Bull Fighting Each bullfight comprises six bulls and
three matadors, each of
whom fights two bulls. The bulls are specially bred fighting bulls,
usually from the same bloodline and are not less than four years
old with a weight somewhere between 500 and 800 kilos. They must
never have faced a man on foot before they enter the bullring. The
reason being that if this is the case, they may charge the man,
instead of the cape. The selection of bulls is determined by drawing
lots on the morning of the corrida. The toreros perform in order
of seniority with the senior matador going first and fourth, the
second-ranked matador second and fifth and the least experienced
fighting third and sixth. If a matador is gored and unable to continue,
the senior matador must take his place and complete the fight. Each
bullfight is divided into three stages of thirds and lasts for around
20 minutes. A corrida starts with a parade of all the contestants
and bailiffs dressed in 17th century costume, who salute the president
of the fight. The president is an important official who controls
the fight and can award trophies to a matador who performs well.
A trumpet is blown to announce the first fight when the matador
and his team enter the ring, and to signal the end of each stage.
The bailiffs receive the key to the gate which is thrown to them
by the president of the bullfight, through which the bulls enter
the ring. The president then waves a white handkerchief to signal
the entrance of the first bull into the ring.
Preliminary Phase: During the preliminary phase the footmen, peones
or capeadores work the bull with large magenta and gold capes while
carefully appraising its agility, intelligence, dangers, sight and,
most importantly, its strength. It's very important for the matador
to determine the animal's qualities such as whether it favours one
horn or the other (eg hooks to the left) or swings its horns up
at the end of each pass. Sometimes a bull is reluctant to fight
in which case it will be tactfully withdrawn on the sign of a green
handkerchief from the president.
First stage. This is when the picadores, mounted on padded and blindfolded
horses provoke the bull to attack them. The aim is to plunge their
lance into the bull's neck thus weakening its strong neck muscles.
This causes it to lower its head without which the matador couldn't
perform the coup de grace in the final part of the fight Second
stage. When the bull has been sufficiently weakened by the picadores,
the next stage commences, during which barbed darts decorated with
colourful ribbons are placed in the bull's neck. The banderillero,
carrying a banderilla in each hand, runs towards the charging bull
at an angle and places the banderillas in its neck. These are not
supposed to weaken the bull but rather correct any tendency to hook,
regulate the carriage of the head and slow it down.
Final stages. The final stage of a bullfight is called the suerte/tercio
del muerte and ends with the death of the bull. It begins with the
matador removing his hat, saluting the president and asking for
permission to perform and kill the bull. He may dedicate the bull
to somebody in the crown. Sometimes the matador will toss his hat
over his head, if it lands upside down, it is supposed to be bad
luck. The matador creates a series of passes with his red cape (of
which there are 40), bringing the animal closer to his body. The
two most basic passes include the right handed pass in which the
sword is used to expand
the cloth and the left handed 'natural'. After each pass the crowd
usually shouts Olé!.
The kill. When the matador realises the bull is weak and unable
to charge much longer he will reach for his killing sword and seek
to manoeuvre it directly in front of him with its head down, so
that he can administer the death stroke. The matador looks down
the sword to sight the target, leans over the horns and attempts
to insert it between the cervical vertebra and into the bull's heart.
Finale. If the matador has performed well and made a quick, clean
kill he will be applauded, do a lap of honour and be showered with
flowers, hats, cushions and anything else to hand. The crowd demonstrates
its approval of a fight by waving
white handkerchiefs which are a signal to the president to award
the matador a trophy, such as an ear or tail. If the bull has put
up a good fight, its carcass will also receive a lap of honour and
very occasionally if a bull is exceptionally brave or strong and
the matador is unable to kill it, it may be spared and allowed to
return to its stud farm to live out its life in peace.
Food Dining in Uruguay is an experience to be relished.
Here, as in neighboring Argentina,
the specialty is beef. From the finest restaurant to the most modest
inn, steak is always the best choice of fare.
In Uruguay, methods of barbecue have developed into an art. One cannot
rush the process. There are several regional specialties: Pamplona,
stuffed with bacon, pimentos and olives; barbecue "la tela";
or grilled blood sausage with raisins. Grilled fish is also very popular,
especially in coastal towns. In recent trends, various ethnic cuisine
have emerged in several restaurants but, for value and taste, the
best bet for dining in Montevideo is the local cuisine.
After dinner, satisfy your sweet tooth with Martín Fierro,
a local dessert made of "fresco y membrillo" cheese and
quince jam or sweet potato jam. Or try a harder cheese served with
a caramel cream. Source