Sunday, May 28, 2017



I know many people are against bull fighting, and I would hope they would just skip this section of my blogged report.
But if they have to have a debate, here is what I would present:

Compare with horse racing.  meat not eaten
Were I a bull to be slaughtered I would choose the ring.
The cows behind us at Florida although they are grazed, live half the lives of bulls and go down without a fight.

As for the sport of this:  After I've played with them at the end of a fishing line, I take out of the lake living fish who lose their lives as I scale them and gut them and remove their heads.

Then too I eat many other animals which are killed in secret places. Some of them have not been raised in fields of perfect calm.
I remember visiting a bull years ago at a farm owned by my first wife's cousin.  It was in a stall and never moved. With no exercise it would develop that wonderful marble of fat so prized by beef eaters.
Those of you who don't eat meat, have an argument, but those who visit McDonalds' or the best steak houses do not.
Even vegetarians of the most superior position generally eat bread. I think that wheat, when the thresher of death mows it down, is not any less anxious to die than these bulls. Rice as well.  And freekah.

In the very popular American football the life expectancy of a player is 53 to 59 years of age.  Most experience long years of pain after those years of play, suffering each day from a multitude of inflicted wounds. 
Recently, there has been some attention to what football does to the brain, but most of that is ignored by the fans.
Metaphorically, football is war.
Metaphorically, the bull fight is a dance of death.

Here is a fine Hemingway on bullfighting

I know all these perceptions will fall on deaf ears. I know that because Trump is the worst President ever and not one of my friends who supported him has offered an apology, just rationalization or downright denial.
But there it is.
And now:

Here we are as we get ready to enter the bullring in Madrid
Dew and Mari

Paco and Mari

Here is a view of the surroundings from inside.

Before the fight we looked down at the picadors and the horses being readied for the event.

And the show begins:

This bullfight itself was not the best. All the bulls were young and the matadors, etc were inexperienced.  It was a bit early in the year to find the best fights.
Novillada con Picadores
A novillada con picadores follows the exact same structure as a corrida de toros but features bullfighters, usually younger in age, that have not yet achieved the official rank of “Matador de Toros”. The bulls in this event will be between 3-4 years old.  Depending on the exact age of the bulls the size difference between these animals and the ones used in fully fledged corridas can either be gradual or very apparent. Going to a novillada can be an interesting experience as often, what the performers lack in polish and routine, they make up for in eagerness and willingness to make a name for themselves. A novillada in a big reputable ring with well-regarded and up and coming performers can be of equal or better quality to a good Corrida while on the other hand you are also more likely to see inexperienced performers struggling with controlling the animals.
However, it was just fine for me.
It was also only 15 Euro, a real bargain thanks to Frank's cousin Mari:

Mari knows when the tickets are cheapest and she kept watch for the right time and bought them for us.

There were six bulls killed by three matadors and their teams, and most of the show was clearly below standards even for this gringo.
Still, it reminded me of years ago, and I enjoyed it.
Were I better versed in Spanish I could have understood more because my host, Mari, knew all the ins and outs. The only thing she did not know was why the newer bullfighters switched swords to do the kill. Old bullfighters in old times used the same sword they had used to support the cape.

Because this was not top of the line, there were few people in attendance.

I like that. 
I have come to have an increasing aversion to crowds.
Also the weather was great for me. It was overcast and rainy. Not hot sun.
The only problem was the umbrellas. They should not allow them in for the bullfight, as the people behind cannot see.
We had some folks in front of us, and their umbrellas blocked our view the first fight. After that, because there were lots of places available, we moved to a different seat.
Our area of the ring was luckily where most of the action occurred. That could not have been predicted, but it gave me a grand view of every detail.
Picadors and bandoleers were not the best. The crowd whistled at them because their game was not polished.
During the bull fights some of the picador horses actually were hit so hard that they fell on the ground. That part I did not like. I remember Hemingway not liking the pain of the horses, but in his day there was no padding, so the horses would be easily injured or killed by the bull. Here they are blindfolded and take a beating, but the padding protects them from death.
I did not like when the bull overturned the horses. I don't remember seeing one overturned before. 
There are novillados without picadors.  Those would be fine with me.
Only one of the matadors gave a higher level show, and then only with one bull that was perfectly managed.
The bulls were probably second best and young. They probably had been culled by their owners as not quite right for the grander bullfights. Many were rather small compared with the bulls coming later in Madrid as the season progressed. They were not , however, as small as some I saw in Mexico where the fight was a very different presentation.
Politically, the Catalans (like in Barcelona) are those resisting bullfighting. Mari said it was because the horses that pull the killed bull out of the ring display the Spanish flag and Catalans want to secede from Spain.
Perhaps I will get their perspective on my next trip to Spain, which will be with Elizabeth to Barcelona.
Unless I give in to temptation and do another solo trip before Elizabeth and I go together.
I was happy to hear that Mari and Frank thought the future of bull fighting in Madrid is pretty secure.


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