Jenny and I’s last day in Mexico, and the reason we extended our flight, was dedicated to a bullfight. Held every Friday in connection with the State Fair of San Luis Potosi, Oscar had actually never been to one either. From a cultural standpoint, it was really interesting and a lot of fun. The vibe reminded me a lot of being at a cockfight in the Philippines, only the excitement level from the very beginning of a cockfight was here maintained throughout most of the fight.
From an ethical standpoint, it was a little off. The bull runs into the ring already a little bloody and some of the (6 that we saw) bulls were wobbling quite a bit as they ran. Immediately upon entering the ring, the bull is goaded into attacking a horse (who is blinded and wearing lots of armor) with a rider atop. As the bull tries to gore the horse, the horse’s rider stabs the bull in the back several times with a spear. Once this is over, toreadors pin the bull twice with a sort of decorated hook that hangs on the bull for most of the rest of the fight. Finally, after all this is over, the fight comes down to one bull versus one man. After a bit of cape waving and misdirection to cheers of “Ole!” the matador switches swords and prepares for the kill. If the first stab doesn’t see the sword fully into the bull’s back, the bullfighter tries again until he succeeds. Finally, the bull dead, two horses come into the ring and together drag the bull off on a chain.
While I’m glad that we went, it was a strange experience and one that I’m not sure I’d be excited to repeat. I had pictured a “fair fight” between one guy and one angry bull, and that’s certainly not what we saw.
All that said, though, we had delicious beef for dinner that night at the State Fair. And steak for my cousin’s birthday in Houston a few days later. Who am I to judge?