Friday, August 07, 2009


Sitting enjoying lunch in a plaza in Pontevedra with the Mjolner crew and Adam when the café owner approached us with a flyer for a bull fight. After some discussion we convinced ourselves to go…I’m still not sure how we justified it but in the end I guess we were just curious and intrigued by the idea. As we approached the arena I admit to having butterflies in my stomach – the kind of butterflies that you have when you know you are doing something very wrong but you know that you are going to do it anyway. The arena was a big round stone building with uncomfortable but very authentic feeling stone steps for seats. There was a thick and infectious buzz of anticipation as the stadium filled – sold out for José Tomas, the most famous matador in Spain. I actually enjoyed the ceremony of the entrance of the matadors, picadors and banderilleros ushered in by a huge marching band. I didn’t have a feel for what it really was until the first bull was released into the ring – then I felt sick, disgusted, very sad, and as though I’d been kicked in the stomach. There followed a slow ritual slaughter of the bull in which it was gradually teased and weakened. I can still clearly picture the panting sides and the confusion and sheer terror in its eyes. I tried to look at the matadors and appreciate their skill and bravery – they were very elegant and as graceful as dancers and they came very close to the enormous horns. But in the end the whole show was one of the most horrifyingly cruel and saddest things I have ever seen.

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