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A splendid affair with much hero worship and adulation of the cavaleiro followed by the forcados that stand in line and take a direct charge of the tormented bull. The poor guy elected to be at the front of the line needs to jump onto the bulls horns and hang on for dear life while some other sucker grabs the bull by the tail to slow him down. Finally the bull is towed out of the arena, alive, at least, by the herders with a long lasso rope.

Less brutal than the Spanish version (the bull does not die - not in the ring anyway) , but I could not help feeling sorry for the magnificent animal reduced by fatigue and frustration and a bit of blood letting. I think the crowd is cheering, hoping for the bull to prevail. Even though the bull lives through this, it was still not a sight for animal lovers.

I have mixed feelings about the whole thing confronting the pantomime and splendor, the bravery of bull and man, and the magnificent horsemanship with the cruelty and disrespect for a magnificent animal, the bull. One needs to see a bull fight for oneself before you can make a true assessment.

This was the first bullfight in the Azores for many years and met with some protest from the locals.

The horses and the bulls are the true heroes by my book, though I would not choose to change places with the gallant , underpaid forcados.

See www.travelnet.co.il for more information.

Howard and Jayne [ Just Imagine ] 24-Jun-2005