Where the Bull Never Dies
Bullfighting is widely viewed as a barbaric pastime, but deep in the mountains of southern Spain, there remains no higher art.
On Saturday morning, the second day of the fifty-seventh Goyesca of Pedro Romero, I arrive from Madrid to a packed, muggy train station in Ronda. The main hall, dank and low-ceilinged, is full of young affluent cliques—everyone very handsome and so very intimidating. The high, slippery sibilance of the Andalusian accent rings out over the attractive aesthetic, complemented by the occasional flat vowel of a Londoner or the choking “r” of a Frenchman. Outside, the sun is dulled by thick, sagging rain clouds and a light refreshing breeze blows. It’s cool for early September in southern Spain.
“Que pasa, tio? Quieres un taxi?” croaks a weather-gnarled driver.
“No gracias, no quiero,” I reply rather tersely; I haven’t yet recovered from the exceedingly early hour of the train ride.
“Pues, disfruta de los toros”—Well then, enjoy the bulls—he lisps, in rather obvious disgust at my rejection.
“Gracias,” I say, remaining unmoved on the sidewalk. I can’t get in the taxi bec…