Korea has too many festivals to name here. Festivals that celebrate moments in history, international communities, entertainment attractions, etc. One of these festivals is the annual Cheongdo Bullfighting Festival about 2 hours from my city.
Daniel is leaving Korea in a few short weeks, so I was thrilled when I found out I could come along for these festivities. Hannah was there, of course, as well as another addition to the group, Jaimy. Jaimy came to Korea about a month ago, but is Hannah's long time friend and former roommate.
We woke up early, headed out on a bus, then took a transfer bus– which was standing room only. It seems that bullfighting is quite a popular event here. Koreans and foreigners alike enjoy the fun.
Now, before anyone gets upset, let me explain exactly how things were….afterall, when most people hear the word "bullfighting" they think of man vs bull, blood and gore. Turns out, Korean style, it's two bulls facing one another, horns cut, pushing up on one another until one bull turns at a 90 degree angle to the other. Very few bulls even break skin. It was rather interesting, the whole atmospher of it all.
Two bulls, two "coaches" as we called them, and a referee enter the arena. Each coach wears either a red or a blue coat which indicates the team. The bull has it's name spray painted on its back. The bulls are put face to face and they go at it. Typically, they simply stand pushing up against one another, visibly using both their weight and leverage in stance to hold their own ground. There is the occassional shove or head move by the bull, causing much applause and "wooooahhh"s from the crowd. After about 20 minutes, there is usually a winner and the bulls are escorted off by his coach. One coach stood out to us.
He clearly loved this sport and was as a proud father, cheering on his son in a match. He happened to have two different matches the day we were there. His bull was the victor in one match and he not only praised the bull, but jumped around and fell to his knees, both hands shooting up in the air. He was clearly enthusiastic about this sport!
When we lost our enthusiasm for watching the sport, we decided to head back to Ulsan. It was pouring down rain! Since we had two umbrellas between the four of us, and the next bus was coming in 40 minutes, we hailed a cab to the bus station. From there, we took the bus ride home, thankfully, this ride was a seated ride. ^_^