23 June, 2011

Don't Stand so Close to Me

Watching a live bull fight for the first time is quite mystifying, especially if you're almost totally ignorant on the topic but have only heard heated arguments on the pros and cons of this spectacle. 

Apparently, one of the trademarks of an excellent torero (or matador in English) is how close he is willing to stand near a specially-bred toro bravo, provoke it to rush at him, laughing in the face of physical injury or worse, death. Pure insanity, if you ask me, but part and parcel of this slice of Spanish culture. 

Here's a short video to illustrate the artistry and skill of our torero, as he shows his mastery over the wounded bull.  As you can see, my advice has fallen on deaf ears.

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These theatrics go on for a while until our protagonist has judged that the bull is ready to be put to death. He then takes out his sword (cleverly hidden behind the cape) to strike the final blow. Sometimes though, these proud and hardy bulls are tough to put away. 

Below, the bull has the sword sticking out of his back, but is improbably still on his feet. The torero's assistants wave their capes furiously to make him even more dizzy and weak. After all, their boss has to get his applause from the crowd. 

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On a slightly more gruesome note, after the inevitable has occurred,  the clean-up crew comes to take the bull out of the ring, a final indignity suffered by the brave beast. Then it's on to the next round at La Maestranza. 

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