28 December 2009

Testing. Testing. One. Two. Three.

There is always ten percent who do not get the word. Today I was among that ten percent. The event today at the ring was not a corrida. I thought it was strange that a corrida would be staged at noon on a Monday. But then I thought, “What the hell do I know? This is México. I don't know anything for sure about México.”

Today they were testing young heifers to determine whether they might make good breeding stock for fighting bulls. They were relatively quite small animals and were put through their paces by young teenage apprentice matadors while two adult matadors and the breeders watched. No animals were killed obviously.

This testing normally takes place in private on the ranch. However, in this instance they hauled them into the ring in town and opened it up to the general public. Admission was free. It was in fact a kind of promotion for the actual corrida scheduled for 4:00 p.m. on New Year's Eve, a start time that I am more accustomed to.

The New Year's Eve corrida is a mano a mano--two matadors facing off against each other. I have never attended a mano a mano and expect it to be interesting.

Apprentice Matador Testing a Heifer Today

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I have told you that the event at the ring today was scheduled for noon. I was there promptly. However, the heifers were not there yet. The man on the loudspeaker announced that they would be there at 2:00 p.m. instead. 2:00 came and went. The first heifer did not come out of the chute until 4:00 p.m. at which time there were only the breeders, the matadors, their entourages, and a few nut case fans like me still in attendance.

In the meantime during the early afternoon I had the ring nearly to myself and wandered around taking pictures.

The world famous Restaurante Taurino right next door to the street entrance to the corrida.

The street entrance. This is not Yankee Stadium.

We have had a little trouble leveling the ticket booth so that it sits steadily on the ramp up to the ring.

Looking back down the ramp toward the street entrance.

If you have a stencil on which the arrow points the wrong way, just turn it over.

The gate at the top of the ramp.

The altar beside the entrance to the floor of the ring.

Somebody offered the Virgin of Guadalupe a beer, and it appears that she finished it.

A practice machine.

Further up. The sol entrance is in the lower right hand corner along with the chute used to offload the bulls.

The gate on the right is the bulls' entrance to the pens.

The cubicles underneath the seats where the bulls are individually penned while they wait their turn.

The other side.

The hated picador preparing for work. The pic used today was a small one and inflicted very little damage on the heifers.

A young apprentice practicing his cape work in the entrance to the floor of the ring.

The tunnel up to the sol section.

The walkway around the top above the seats.

The Men's Room off the walkway around the top. Well, I didn't know. I thought you might like to see what the facilities were like.

The infirmary on the left and the bulls' entrance on the right. Harry's New Orleans Café is the big sponsor of the corrida this week.

The houses beyond the right field wall just like at Wrigley Field.

As you can see, the seats in the first row have luxurious metal arm rests.

A memorial plaque for a matador who did not walk out.

Looking out over the city from the top.

There. With those pictures it should only take your machine a half an hour to load the page.

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