Global Hobo | I Went To A Bull Fight In Spain
The day carried an air of violence long before we arrived at the Arena de Toros, a bull fight in Spain
I had participated in the inaugural encierro of the San Fermin festival. The beasts of the infamous bull fight in Spain had been announced across various media trading-card style: name, home farm, weight. The most intimidating of the day was one Fastuoso, weighing in at an impressive 605kg. The prospect of running clear of this black mountain of muscle is scary enough without the knowledge that these are not your mum-and-dad barnyard animals: the toro bravo is an ancient race that is only conserved in Spain, and bred for aggression and strength. Many civilisations revered the species back in the day and so the encierro is really more of a running of the Holy Dinosaur Bulls.
Being the first day of the bull fight in Spain, it was extremely crowded, resulting in the fairly inevitable goring of at least one individual who had been run down and trampled halfway along Estafeta, the long narrow gauntlet that comprises about half of the infamous route. I bolted past him as he was quickly surrounded by a sea of blood and paramedics, one leg split open, with police moving a barrier into place to protect him from the next wave of bulls.
At the same time, protesters were holding an alternative event called ‘Running of the Buses’, where they disrupted traffic completely naked, save for a large amount of corn-syrup-blood, decrying both the running of the bulls and the bullfights.
The less dramatically inclined chose to make their protests passively, in the form of distancing themselves from all bull-related activities. They kept to the company of the two-legged animals in the wine-infused stampedes of the plazas. Should I avoid encouraging alleged atrocities with my tourist dollar? Having travelled in North Korea, I’ve rendered this question moot. Moreover, bullfighting was doing fine long before tourism came along, long before Pamplona was put on the world stage.
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