Monday, September 19, 2005

Seville, Spain - DAY TWO

Seville! I love it!
Woke up this morning with little, actually big, bites on my arms and legs (It's sick cause now they're a little weepy... sorry, but it's true. I'm pretty damn gross. No fun.
I told the guy at reception cause I want to make sure that they sterilize everything when I leave but for some reason he didn't seem all that worried and simply said that they would change the bedding... God and I know that won't help the next person.
It was Sunday, and of course nothing is open so we couldn't do our damn laundry. I have to go through yet ANOTHER day of wearing bug infested clothes and sleeping in a bug infested bed (Infested by me, sadly - the bed, that is).
That aside, I got up earlier than Luke and tried to drag him out of bed but he wouldn't have it so I went ahead to the cafe on the corner with my book and had a cappuccino. Luke arrived shortly after me. After the cappuccino we wandered around a bit to find the tourist office where we could find out the time of the BULL FIGHT in the evening. Bull fights are on every Sunday.... we had damn good timing stopping here for the weekend! At the info centre we ran into the lovely Miles and Jo. We found out that the Bull fight was at 6:30pm so, starving, we all headed out for lunch. We found an Irish pub/restaurant that served regular pub food (None of us are all that fond of Spanish food - It's kinda creepy) where Luke and I had THE BEST grilled chicken burgers with guacamole IN THE WORLD! The four of us enjoyed our lunch and a beer and then headed to the cathedral across the street (The 3rd largest in Europe after the St. Peter's in Rome, St. Paul's in London... the 4th is in Florence - FYI). The cathedral was free... another bonus about Sundays so we wandered around inside taking everything in... absolutely stunning. It was about 3:00pm at this point and everyone wanted to go home to shower and have a bit of a siesta so we split up and agreed to meet at the Plaza del Toros (Bull ring) at 5:00pm to buy the tickets to the fight. Luke and I had a look at some souvenir shops and then headed back to the hostel to take a shower. (The city SHUTS DOWN at around 1:30pm until about 6:00pm for siesta because the afternoon heat is KILLER here).
Luke and I arrived at the Plaza del Toros at 5:00pm SWEATING like PIGS from the unbelievable heat and waited for Miles and Jo who arrived about 5 minutes after us. We all agreed that we would buy fairly cheap tickets just in case we didn't enjoy it and wanted to walk out. We paid €10 each for quite good seats.... the ring is quite small and lovely so you have a great view from pretty much anywhere but we were about 12 rows from the ring itself.
After purchasing the tickets we still had about 1 1/2 hours until showtime so we walked down the street to an air-conditioned cafe for some sangrias. Very refreshing. At 6:00pm we headed back to the ring to find our seats. As I mentioned previously, they were great seats though we were directly in the sun for about 1/2 hour until the sun started to set... then it was lovely.
Bull fighting is not what I expected. It goes like this: About 6 matadors come into the ring, salute, and then take their positions around the ring. There are little slots that they can slide behind if the bull gets too close so they stand near those. Then the bull enters. These matadors (Not very important matadors.. kind of like third string) proceed to tire the bull out by yelling "Toro" and "Ole" and flicking their fuschia capes in the bulls face. Once the bull starts to look like he's getting slightly tired the band strikes up and two men in lower body armour on horse-back come out with large spears. The third-string matadors distract the bull while these guys get into position on either side of the ring and then the bull is teased by the men on horseback so that the bull rages toward the horse (Don't worry Angie, the horses wore protective covering though it WAS definitely still disturbing, especially because they were blindfolded). The horse stands its ground against the bull while the guy on the horse proceeds to stab the bull a few times on it's back. Once they've got the bull bleeding (At this point you can see the blood glistening off of it's side) the band strikes up again and the men on horseback leave the ring. Then the second-string matadors enter the ring. There are three of them and they have these weird spear-like weapons that have a large, cotton part on them so that they don't stand straight off of the bulls back once they stick it with them... they just flop around and you can see them soak up the blood as the poor damn animal starts to bleed to death. Anyway, these second-string matadors each have a turn to jam these weapons into the bull's back. They do this by taunting the bull and then jumping up and out of it's way as they run toward it and it runs toward them. As they land them JAM them in. Not pretty. All the while, the first-string matadors are tiring the bull out by teasing him as we always see on t.v. and the movies... you know the move... "Toro" and they flick the cape at the bull, the bull charges at them and they lean slightly out of the way. The closer the matador gets to the bull, and the more times they can keep the bull going around them without it stopping, the more the crowd yells. After this the REAL matador strides cockily into the ring with his red cape and his sword. The third-string matadors distract the bull as he bows and moves to his position in the middle of the ring. They then get out of the way and allow him to do his thing. (At this point the bull is half dead so everything this matador does is just pathetic as far as I'm concerned... the first and second-string blokes do all the work!). The matador then shouts "Toro" and proceeds to flick his cape and move fluidly around the bull. The way he moves and his costume are much more impressive than what he is actually doing. As the bull gets more and more tired the matador gets cockier and cockier and starts to even turn his back on the bull to look at the crowd and bask in his popularity. (These matadors are like super-stars... they are treated like celebrities and women are DYING to sleep with them... beats me...). The third-string matadors enter the ring again to help the main matador bring the bull to a stand still while he attempts to stab this sword into the bulls back. Ideally the sword would stick in the bull about 1 1/2 feet deep if the matador does it correctly. (Unfortunately for the first 2 bulls the matadors had 3, 4, 5 tries before they actually stabbed it in deep enough. The third matador did it on the first try.) Once they successfully plant the sword into the bull they are given a second sword, this one has a T shape at the tip so that it REALLY does damage. Now the third-string matadors crowd around the bull and helps the main matador have the bull position his head low. The matador raises this sword, glinting in the fading sunlight, and brings it down into the back of the bulls skull with such force that the bull collapses immediately. The matador then turns to the crowd and puts an arm up, bows and walks out of the ring. As he is doing this, the bull is actually still alive, believe it or not, and someone, unbelievably takes a small dagger-like knife and stabs the bull in the brain and moves the dagger around to make sure it's dead. I know this because the first bull was killed directly in front of us. I had to close my eyes for most of the fight, but couldn't help but want to watch at the same time simply because it was like nothing I'd ever seen before. Once the bull is dead the bring out a team of 4 horses that drag the bull around the ring before dragging it out of the ring. And then it's on to the next bull.... If it were up to me, the bull would be let loose in the ring with the main matador, he would have to tire it out himself and THEN he would go one on one.
We stayed for 3 of the 7 matches and then went to a Tapas bar for snacks and a few drinks, all the while discussing what we had seen and how pathetic it was that they have to do all this damage to the poor animal before it is finally put out of it's misery and the fact that the third-string matadors do a hell of a lot more work than the main matador as by the time he actually enters the ring the bull is half-dead..... unbelievable.
After the snacks... we ordered 2 drinks each (sangria) and 4 tapas (small plates with bite size snacks.. ie: 4 pieces of calamari, one skewer of beef) which all came to under €5, we were actually hungry so we found a traditional Spanish restaurant where we had Paella and a pitcher of sangria. Delicious. I had seafood Paella. Unbelievable... rice with mussels, shrimp, calamari, etc. To die for.
After dinner we headed back to the tapas bar for some cheap drinks and at about midnight we said our goodbyes and headed to bed.


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