We catch a taxi to Plaza del Torro (the bull fight ring). The light rain that started at the end of the parade continues. I threw a bottle of water and a cheap poncho into my rain jacket pocket before leaving Roka Plaza hotel. We agreed that I would not try to carry the infamous black cloth bag that seems to go everywhere with me in Ecuador, nor my iPhone. William has our camera tucked under his jacket and a cheap poncho in one of his pockets. On the way into Plaza del Torro William and I stop to buy an umbrella and an extra poncho.
Evelyn and Burt are in front of us as we go through security into Plaza del Toro, both carrying digital SLR camera's, Burt's with a noticeably long lens. The security guard stops us - and describes in Spanish that professional camera's are not allowed. After we try to argue for a while one of the head men arrives. He explains (in Spanish) that they cannot allow the professional camera's into the facility, smaller camera's are allowed. This is to protect the professional photographers of the event. However, he has a solution. He will keep the three camera's in the security office, then we can go to our seats. We begrudgingly follow him and leave our camera's behind having received a receipt. Luckily both Evelyn and Burt carry smaller format camera's and they are still able to photograph the event. We laugh wondering if we will be filing insurance claims for lost/stolen camera's.
Plaza del Toro is a round structure with concrete bleachers. Our seats are in the front row across from the chute where the bulls enter the ring. The rain slows down and stops right about the time of the opening ceremony. After the crowd sings the national anthem of Ecuador we are ready for the first of seven fights, which is the only one where the toreador is on horseback. There is still the opportunity to scream olé as supporting toreadors attract the bull with their capes. 25 minutes later we learn first hand that in Ecuador the bulls are killed; in some other countries the animals are injured but then removed from the ring (supposedly to go out to pasture).
Another bull of the seven is spared his life. The bull is very strong and full of life. The headline toreador (with the supporting bull fighters) fails to fatally injured him within the allotted time. The judge declares him to be spared. The crowd laughs and enjoys the scene as it takes four bullfighters and other staff 20 minutes to convince the bull to leave the ring go back into the chute, including a failed attempt to lasso him.
After the event we go to dinner at Hotel Ambato. It turns out that most of the bullfight crowd is staying at the hotel and there is a banquet tonight. Some of the toreadors come into the restaurant to chat. Manuel Escribano passes by our table and Evelyn reaches out to congratulate him and they shake hands smiling.