Ecuador

Death in the Afternoon

Last Sunday, I went to my first bullfight – my first real Spanish bullfight, at least. Every year, for the fiestas of Quito, the city brings in from Madrid and Sevilla the world`s best bullfighters to satiate Quiteños´ homicidal palate. What I didn´t anticipate was developing a homicidal palate of my own. Despite whatever tree-hugging and animal-loving tendencies I may have inherited from my mother, I loved it (as soon as the nausea from the first kill had passed).

Thanks to Craig, who had been an avid bullfighting fan in Spain, we actually had a clue what was going on. The progression went something like this: first, at the sound of the judges´ trumpets, the bull comes out of the chute to be goaded by a handful of what I took to be the spandex-clad equivalent of rodeo clowns. Those are followed by two picadores, guys on armored horses with long poles that they stick into the bulls´ necks. Thus piqued, the thousand-pound beast faces two more clowns on foot with hooked, flower-covered, meter-long poles. They also aim for the bull´s neck, jumping away from the horns at the last minute.

Then, once the bull is bleeding and panting, out comes the brave torero. He waves his cape around for a while, goading the bull to exhaustion, then finally plunges his sword down through the bull´s neck and into its heart. If he hits his mark, the beast collapses and is finished off by another round of clowns. If he does extremely well, he is gifted with some hacked-off part of the bull – an ear, two ears, or a tail.

Not exactly the Bossier-Shreveport Mudbugs, right?

N.B: if you´re reading this in facebook, you`ll have to head to my blog to see photos.

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