaying support and or contempt If they think the Matador is failing in his ritualized task is killing the bull in a timely manner and without too much cruelty.
When the bull finally gets tired and probably weak with blood loss the matador gets his sword and attempts to finish the act with a quick thrust to the heart and or a killer severing of the spinal chord.
And does the bull ever win?? Not often – but it does happen that a bull may be given a life when the president of proceedings waves a special flag – usually prompted by crowd pressure from a crowd who appreciate the courage and skill of a particularly daring bull. The lucky bull will never fight again – he would be deadly next time – but retires to his next job — stud to breed other fighting bulls.
Did remind me of a funny story about a tourist eating at a restaurant outside a bull ring. He was watching food being delivered to other customers and noticed a lovely looking dish with 2 large dumpling like things in an aromatic sauce. He asked the waiter about the name for the dish and was told that it was a very special dish made from bulls testicles – traditional cuisine and straight from the arena.
He returned the following evening and requested the dish. When it finally arrived he was awfully disappointed as it looked very insubstantial – too very small round lumps – nothing like the sumptuous dish he remembered from yesterday. He voiced his complaint to the waiter – who replied ” Si Senore – but sometimes the bull – he wins”
For the record Barb hated it – could not watch after the first bulls demise. I wonder how long this tradition will last. – not long now I suspect.