"Bidets to Bullfights"
c - Arthur J. Langdon -1970
013j -- Madrid to Lisbon - "The Bull Fights" -- 013j
The agency which planned our tour had us listed to take a train from Madrid to Lisbon, our jump off point for the flight home. This was to be a ten hour ride and seemed a bit archaic when air time was only one hour - so we booked the flight and left a day earlier than planned. It was a happy choice for we found ourselves aboard one of the new 747's for the first time and were properly impressed with its massive size, appointments, and performance.
Bull fights are only held on Sunday in Madrid, and since our time in Madrid did not include one - on arrival at our hotel in Lisbon, I checked into the hotel while dearly beloved checked into a bull fight tour. We had dinner at a typical Portuguese restaurant which featured to much wine with to much food and headed for the bull ring. The fights start under the lights at ten o'clock in a big - open topped soup bowl, with ridges on the inside to serve as seats. All the pomp and circumstance that has been documented about these events is in evidence. The place was packed and we found seats way up near the rim of the bowl.
We raised ten or more bulls back home in Connecticut and trained them to pull at local fairs. They are gentle, loyal creatures, and, though much larger than the type used in fighting - would never hurt a soul. I have a feeling of genuine affection for the big brutes, and that, coupled with the good old American sense of fair play - decided me to root for the bulls.
The Portuguese version of the sport does not include killing the bull as it does in Spain, but it does involve sticking about a dozen harpoons into the bulls neck and shoulders to cause pain and make the bull mad enough to chase anything moving - be it man, horse, or red cape. The graceful movement of the matador playing with his life, as well as his bull, brings intense excitement to the crowd. ( My life, sitting near the the top of the arena was probably in more danger that that of anyone in the ring. ) A bull finally caught one of his tormentors, threw him straight up in the air, and the proceded to rough him up some more. I stood up in the stands and yelled " Hurray bull - throw one up here !! " It was, after all, the first time my team had made any points. Needless to say this did not go over to well with the natives and for the first time that night it felt good to have that hard slab of concrete at my back.
The next opponent my hero had to face was the star attraction of the evening, a matador of considerable reputation and skill. He strutted into the arena in a beautiful costume of red and gold. And, after peacocking his way once around the ring, with a doffing of his tri-cornered hat every four paces, he finally shook out his red come on, and started to play the game with my hero bull. Two passes were made and while Don Quixote was still in the peacock class, my guy didn't look to bad. On the third pass we made it.
Mr. bull lowered his head a little more than before and swung it just enough to the right to get one on those beautiful horns between the legs of his opponent. A quick lift of the head and Mat performed a complete full gainer - at the apex of which was the fastest organ transplant in the history of this new surgical procedure - for when he hit the ground, there was one testicle on each side of his adams apple. My hero bull trotted off through the exit runway - now oblivious to the pain from the harpoons in his neck, withers, and back and with a contented smile on his bull face in anticipation of telling the other bulls and bullocks back at the ranch about his trip to the big city and the points he scored on the city slickers.
The next morning papers gave an account of the wonded matador being flown from Lisbon to Madrid where a team of surgeons took several hours to relocate Mat's jewels again in their accustomed pocket. I think when the pain subsides, he will be a much wiser warrior with the knowledge that some of the rules which are elementary in tennis and baseball are helpful too in bull fighting.
No loose balls should be in the field of play as they may prevent the fair conclusion of the game.
Index - Uncle Art & Aunt Clara's trip to Europe - 1970, "Bidets to Bullfights"
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