Death in the afternoon.

I think I am horrified, thrilled and disturbed in equal measures after this evening’s “entertainment”!

I went to see the bull fighting this evening, and tried to go with no pre-conception of what might be involved, but found that I could not shake off my expection of being horrified by what I was about to witness. And for the first half of the evening, I was quite sickened, much as I expected to be. As the first three bulls died, I had tears in my eyes, and didn’t think I would last the whole evening.

But as the second half of the evening began, I put my camera and pre-conceptions away, and watched the rest of the spectacle as a sports event. And I was very surprised to find myself thrilled by the skill and courage on display.

The whole of the evening was horseback-based bullfighting, and despite the gruesome nature of the events on display, I was quite disturbed to find myself on my feet, along with all the supporters around me, cheering the amazing displays of bravery and skill.

The horses were incredible, and so obviously keen to get close to the bulls, and certainly seemed to understand what was required of them. They pranced and pawed the ground, advancing on the imposing bull with an enthusiasm that was clear to see.

In the earlier parts of the evening, I was on the side of the bull, hoping that they might get to grips with the arrogant, posturing toreadors, but when the horse dancing around bull #4 slipped over, and the bull speared it in the right flank, I was aghast, as was most of the crowd. But the guy aboard the horse made a clean getaway, somewhat disappointingly, and thankfully the horse seemed okay, and was lead limping out of the ring.

As bulls #5 and #6 died for my entertainment, I was very disturbed to find myself less and less caring for the poor, magnificent creatures, and more and more thrilled by the spectacle on display.

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At the end of the evening I left the ring and headed for home, determined to try to capture my feelings in words as soon as possible, but bumped into a couple of my American friends on the way back, and of course, one thing lead to another, obviously involving more drinking, so…

I don’t really think I have quite managed to find the right words to describe my divided thoughts on this experience, but I do know that I am pretty certain that I won’t be going to a bullfight again. While I can now appreciate the skill and bravery displayed, it all still had a horrible, final inevitability about it that I found too hard to stomach.

I think I’ll be sticking to to soccer or ice hockey from now on!

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