Sept 17 - Bull fighting, Thai style

Today we went to the bull fights held in an arena in nearby Nuah Klong. Entry was 300 bahts, kindly paid for by Stuart & Sheila's hotel hosts. Entering thru a kind of barricade, we immediately sat down to a late breakfast (early lunch?) of fried chicken and spicy noodle soup with fresh vegetables. Thai bull fighting, known as wua chon, is much different than the traditional European bull fighting as seen in Spain and other regions. There are no matadors; it's bull vs bull. After a brief introduction to the crowd, the horn protectors come off and the bulls are left to see which one dominates the other. The arena is caked mud and dirt, and the bulls lock horns and try to push each other around. Meanwhile, the crowd is betting on the outcome, and the bookies take bets from the crowd yelling and signalling to them with hand signals. Purses can be quite high. Today, eight matches were scheduled, with a total purse value of 800,000 bahts (over $25,000USD). No telling the amount of betting going on. Eventually, one bull tires or gives up, literally running away from the other bull; thus, the winner is usually evident to even us farangs. There's very little gore; today, a few bulls will need some minor wounds attended to before their next bout, but this is bull fighting that is tolerable to the's a test of strength and stamina and both bulls go home, no ears are lopped off, and the crowds shout their encouragement and enthusiasm with each move of the bull's horns.

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