Wednesday, July 12, 2006

Pissplona Part II

This is the city at approximately 6am, 2 hours before the run starts. Crowded already! We're waiting at the entrance to Plaza de Toro, where the bulls end up after the run. B and I scored a top spot, sitting atop a barrier.
Unfortunately, we're sitting on top of the wrong barrier. Nobody tells you these things. I really wonder why nobody's blogged much about what San Fermin is like. Or why there aren't many details around on what goes on, on the morning of the run.

Where to sit:
To the left of the photo, where the old man is sitting, is the first barrier. If we had thought about it more, we would've realised at the start that this is the wrong place to sit. Considering this is the barrier that leads the bulls to the stadium, and you could easily fall off into the path of the bulls, this is definitely the wrong place to sit. Which is a shame, because we had a great spot that had a view of everything. To the right of the barrier, where the person with the green hoodie is sitting, is the correct place to be. It's the second barrier, and where B and I ended up crouching at the dirty bottom, peering between muddy feet. Between the two barriers is a No-Man's-Land strip. Policia in shexy red berets actively patrol this area before and during the run to keep spectators out.
Spot the toro!
Yup, that's as good as my shots get of the bull run. My one picture of the running bull! And you can't even tell it's a bull, it looks more like a dairy cow! *lol*

Okay, so if you're not up for battling the crowds to watch the run, here are your other options:
Option 1:
The afternoon before the run, you can buy EU$5 tickets from the ticketbox outside the stadium to be inside the stadium itself the next morning. You won't see the bulls run through town, but you will see the runners and the bulls finish the run in the stadium. From what I saw on the big screen, it looked like a good option to consider.

Option 2:
Go to the main square and watch the whole thing on the big screen. Not as exciting, but you'll probably get the best view of the entire run. Here are some pix of the screen when the replays were on:

Yes, people do get trampled during the run. Although from what I can tell, runners are given a good head start (there were plenty of people walking and standing around at the entrance to the stadium), it pays to take the run seriously. If you do fall, stay on the ground and cover your head!

Option 3:
Spend a bastard load of money, and get a balcony seat. Plenty of apartments overlooking the bull run. However, I'd hate to think how much it costs to be up there. We tried to look it up, but the agency was closed, so I can't tell you prices.

What else:
You can also get tickets to see a bull show (different from a bull fight). Tickets go on sale in the afternoon, at the ticketbox outside the stadium. It's definitely worth seeing. Competing teams from Navarra and Valencia score points by doing tricks with the bulls and trying to hook rings onto the horns. It's amazing watching them jump over a charging bull! Here's a blurry pic:
It's also amazing how stupid some people can be. What exactly does one expect to happen after getting down on all fours and putting on a full-faced mask infront of a snorting, angry bull?
Of course he got hit by the bull! Which just caused total chaos, as everyone jumps into the ring and tries to distract the bull from goring the guy to death! Well, I was entertained. Most of the time, I was cheering for the bulls.

Bull fight tickets:
Before I went to Pamplona, I approached one website and requested a quote for reserving a bull fight ticket. I was given a quote of EU$329.22 for ONE ticket. Errr, suuure why not, it's just spare change for me :P In reality, tickets to bull fights go on sale from the ticketbox at the stadium from 830pm everyday. The tickets are for fights scheduled for 6pm the next day. Tickets range in price from EU$20-EU$100+, depending on where you want to sit. Otherwise, you can also get tickets from the scalpers loitering around in the same area, for about EU$20 on top of cost price.

Unidentified Flying Objects:
When in the bull ring, beware:

I didn't get hit, but someone else did ;)

I guess there's just one more thing:
If you're an oriental girl, try to take a male companion with you on trips like this. It won't stop the "konichiwa" calls, but it will stop the guys from approaching you and hounding you for pictures. Either that, or learn real fast to swear in a foreign language and grow a thicker skin.

That's probably enough about Pamplona from me. If you want to see the full set of pix I took, go here.

Oh, here's what happens to you when you pass out on the streets and your friends hate you :)

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

If you want to see some video clips of guys jumping over the bull during the festival, here tis!