Nicaragua: La Concha Bullfight

The school offers horseback riding every Sunday.  After hearing the horror stories of sore butts and pains, we procrastinated until our last weekend.   Immediately, I knew why.  I’ve always loved horses—wished for one every year when I blew out my birthday candles—but it was a wild ride.  The saddle is different than any I’ve ever used…there is nothing to hold onto and it’s about the thickness of a sheet.  The horses are insanely competitive—mine refused to do anything but lead.  So they raced.  We finished a 3.5 hour ride in 2 hours, galloping most of the time.  I have to say it was better than the pain of trotting.  I stood up in the stirrups to prevent pain in my bum which caused additional pain in my inner thighs from squeezing so tight.  Either way, the view was worth it.  We made it up to the top of a vista where we could see most of the surrounding landscape and volcanoes.  My legs were wobbly walking to the top.

Returning so early from the ride enabled us to shower quickly and embark on our first semi-solo adventure to watch our brother, Bergman JR’s, regional soccer game.  We made it to the field by luck or chance, but not because we had any idea where we were going.  The team lost badly, but I was complimented for my ability to cheer well.  I made a good “soccer mom” and thoroughly embarrassed Bergman JR and his teammates in the process.

We left at half to get Arielka back for her church choir practice; we, on the other hand, went to the local bullfight which I was very much opposed to.  In trying to absorb the culture, I decided to participate with a small group going.  It was exactly as awful or more than I imagined.  A very rickety wood ring was constructed using boards, fencing and corrugated tin.  People packed the stands while the bulls meandered from one side to the other during the intermission.  The band began playing to indicate the start of the match.  One of the drunken men jumped on the bulls back while the bull’s balls were cinched with rope.  The gate was released and the man on top rode for as long as possible.  All the while, more than 100 other wasted dudes in the ring began to taunt the bull, dodge it and throw trash.  The crowd only cheered when someone fell or when the bull narrowly missed knocking them with its horns.  Luckily no one was injured by the time we left, but one of my teachers at La Mariposa had a brother in the hospital for three months who was mauled by the bull.  He will never fully recover from a day of drinking and “valor.”  It was an extremely sad event for me to watch, but seemed to bring a lot of pleasure to the Nicaraguan families that filled the stands.

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