We ate lunch at the almost open air white restaurant, somewhat downtown but also somewhat hidden. The decor was mostly in red. The menu was most definitely in red. We spoke none of the Loving Tongue which is Spanish except for the common phrases which Gringos pick up here and there. However, the menu was user-friendly in that it had pictures of all the food items. We ordered from the huge sampler plate in order to taste Mexican food for the very first time. It was good. Sometimes eating things which you know not the contents of is a very good experience.
The restaurant was quite warm, but we had dressed comfortably. The waiters were quite friendly, considering that it was long past the rush hour for lunch, and we were the only ones in the rather large establishment. And considering that in order to take our order we had to point at the items we wanted.
As we left the white restaurant with the red decor, we walked across the street. There was a bullring there. (Was that there before? How could we have missed it?) Our first inclination was to go inside and see the bullring. As if by magic, a youngish (20?) Mexican came out of the arena area and approached us. He was smiling like a resort property salesman, and extending his hand way before I could shake it. He told us, in strained English, that the bullfight would be later that day (it was Wednesday; bullfights happen on Wednesday) and that we should allow him to take us on a tour of the bullring.
It all sounded good to us, even though there was an implicit understanding that there would be a tip for services rendered. He took us into the bullring center, and it was so much smaller than I would have pictured. There were seats for less folks than at your grade school kid's school play. It was all made out of mud, and the vacuum cleaner salesman was kind enough to offer to take our picture there in the sands of upcoming death.
The used car salesman then offered to take us to "see the bulls." How could we resist? He was so brilliantly charming in his smarmy way. He took us into the bowels of the bullring, down several long tunnels, deep into the lower levels which one would never suspect even existed from looking at the outside. As we reached the end of this journey into darkness, we saw the bullpens built about shoulder high with caked mud. On top of the walls of the pens were half a dozen very dangerous-looking men, squatting down. They all turned to look at us as we came near. They looked like Mexican versions of goodfellows.
The hair on my arms began to tingle. A tinge of fear crept up the small of my back. "What are we doing here? So far away from America and anyone who even knows where we are?" (Why were there no concessionaires in the bullring? Isn't the fight just an hour or two away? Why no maintenance workers?)
The more I sensed danger, the more dangerous it became. The insurance agent seemed to sense that we were in over our heads. He whispered to me, "These are the matadors who will decide which one gets to fight the bull today. They are nervous." As was I.
We backtracked to the outside, leaving the brown men with bushy mustaches to decide whose or upon whom blood would be spilled that day. The lawyer who took us back outside seemed almost as relieved as we were to have actually escaped without harm. A trickle of sweat was on his brow; the same sweat that was rolling down in torrents inside our summer shirts.