The Mexican Bullfight - It All Starts With A Mariachi Band
Going to the bullfight is kind of like going to see the movie Titanic: we all know how it ends but...
Our bullfight experience took place at the Puerto Vallarta Bull Ring. It definitely had the air of a sporting event as you approached the ring. There was a band and hawkers and food and beer. You buy your ticket and you're in. Because it was general seating, the whole crowd headed for the shade. There were six matches on the card that evening.
It all starts with a live Mariachi band getting the crowd pumped up.
Next, the matadors enter the ring and parade around with some pomp and pageantry along with a couple of horses.
For the next while, the matadors get warmed up. Mostly they practice their spins and bows to the crowd.
Suddenly the band comes back to life and the announcement comes forth into the arena. It is time for the show to begin. We learn that Matador Cuevas has bull No. 6, Crudo (which translates to 'raw' in English)
The announcer leaves the arena and is replaced by the bull. This is where all of the matadors get involved. They run the bull back and forth across and around the arena until he doesn't have a whole lot of running left in him. It's about that time when the padded and blinded horse appears and the band revs up once again.
The idea is that the bull charges the and bunts the padded horse (which they all did). As the bulls are bunting the horse, they are speared repeatedly in the neck. In fact, they are largely 'done' by the time this process has ended.
By the third bull, the padded horseman garnered the largest boos as he entered the ring from the predominately tourist crowd.
After the bull has been sufficiently run tired and wounded, the real show begins: it is time for Matador versus bull.
This is the part where the bull fighting is the bullfighting that most people have in their minds. The bull charges and the matador ducks away as he sticks barbed spears into his neck at each initial pass.
The bullfight continues. The bull charge and the matador continues to duck out of the way. This goes on until it is clear that the now badly bleeding bull has nothing left. On the bull's last charge the matador uses his sword to stab the bull downwards between its shoulder blades in an attempt to puncture the heart. When successful, the kill is instant. When they miss, it gets a little ugly.
Just as we all know that the Titanic sunk at the end of the movie, so goes the bull.
In the end, we were somewhat unsettled by the whole experience. We walked away grateful for the experience but agreed it was something that we would not do twice.