Sunday, September 22, 2013

Day 19 - A Night at the Bullfight

Day 19 - September 19, 2013

Note from the Blogger:  For this post, Terry will be the guest blogger

Our Night at the Bullfight

The excitement was building all day as we passed the time reading, doing some laundry, napping and having a light dinner. We left early to make sure we arrived on time. Took the metro to Campo Pequeno, climbed the stairs to exit the metro and this was our first look at the arena all lit up.

I'm so excited at this point but it's an hour before first pitch or post time or whatever they call it at a Bullfight. We walked around the attached mall for a while and then went inside. We were handed a program, I guess, can't read Portuguese. There were no metal detectors, no body search. Nice change of pace. Found our seats and then I went to explore the arena. Found some stairs and headed up for an ariel view. Took a picture from above.....

.....and was promptly asked to leave the second level. I didn't realize that the rope in front of the stairs meant "do not pass this point" :) I had my picture and was happy.

The arena is slowly not even close to filling up and I'm wondering where everyone is?

Not at the bar. You can see that the bartenders were happy to see me but where is everyone?

The arena is set up just like any sports venue. Lots of stations to buy, beer, sangria, white or red wine and lots of snacks including mini cheesecakes. Are these to throw or eat?

The dignitaries arrive and sit in their little box and the Trumpet dude starts playing.........

The doors open on the other side and all the players, minus the bulls, come out to take a bow.

Notice all the empty seats in the background. Are we at a Cubs game in September? We found out that this is not the big league matadors. This was for the up and coming to show their stuff. Julie commented that it was like the minor leagues. I guess my reference to the Cubs was not far off :)

The main players for the first round

The real attraction then enters the arena to cheers from the hundreds that were in attendance!

Notice that his horns have been cut and are basically useless. What's up with that?  He's defenseless!

Here is a video of part of the action with the guys on the horses. To us, the horses are the real athletes here because of the way they move and avoid the bull. We think the vocals from the rider tell the horse what to do. Hopefully this isn't too long.

The rider then leaves the ring to a chorus of cheers. The bull is still out there and a bunch of guys enter the ring, looking like this:

They align themselves in a stright line and one guy walks out to the middle of the arena and starts chanting and antagonizing the bull. Bull pays no attention so he walks closer. Not sure what is going on but this guy has balls! The other 7 guys are back against the wall and I'm thinking that they are going to scale the wall when and if the bull charges. Here is a video of what happens. I apologize for concentrating on the bull and not showing the alignment of these guys but I had no idea what was going on. 

What you just saw was I'm sure not the plan. Notice how the crowd cheers loudly as he is smashed into the wall. This video is of the second group. The first group did whatever it was they were doing very well, I think, and when it was over the brave soul who stood in the middle was cheered.

The guy in the video was cheered also but he looked like this:

After all left the ring, the doors opened to cow bells clanging and out came a bunch of steers. We are not sure what they are for but quickly realize that they are going to lure the bull out of the ring. Menacing group, aren't they?

They do their job quickly and the bull follows them out:

We are totally confused at this point and have no idea what the point of all of this is. There is no scoreboard, we don't know which horseman won. We do know which little Leprechaun dressed guy lost. The next segment was after an intermission where everyone cleared out to get more alcohol and discuss their favorite parts of the first half. Don't speak Portuguese so they could have been talking about us :) This guy was posing the whole time around the ring for his big moment with the bull.

This short video is what you would expect at a bullfight. Notice this bull has his horns razor sharp and is looking to do damage but they are so slow that I think I could go in the ring and be a Matador. Or would I rather be the guy who stands in the middle and gets the Shit kicked out of him? NOT :)

There was still more to come at this point but we decided that we had enough. As we left we kept asking ourselves "what did we just see"? We don't think we will ever know but I'm glad for the experience and realized that I would rather watch bowling :)  Ole'


  1. FYI, you cannot see the videos. They are blocked as private...

  2. That looks pretty cruel to the bull. That guy deserved to be smashed up against the wall :)

  3. The reason why the arena was so empty is because bullfights are considered, by the youngest portuguese generations, as a cruel spectacle. So, there's not so many (portuguese) people that enjoys this kind of show.

  4. The arena was empty because they were young "toureiros" still not famous... What you've seen was a mix between the Portuguese bullfight (the horseman and that group that "grabbed" the bull (called Forcados)) and the Spanish bullfight (the guy on foot with the cape alone with the bull).