Thursday, July 24, 2014

Bull fighting - Pamplona, Spain

To be honest, I wasn't really sure what I have got myself into.  I remembered reading about it years ago and was so adamant I would never attend something like this.

But here we are, attending one... and regretting it to this day..

Truth be told, running with the bulls is one of the itemised item in my other half's "To Do List" and he decided we need to check out the bull fighting as it's a huge part of the culture in Spain.

Me?  I was all caught up with the atmosphere and the excitement of all the sea of red and white all over town.

The stadium was quite big and packed with rowdy crowds.  Lots of drinking and yelling and cheering.

I didn't realised there will be so many people in the ring with the bull.  For some reason, I thought it's one bull and one fighter but in fact, torero (active participants in the fight) consist of the main performer who is the leader of an entourage.  Dressed in elaborate gold, he is addressed as the maestro or formal title - matador de toros (killer of bulls) as he is the one who will kill the bull.  The other bullfighters in the entourage are called subalternos.  The 'fighters' on the horseback are called picador. They used special lance to pierce the bull.  They are there to test the strength of the bull and to provide clues to the matador which side the bulls are favouring.  That I thought was majorly unfair as there's two in the ring.  One on opposite ends.  There's also the banderilleros who plant little colourful flags with barb wires on the bull.  They run as close as possible to the bull and plant them on the shoulders. You can read more about them here

The fights last for 2 hours.  We managed to sit for the first fight which lasted roughly around 20 minutes or less but we couldn't handle it and left.  I still can't believe how much cheering there were when the bull got hurt..

Anyway, here are some of the pictures.  All colourful and so pretty and very elegant.. Till someone or some bull gets hurt =(  

It started with all fun and games and waiting for the fight to begin
We were jesting around as per usual, not really understanding what will happen
We entered in the the stadium and it was barely full 
There's even a band on the ready

Still lots of empty space
As the time draws nearer, there's more people and more drinking
Just before the game commence, the whole stadium was quite packed
Making the grand entrance
Horses galloping out
Some VIPs in the box..
Waiting for the rest of the party
The maestro entering with the rest of his entourage
There's quite a few of them


The matadors and their colourful capes
Saluting the VIP box
The red barrier there?  Well..  there were a lot of hiding behind these red barrier as there's quite a few of them around the ring
Young bull striding out
A bit of a cheek, waving the cape while hiding behind the safety of the barrier
Of course it infuriated the bull
While the maestro starts performing
Then, the other subalternos start teasing and angering the bull with lots of cape waving 

Before the maestro steps in again
To be honest, I thought the performance was quite mesmerising
Lots of dancing around with the bull
There's a quiet elegance about the dancing

Even though the cape is so bright, the bulls are actually colour blind

One waiting to take over when the maestro tires out

There's quite a few of them harassing the poor bull

The worst part was when the picador steps in with his armoured horse and lance

Very unfair advantage =(

The poor bull was bleeding a lot by then...
But was still angry enough to charge

Anyway, you get the idea.  It was a bit of an unfair advantage.. for the bull, but the crowd was cheering and screaming for more blood.  I really don't understand how anyone could enjoy it.  But I guess if you have been drinking all night and all day, anything will set you off.  I took a lot of pictures, before realising what the heck was going on.  I'm a bit slow like that.. =P  Anyway, more pictures up on my Flickr account.  Enjoy if you can stomach it...