September 11th, 12th, 13th 2010
Didn’t visit any churches or museums in Madrid. Basically used the time to relax, enjoy some spectator sports, and resupply on anything I need.
Took a tour of Santiago Barnabeu stadium (Real Madrid’s ground). Got to sit in the players’ seats. Of course, it wasn’t as exhilarating as visiting Old Trafford. Went to a game the following day and that was quite an experience. My first professional soccer game. Got to see the Galacticos, some of the best players in the world. Real Madrid beat Osasuna 1-0 and it wasn’t the most exciting match.
Went to see a bullfight with Jos, Jayben, and Nick (and some of their hostel-mates), some friends I met in my hostel in Barcelona, although they were staying at a different hostel in Madrid. Funny thing was that after Barcelona, I didn’t expect to see them in Madrid but I was walking back from buying my Real Madrid ticket and I heard some familiar voices behind me and I turned around and it was them, coming back from buying their tickets as well. Small world.
Here’s the progression of a bullfight. A couple of matadors come out (apprentices, not the main matador) along with some lancers (guys on horses with spears). Then they let the bull out. The apprentice matadors start toying with the bull by waving their pink capes and when the bull charges them, they hide behind some wooden structures. Then they taunt the bull into charging at the lancer. The lancer will then spear the bull around the neck area, causing massive bleeding and weakening the neck muscles. This causes the bull to fight with its head lowered, which will help the main matador kill it later. Anyway, after the spearing, some apprentices will stab the bull in the neck area with some markers. This is done when the bull charges at them and they will stab it and somehow avoid being gored. The main matador comes out and fights the bull. Then when the bull shows no more fight, the matador takes out his sword, gets the bull to charge at them, and they stab it very deep in a particular spot which will kill the bull almost instantaneously. The problem is that sometimes, a matador will have problems stabbing it in the right spot, causing only a shallow stab. They will try the finishing move again and again until the crowd boos them. And after the bull is tortured by this lack of skill, the matador finally gets it right and ends the bull’s life. If the bull isn’t instantaneously dead, someone will come up and stab the bull in the head with a knife and severe some tendons around the head. I couldn’t quite see what they did exactly. But overall, bullfighting is supposed to be artistic and exact. When you have matadors and lancers missing their mark, the crowd does not like it. And for those who call the sport animal cruelty, there are those who argue that bulls bred for bullfights usually live a wonderful life for about 4 years before they are then sacrificed for sport. It was a noble way for the bull to die. Also, before the 1940s, the horses used by lancers didn’t even have protective armor. The bulls end up goring and killing the horses when being speared. More horses died compared to bulls. Anyway, you can read more about bullfighting here.
(Spearing a bull)
(Matador vs bull)
(Dragging the fallen bull)
(Warm up session for Madrid and Osasuna players)
BTW, I have found a snorer that beats out the Japanese guy in Goreme, Turkey. One night, I woke up after hearing the most obnoxious, vile, unworldly snore in the world. It wasn’t a regular snore either. It was a loud snore, mixed with an after-snore sound that was terrifying. Some Italian guys walked into the dorm around 2 am and were snickering at the sound of the snore. Awake, I joked with them that the guy in one of the beds really has a terrible snore. One of the Italians took a closer look and told me ‘That’s a woman!’ We burst out laughing so hard, and I had to cover my face with a pillow to muffle my laugh. The snorer barely broke rhythm even after all the noise. I found out it was some plump Spanish-speaking woman that I had met earlier in the day. I had to endure her snores for two nights. What a nightmare. Earplugs didn’t work.