6 San Miguel de Mimiahuapam 6nPlaza de TorosnMonumental Bull RingnThere were already a few cars in the parking lot up front bynthe red-and-yellow-painted gates and the ticket booths, onento the left and another to the right — “Sol” and “Sombra”n— and people wandering behind these. Next to the parkingnlot was the Monumental Bar & Disco, with its doorsnpropped open on the dark cool interior where the chairsnrested legs-up on the tabletops. “Let’s go have a look atnthose Mimiahuapam bulls,” Jim Rauen — who lives innBelen, New Mexico, and is an aficionado — suggested.nThe bulls waited in the holding pens directly to the left ofnthe gate area. The pens were dry tanks made of bricks orncinder block, and they had stairs rising to the high promenadesnthat surrounded the walls along their tops and werenfaced on the inside by a high iron grille. Through the grille,nyou looked down on the bulls, and they looked up at you.nThese bulls from the Mimiahuapam Ranch, like all fightingnbulls, had never before witnessed a man standing at theirnown level; nor would they until they entered the ring for thenfirst — and last — time. Upon an assurance of that factndepends not only the safety of the matador, but the art ofnthe bullfight itself.nAround the promenade, fathers lifted small children onntheir shoulders to view the bulls, little girls in voluminousnEaster dress stood on the toes of their patent-leather pumpsnto peer, and old men wearing straw hats and suspendersnsquinted, sizing up the animals and muttering to onenanother. There was sand spread on the floor of each tank,nand each had a brick water trough, and burladeros —nwooden shelters built out eight inches or so from the wall fornthe handlers to get behind if they needed to. In the first tanknwere a black, a brown, and a brindle bull. The bulls were inngood flesh and had very sleek, shiny coats. The brindle, Jimnobserved, also had a slightly upturned point on its right horn.nThe bulls pressed together, smearing each other with theirnbright green manure, while the black pawed the ground andnrolled his eyes upward to the promenade. As they stood theirnground pawing, the yellow dust rose in clouds around them,nlifted through the grille, and dispersed itself among thenspectators. The three other of the six bulls to be killed thatnafternoon had been moved to adjoining tanks to preventnthem from fighting one another. Everyone on the promenade,nincluding the old men, appeared to be very pleased bynthe quality and the general aspect of these bulls.nWe left the bulls and went through the red-and-yellowngates to attend the sorteo. On the other side of the gates, wenwere met by a brown old man dressed in a loose brown suit,na brown shirt with no necktie, a brown hat, and brown shoesnwho wanted to sell us tickets to the fight. When Jimnexplained that we had our tickets already and wished to seenthe sorteo, the man nodded affably and shuffled ahead of usnunder the concrete flair of the stadium bowl close to thenholding pens where a sign on an inset yellow door saidnPeligro. Here beneath the overhang, everything was crustednwith pigeon droppings, including the folding metal chairsnand tables where people sat drinking beer and waiting for thensorteo to take place. Among these were a party of Anglos,nincluding a middle-aged couple from Midland, Texas; ann22/CHRONICLESnnneldedy one from Denver who said they came every year fornthe Easter fight that begins the season; and a lady fromnSanta Fe in a long blue dress with heavy folds in it andneyeglasses, wearing her hair drawn back in a salt-and-peppernbun. This woman, who reminded me inevitably of the OldnLady in Death in the Afternoon whom Hemingway attemptsnto instruct in the art and morality of the bullfight,nturned out to be a true aficionada. While we were talking,nthe sorteo was accomplished: after the names of the six bullsnhad been inscribed on six cigarette papers, the managers ofnthe three matadores selected two papers apiece. The bullsnwhose names appeared on those papers were the bulls theirnmen would fight that afternoon.nIn the shaded angle between the pavement and the slopenof tiered concrete, men unloaded cases of beer and coca,nplunging the botties neck-first into plastic pails filled withncrushed ice. Behind them, through the dark tunnel thenpuerta made, a figure in the open yellow oval of the ring wasnwatering the sand with a hose. With Bob Guidry, Monumental’snpublic-relations man in El Paso, we drank beer andndiscussed the history of the stadium, which Guidry said wasnbuilt in 1957 when nobody dreamed of the speed and extentnof Juarez’s future growth. Guidry explained that a decline innenthusiasm for the bullfight has occurred along the bordernwith the United States and in northern Mexico generally,nwhich is why fights are scheduled nowadays only on holidaynSundays between Easter and Labor Day. What he calledn”the fight of the decade” had taken place only the yearnbefore, he said, when el Presidente intervened to spare thenbull’s life. Such a thing happens with about one in every tennthousand bulls, A bull spared in this way, in recognition ofnhis outstanding bravery, is put to stud so that he may pass onnhis brave genes to as considerable a progeny as possible.nThe Monumental Bar & Disco was a shabby cafe opennon three sides to make a patio where low tables, built ofnrough plywood tops held in iron bands and standingnconsiderably off-plumb, were surrounded by a motleynassortment of chairs. Beyond the cafe the disco yawned, angray cavern, empty and dim. Children belonging to thenTarahumara Indian tribe sold candy and nuts from baskets,nand between the tables a single waiter ran back and forth,ngripping by the necks with grimy fingers uncapped bottles ofnbeer.nAround four o’clock people began arriving in numbers byncars, pickup trucks, buses, and vans. Drinking beer withnfresh lime slices, we watched a girl wearing a tight-fittingnpolka-dot dress and no underwear over a superb figure, andnanother girl, of a Spanish fairness and with a classic profile,ndressed out in a complete going-to-the-bullfight costume:nblack-and-white hat with a flat crown and a stiff brim, anwhite blouse, black pants ending just above the knees, and anblack-and-white pocketbook. Her husband was of a muchndarker Spanish type, almost swarthy; they had two smallnchildren with them. At a table near us an Anglo genfleman,nsilver-haired and florid, in a gray tweed coat with displaynhandkerchief in the pocket above pressed charcoal slacks andntasseled loafers, sat cool and remote between two lovelynblonde girls of 14 or 15. A fiesta atmosphere was beginningnto develop, and somewhere behind us a band was playingnpasa dobles — bullfight music. The parking lot and then