Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Enter the bullring but please spare the bull.....

My lovelies, dear readers, beware... you might not like this post...today I'm taking you to la Plaza de toros in Granada. Monchéri and I ended up there last week as I had a routine checkup in the Hospital San Cecilio which is next to the bullring. Although Monchéri is not an aficionado (bullfight lover) - the only one time, he went to the bullring was to attend a concert of Sting - that day, he shared my curiosity and we actually had lots of fun taking pictures there.
I visited la Plaza de Toros in Sevilla, a few years ago and I must say the bullring in Granada pales in comparison. Still, imagine what it might feel like to enter the arena
you choose your seat between shade or sun. Of course, as everybody wants to be in the shade, seats in the sun are cheaper. We thought the cement steps looked a bit decrepit and uncomfortable. You can actually rent a cushion to sit comfortably
this is the door through which the bull enters the arena

the door is opened by a mechanism of ropes tied to several grates like this

when I took flamenco classes in Paris, we once had the visit of a young torera who taught us a few pasos. Here I'm trying a media veronica (this paso consists of presenting the cape to the bull) but please note, the feet position is totally wrong

olé ! at least I have one supporter....
The surrounding buildings include a chapel, an emergency room and...a butcher's shop
As much as I enjoy the aesthetic aspect of the pasos (steps) and the gracefulness of the matador, I'm definitely against the killing of the bull and the pain inflicted on the animal. I heard some people declare that the bull feels no pain, which is such a stupid and ignorant thing to say. Monchéri explained to me that in very very few cases, when the toro fought bravely, the audience asks he be spared. As you can imagine, Spanish people are quite divided on the subject. Some Andalusian friends even asked me to write here on my blog, that in their mind la corrida is not at all representative of Spanish culture. In Cadix, the external wall of the bullring reads : Aqui se maltratan animales (here animals are injured). The message is constantly erased but reappears the next days.

so no...I don't think I'll ever watch a bullfight. Monchéri thinks I should experience it once. For now, let's enter the taberna and have a fresh cerveza
and meditate on these few lines written by Hemingway, perhaps the biggest non Spanish aficionado, in Death in afternoon (1932), about what he called the art of bullfighting : "He (the toreador) must have a spiritual enjoyment of the moment of killing.."
Well...as we say in colloquial Spanish, este concept no va conmigo meaning I can't quite swallow the concept...
How about you ?

pics : me, Monchéri

22 comments:

dutchbaby said...

I'm with you, Lala, spare the bull! The Hemingway quote speaks how barbaric bullfighting is. Your photos are gorgeous!

David Engel said...

Hello Lala,

The chapel and emergency room are for the bull, no?

Best,

David
http://www.globalaroundtown.blogspot.com

Khaled KEM said...

Great post and pictures Lala.

But where is the young torera I can't see it in any of the pictures?!

Cecile/DreamCreateRepeat said...

I rather think the whole idea of fighting an animal (human or otherwise) is archaic and barbaric. Therefore, I find fighting to the death unthinkable. And to think (at least in France) this training starts at a very tender age for the bullfighter.

I believe the Mexicans (or some other Hispanic culture in diaspora) has changed the tradition to outlaw killing. An improvement, but by shades of grey.

Why this tradition persists is perplexing to me? I mean, I understand it is because they sell enough tickets to make money meaning people still want to see it....but who?! why?!

vicki archer said...

Bull fighting is very much part of the fabric of life in the South of France where I live too. I have never grown accustomed or comfortable with it but I do understand it is a tradition and cultural part of the life. Once was enough for me, xv.

A Cuban In London said...

Hey, at least you have the red top ;-)! Many thanks for your commentary and the images.

Greetings from London.

Kasey said...

When I was in Granada, I saw the opera Carmen at that Plaza de toros. There was a bullfight during the intermission. We didn't know the bulls would be killed and were shocked to see bulls killed one after the other.

J ..de Santa Fe said...

Just GORGEOUS photos, Lala!!
Your paso is beautiful - who cares about the foot placement.
Though I've never been to a bull fight - I'll always remember visiting the ring at Rhonda.

Jjjjj

Susan Lang said...

My first visit to your blog via Lime in the Coconuts. Though you say your feet are all wrong, you look beautiful and authentic to me!

As I scroll down your blog pages I am captivated by image after image. I definitely plan to return.

ModernMom said...

HI. This is my first visit to your blog and just had to comment on how amazing your photos are! I do believe this is as close as I will ever be to a bull ring!

Mélanie said...

Je ne pense pas que je serais capable de regarder une corrida mais j'aime l'ambiance dramatique qui ressort de cet endroit, la chappelle ...J'irais comme toi , un jour où il n'y a pas de corrida !

Indyeah said...

loved the pictures..absolutely stunning all of them....I agree with you about the practice being barbaric...:( I wish it is stopped once and for all...

Claire said...

I could never swallow this one.

It upset my husband terribly when he witnessed a bull fight for the first time too.

Your photos somehow reflect the sullenness of the acts that this place witnesses.

Christina said...

A beautiful look into this world Lala. Yes indeed, spare the bull.
xo

pranksygang said...

a beautiful place.... i really wanna visit you place once..
the flowers are lovely..

yours is a stunning place !

Kacper said...

You blog is not only interesting, but it is also truly beautiful and full of poetry - real treat for eyes and soul. I will allow myself visiting often. In the meanwhile, greetings from Chad!

Kacper.

Carla said...

I vote for sparing the bull. Its such a strong cultural tradition and I am for celebrating different cultures. But I can't stand the violent death of the bull. Carla

Niki said...

Everytime I visit your blog, I want to come to Spain even more!

Have you seen a real bullfight before? I'm not sure I could watch one!

Elizabeth said...

This all looks a little scary.
but I loved the photo of your supporter.
Have a very happy weekend.

Susana said...

It is completely wrong to try to justify such cruelty in the name of tradition... what a lame excuse. It makes me feel ashamed to be Spanish. So many barbaric "traditions" still practised in this country. It is truly awful... but as your friend says, bull fighting is not representative of our culture or of what the majority of Spaniards believe or support.

The photos are lovely though!!!

Relyn said...

Lala, First, I applaud you for even posting about a controversial subject. So many people seem to shy away from expressing their opinions. Since you asked, I tell you mine. Hemingway was full of bull! In more ways than one.

leslie said...

Hello, I was born and raised in America but I've been blessed to visit Spain. (I enjoy reading your blog very much!)

I unfortunately had the experience of seeing a bull fight. Actually it was supposed to be six fights, but I only made it through the first. I was shaking so hard I started crying! I would suggest, that it not be something you try just once. I'll never be able to get the image of pain the bull was in out of head ever!

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