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Festivals, Bullfighting and stuff

January 6th, 2006

This Post was originally in my personal blog, and is re-published here as I received a bunch of emails telling me readers here might find it interesting.

In teaching my son’s Costa Rican girlfriend how to prepare a Christmas turkey (with sage and onion dressing!) and how terribly important it is to use care in the preparation of these foods and to be especially careful of things like botulism, salmonella, athlete’s foot, and Chlamydia, I managed to poison myself (food wise) which is why I have not been writing. The good thing is that they have TV in hospitals, the IV thingy is pretty portable, and you can watch the bullfights between the bouts vomiting and diarrhea!

Right now, there is a fair (feria) or fiesta in the town of Zapote which is very close to San Jose. For about $7.00, you can ride the rides, eat a ton of really good, high calorie, LDL loaded comida tipica (Costa Rican food), dance, listen to excellent music, and go the the daily bull fights!

If you have given yourself food poisoning, you can also kick back at home and watch them on TV. This is not as much fun, but if you have no choice… it’ll do.

Now before you animal rights folk start jumping out of your undies… chill out. In Costa Rica, we don’t kill the bulls. Here’s how it plays out:

Tico style bull fighting is done a the redondel (bullring). They build a new one every year. Now as I mentioned above, in Tico Bullfights, the Bull is not harmed, though I suspect he does get pretty frosted.

So now a bunch of ummm… none-to-bright folks, (99% men! Wudda guessed!) get into the bull ring and annoy hell outta the bull by trying to touch him, pull his tail, swat his butt, and other not-particularly-well-thought-out things.

All this has the not-unexpected affect of ticking-off the bull who (yes, he has his horns and all other required bully type body parts) then chases, and several times each night he catches, these people. In other words… at least a few times each night, the BULL wins! It is often pretty hilarious though the risk is real and a good goring is not uncommon.

New rules apparently limit this activity to those who are sober… though I have not yet figured out why you would get into an enclosed area with a 1,400 – 1,800 pound bull if you in fact WERE sober. Anyway…

Watching this in person is a hoot, but even if you can’t get there, the TV version is pretty excellent as they don’t cut away during the gorings… something I always thought might be a tad insensitive to those moms and dads who may not know their teenager has decided to run with the bulls.

Watching from the hospital is fun too, but if you’re there for the food poisoning thing, try to get a room where you can sit on the toilet and watch TV using the mirror. Passes the time!

The next big festival is held in Palmares, a pretty little town about 45 minutes NW of San Jose. This is actually my favorite festival, and we go every year without fail. The Palmares Fiesta runs from January 11th to January 23 and is well worth the short trip. Go early to get good parking and do NOT drink. The ever powerful and highly efficient Fuerza Publica set up a ton of roadblocks to catch you as you leave and they have very little sense of humor regarding drunk drivers. No bull!

6 Responses to “Festivals, Bullfighting and stuff”

  1. Dot on January 6, 2006 3:40 pm

    Hope you feel better. (ok, I just found out this was posted Jan 1st. so you should be well by Now!)
    I copied your gallo pinto recipe. Thank-you for putting it up. I’m in Mexico and my family is missing el sabor de gallo pinto! A friend brought me a bottle of Lizano so were set! Saludos a su familia!
    – Dot
    gringa en el pais de comida picante!

  2. Tim on January 7, 2006 8:53 am

    We spent our honeymoon in Mexico! To read about that, take a peek at http://www.hisfault.com

    I AM better… enjoy the painted rooster 🙂

  3. Darla Finney on January 30, 2007 1:24 pm

    We are coming to Costa Rica for a week in April. My friend found your sight and passed it on. I want you to know how much I enjoy not only your information, but your writing style. You sound like you have a lot of fun with life. Thank you for sharing your insights about the country and life.

  4. dale on February 5, 2008 1:05 pm

    great website! I am really interested in seeing an uncensored video of the bull fights in CR, could you let me know how I could go about purchasing a DVD or VHS of this event? I love to see the bull win! Thanks and keep up the good work, I will be there in the spring and will use your website exclusively. Dale

  5. Tim on February 5, 2008 5:25 pm

    Not sure where you can get one… they are all televised live here and sometimes the bull REALLY wins… like two weeks ago when another guy was killed. That scene was replayed 50 times over the next three days… News here is not held back or filtered. Ugh

  6. Bill on July 28, 2009 10:37 pm

    I don’t see anything about securing housing in CR. If I travel to CR what is the going price for a decent house or apartment for say 2 to 4 weeks? Is it necessary to make arrangements before leaving the states? Are the small non-tourist towns hospitable?