Sangre de Toro
Alibi’s Ilene Style reports from her volunteer mission in South America
The beach is not where I originally thought I would be on Easter.
When I first came to Peru and heard everyone talking about the upcoming Semana Santa (Holy Week), I assumed it would be very religious because 90 percent of the population here is Catholic. When I asked around in hopes of finding a church to attend on Easter Sunday, I found out that during the holiday, most Limenos don't go to church. Instead, they head for the beach. Businesses close on Holy Thursday and Good Friday, and everyone (including volunteers) have a four-day weekend akin to our Labor Day—a celebration of the last official weekend of the summer.
On the third day, Saturday, we went to a bullfight festival, the Festival Taurino Las Palmas 2010, at the beach of Las Palmas. While bullfighting is not a sport that I normally associate with Peru, (or with the beach for that matter ), apparently the country is one of the top bullfighting hotspots in the world, right up there with Spain and Mexico. The day started with the "running of the bulls"—probably the closest to Pamplona that I will ever get. The bulls in this festival are called "toritos," as they are a bit smaller than full-size bulls.
We had front-row seats in the bull ring, thanks to Guillermo's company being a sponsor of the event. I'm not sure if that was a good thing or not. Bullfighting is difficult to watch, especially up that close. The wails that come from deep inside the bull as it dies are horrific. Although it is a barbaric sport, most of the time I couldn't take my eyes off the action. I skipped one of the six fights to watch them butcher a bull in back of the bull ring.