TRAVEL with pat and lew


Posted by Lew Weinstein on February 23, 2007

There is a corrida in Collioure, next to the train station, just below our apartment.

As far as we can determine, it’s used only two nights each year. One night the bulls will be killed, one night not. This year, it’s bad luck for the bulls, and the less lethal night is rained out.

Let me say first that we will never go again. It is a disgusting, brutal, cruel, immoral, and pointless display of bravado. But we did go, just this once, and Mayor Moly was there collecting tickets. There was an almost-capacity crowd, perhaps 2,000.  

The band played and the opening procession, the paseillo, was impressive: matadors, picadors, and huge horses, whose function we later learn is to drag the dead bulls out of the ring.

The first bull enters the ring. Picadors, mounted on horses protected with thick padding, taunt the bull and drive a lance into his back. Next, three banderilleros each place a pair of sharp sticks into the attacking bull’s back, jumping aside at the last moment.

Now at last, when the bull is already worn down, it’s finally the matador’s turn. He flashes his red cape to entice the bull to charge, nimbly stepping aside, a little closer each time.

When the bull is practically comatose, from all the charging and the stabbings, the matador takes his sword and prepares for the kill. Slowly, he maneuvers until the bull is directly in front of him, standing still, snorting, dripping blood and sweat.

I’m rooting for the bull, but there’s no chance. The matador rises high and plunges his sword deep into the bull’s back.

At first, the bull doesn’t move. Then his knees begin to buckle. He is down, but still dangerous. The matador removes the bloody sword, and another man plunges a knife into the bull’s neck.

The bull falls dead to the ground. The man with the knife cuts off the bull’s ear.

Out comes a huge horse, dragging a harness. The dead bull is attached to the harness and dragged from the ring.

The matador is presented the ear. He struts around the ring to the applause of the crowd.

The same sordid sequence is repeated four more times. We’re actually ashamed to watch, but we stay anyway.


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