All may be fair in love but it’s not quite in war. Not in the ring. Not in a bull fight. Today in Spain, I finally did what I had been avoiding on other trips which is see a bull fight. The ring was impressive, colourful and some scenes from The Gladiator did come alive. People around me were dressed up, complete with their little ice buckets and beer and in for a long haul of about two hours. This month is the bull fighting ‘festival’ and tickets were purchased carefully by people in advance. Of course as tourists, like every other place in the world, we found a tout and so a ticket.


You get to sit on concrete slabs. Yes no chairs or stools. Along your walk up you are offered to rent leather pillows to cushion your bum. But once you are inside you realise what you need is some balm for your heart.


The fight began. It was cruel. So many men versus a single bull. It’s lopsided at the start. And to make it worse a guy comes on a horse and puts a spear through the back of the bull. It bleeds and it bleeds. Apparently, it angers the bull even more. I was squirming at the sight but then I mustered courage to be ‘a Spanish man’ and tried to see the match. Minutes after minutes there were whistles as matadors enraged the bull with red pieces of cloth. The bull tried to horn him back and so the spectacle kept repeating itself. The matadors have little areas around the stadium to hide from the bull should it charge at them.


Today was an unusual day as a bull fighter was being ‘initiated’. He looked like a ballet dancer dressed in gold, looking royal and ready. The recipe is that the matador encourages the bull to react and hit back. The prowess with which the matador deals with and later overcomes the bull is the art. Luckily for the animal, the bull got the backside of the new bee and bore his horns through, nearly fainting the chappy.
By now I was already upset at this one sided affair. You hurt the bull, it bleeds, you have a place to hide but the bull must be attacked and attacked. Eventually it died. And the stadium roared. Horses dragged the bull out of the ring. And I wondered who got entertained.





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