Travel Destination: Pamplona - on the Horns of a Dilemma; GRAHAM LITTLE Has One of Those Moments of Clarity Which Make Maxims Meaningful. You Know, Those Moments Where You're Standing in Front of Eight Bulls, Wearing a Red Neckerchief

The News Letter (Belfast, Northern Ireland), August 22, 2002 | Go to article overview

Travel Destination: Pamplona - on the Horns of a Dilemma; GRAHAM LITTLE Has One of Those Moments of Clarity Which Make Maxims Meaningful. You Know, Those Moments Where You're Standing in Front of Eight Bulls, Wearing a Red Neckerchief


Byline: GRAHAM LITTLE

WAVING a red flag at a bull had always been simply an expression, not something people did for real.

You can imagine my alarm, then, when in a sudden moment of clarity I realised this was exactly what I was doing, in a narrow street in Pamplona, at 8am. Even worse, there was not one bull, but eight, and they had been bred specifically to be big and aggressive and to charge at humans.

Ernest Hemingway described Pamplona's annual San Fermin Festival as a ''wonderful nightmare''. He attended the week-long party - a heady cocktail of bulls, sangria, music and dancing - several times, making it the background to one of his most famous novels.

Hemingway was an aficionado, a dedicated fan of the bullfight. I was there just to become an encierro, someone who runs with the bulls through the streets on their way from a pen at the bottom of the town into the bull ring, or Plaza Del Toros, in the town centre.

The fighting bulls of Spain are magnificent animals. They also know exactly what their weapons are and, like a boxer, can use each horn - a left and a right. Rumours were abounding around the town that on the first run of the week two people had been killed and 64 people injured. As my Spanish is limited to ''Ola. Uno Sangria, por favore'', I am still unsure of the truth of these reports, but there is absolutely no doubt at all that these were worthy adversaries: between 500 and 600kgs of solid muscle, faster than a race horse over the first 40 metres and with two daggers wedged onto their heads, they were quite capable of ending my days.

So it was with some trepidation that I, along with two friends, ventured through the thick oak fencing that lines the narrow streets of the route to the Plaza De Toros, and took our places in the throng of people awaiting the arrival of the bulls. At 8am precisely, a rocket let off into the air would signal the release of the bulls and the beginning of the run. The bulls would then pelt up the streets together, determined to get to the ring as quickly as possible, charging through anybody stupid enough to get in their way. Incredibly, there were thousands of people up ahead, doing just that.

Gathered in the crowds at the beautiful town hall, we moved off slowly at 7.50 as the first barriers were lowered to allow the runners to spread along the route. We picked our way through the throng and gathered at the top of a hill, ready to take flight like startled birds at the sound of the rocket.

It went off, and so did we, but slowly, so as to be close enough to the bulls when they entered the Plaza. It was easy to sprint off into the ring and miss the bulls altogether, we were told. I was anxious it wouldn't be an anticlimax: it wasn't.

The omnipresent American thinking he was the first tourist to establish a rapport with the festival had been giving us the benefit of his experience, and had seemed very assured the previous night. I bumped into him in the middle of the run, with the bulls only a minute away.

"The Plaza's only around the corner, isn't it?'' I shouted at him.

"Not far, man. Not far at all,'' he quivered, not at all assured.

It wasn't far, but it wasn't close enough either. Split from my comrades in the confusion and excitement, I waited, running on the spot, stretching, breathlessly nervous. Suddenly the din from the crowd reached a crescendo, the panic on the faces of the encierros behind me grew wilder, and I saw the muscular backs of five or so bulls charging through the sea of white and red, the festival colours worn by almost everyone.

I turned and fled. The Plaza loomed into view and I was sprinting down the narrowing entrance, sidestepping and weaving my way through the slower encierros, keeping the fence within reach in case an emergency dive was needed. The bulls, racing faster now down the straight, with fewer runners to confuse them, were gaining. …

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA 8, MLA 7, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Note: primary sources have slightly different requirements for citation. Please see these guidelines for more information.

Cited article

Travel Destination: Pamplona - on the Horns of a Dilemma; GRAHAM LITTLE Has One of Those Moments of Clarity Which Make Maxims Meaningful. You Know, Those Moments Where You're Standing in Front of Eight Bulls, Wearing a Red Neckerchief
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Help
Full screen
Items saved from this article
  • Highlights & Notes
  • Citations
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

matching results for page

    Questia reader help

    How to highlight and cite specific passages

    1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
    2. Click or tap the last word you want to select, and you’ll see everything in between get selected.
    3. You’ll then get a menu of options like creating a highlight or a citation from that passage of text.

    OK, got it!

    Cited passage

    Style
    Citations are available only to our active members.
    Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA 8, MLA 7, APA and Chicago citation styles.

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

    1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

    Cited passage

    Thanks for trying Questia!

    Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

    Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

    Buy instant access to save your work.

    Already a member? Log in now.

    Search by... Author
    Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

    Oops!

    An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.