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Hemingway Adventure

Madrid, Spain (third day)

Michael Palin - Hemingway AdventureFabian considers for a moment. The top fighters? Around $80,000 for a corrida, in which he will fight two bulls. From that he will have to pay his team ­ his picadors and his banderilleros ­ but if he fights fifty times in a season his earnings are into the millions. And then there's advertising, public appearances, opening supermarkets.

I look around me. A big clear sun beats down on the ring. Half the apprentices are practising their passes with the cape and half are clutching horns and racing at them. I'm struck by how absurd and how deadly serious it is at the same time.

In the dedication required bullfighting has overtones of medieval knights and chivalric orders, of ancient rules and disciplines. Of something almost monastic.

I thank Fabian and wish him well. I suppose a time will come when he will be hurt, does that worry him?

'Oh, yes.' He nods and smiles, 'Oh, yes.'

I must say, understanding bullfighters requires dedication too. Now I have to find somewhere in Spain where I can see them in action.
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PALIN'S GUIDES

  • Series: Hemingway Adventure
  • Chapter: Madrid, Spain (third day)
  • Country/sea: Spain
  • Place: Madrid
  • Book page no: 114

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