It may seem like an unconventional mother’s day gift, but taking my mom to see a bullfight in Madrid’s famous Las Ventas was exactly how our Sunday evening was spent. Spain’s controversial past time is something dreamed about since childhood with all sorts of cartoons showing a raging ring-nosed bull pound his foot against the sandy turf before he charges at the brave matador. Well the real bullfight displayed this scene fairly accurately, minus the pounding hoof.
The event began with the Spanish sun high in the sky and plenty of Spanish ‘guapos’ young and old were dressed up and waiting for the fight to begin. Trumpets sound and soon the cavalry and matadors with pink capes enter the ring. The matadors are dressed in their colorful suits and begin flapping their capes around the arena, prancing their tightly packed buttocks to get the crowd warmed up.
After the well-received peacocking the bull enters and straight away he sees the pink capes and charges. They run the bull around and then bait him with a horse. He rams into the horse and the spearman on top stabs the bull in the shoulder muscles till his blood starts rolling down his sides and hitting the sand in fat hot drops. Next the matadors stab the bull 2 at a time with 8 colorful banderillas (colorful knife-ended sticks) stick in the bulls back if the matador risking his vital organs can get them in successfully.
Finally the fight begins and one matador removes his cap and faces the bull one on one--taking only a red cape and sword into the arena. The two beasts spar to cheers and whistles of the crowd. The Matador dances with death, only centimeters from the sharp horns of the bull and with a yell lances his sword at the raging Torro. All goes to plan and the Matador sinks the sword deep into the bull, toppling him to ground, they finish him with a few short stabs in the neck and then four horses drag the one-ton body by the head across the sand.
The bloody terrain where the bull fell is swept clean and the way is made for the next Torro to be slain.
As fascinating and symbolic as the sport is, I found it to be a one-sided blood bath. I may be under appreciating the risk these Matadors take, but as a spectator it seems like the bulls have no chance of survival, and without the question of ‘who will win?’ I had to feel sad for the bull. It reminded me of cruel children chasing a stray dog around with sticks, and though I would recommend everyone to see this spectacle once. I don’t know if I will put it on the list of ‘Top Ten Ways to Spend Mothers Day'