What, you may ask, exactly is the "Palenque?"
Well, this is another cultural icon of rural Mexico that stems from pre-Roman times, brought by the Spaniards, and once again a rather controversial spectacle:
This time I'll spare you all the philosophical prose and cut straight to the chase: A buddy of mine who comes from Baltimore and has lived here for a year and a half now (our kids attend the same school) mentioned to me last February of hearing rumors of the possibility of attending a cockfight. At that time we were unable to hook up and make it happen, and I was rather disappointed, feeling I'd missed out on some sort of extremely rare, cult-like gathering. So when the local fair arrived a few weeks ago (fair as in carny rides, ballon-popping games, etc. - see a previous blog) and suddenly a large blue and white old circus tent appeared on the outside of the fair grounds fence, my buddy Sam sniffed out the situation and confirmed that the Palenque was back. So we stuffed our pockets with meager amounts of pesos and I trudged along with my not-so-subtle camera gear in a shoulder bag, we grabbed a taxi, and we headed out there...
|Warm up part 1: get another bird to peck your contestant. This seemed|
to be very effective - gets the birds rather fired up...
|Warm up part 2: blow on the bird a bit. Not sure what this was supposed to do.|
Regardless, it didn't work. Which was good for us. We bet on the other bird.
|How can you NOT bet on this guy? We did... and won. Don't mess with NY.|
So, was it all a success? Let's put it this way- after this one night, I was ready to double-mortgage the two bar/restaurants and the house in Chicago and put it all into a new and lucrative cockfighting career, as long as Sam placed the bets.. He simply couldn't lose.
|Another winning ticket for Sam...|
So here's how the whole thing works:
|The referee gives the signal to start...|
|The contestants square off...|
|... the battle ensues...|
|... the referee (in white) keeps a close eye on the action...|
|... things get heated rather quickly ...|
|... the loser gets carried off...|
|I really don't know what to say about this. But they had ring-side seats.|
And there clearly were many intricacies to this sport that I, for one, was just too much of a novice to grasp. Sort of like baseball, or at least that's what I've been told. I do know what it means to have the "infield in", but I have no idea what this guy's little trick is supposed to accomplish:
|This bird was having a rough nite. I'm guessing this technique is meant to|
get the bird back on track, sort of like a bucket of water in a woozy boxer's face....
|And this bird? Just waiting his turn...|
|Hmmmmm.... These chicken tacos taste so fresh...|
|Our waitresses... They were very patient and friendly...|
|... and talented singers, too!|
Well, this was one wacky night. Glad I didn't miss it...