Bullfights are controversial to say the least and never having been to one I thought I might see what it was all about when the opportunity arose at Feria de Cali, Colombia. I had plenty of preconceived notions about bullfighting and have turned down many opportunities through the years. In my life I have gone from vegetarian to hunter, “Save the the Whales” to helping Native Alaskans cut up subsistence hunted whales, but wasn’t sure these educated changes in myself would prepare me for the art of killing for entertainment.
The bull entered the arena with several men that would begin to tire the bull out using muletas (capes).
Then came the man on the horse who stabs a spear between the shoulders of the bull. And the crowd goes wild.
The next man comes out and stabs banderillas into the back of the bull.
Enter the matador
Meanwhile I notice the clouds building. I mentioned it to my friends but there was no response.
‘Olé!”. A large group near us drinking copious amount of Aguardiente (a Colombian classic booze and see some ther Colombia highlights here) went absolutely crazy. They made us all laugh with their hysterical shouts. All around everyone smiled at each other and laughed at them. All in the midst of blood sport.
The matador tries to kill the bull with one fatal blow. In this case it was 2 swords and 5 blows.
I never said, “Olé!”. This is not my thing but like anything you don’t know unless you experience it. It’s not my place to judge someone who enjoys bullfighting either. The sense of the local community being together at an event to transcend daily life and enjoy themselves was palpable but somehow ironic. I have always found the enjoyment of watching violence by humans to be odd.
To answer the question, I will not “Olé!”
Saludos from Cali, Colombia