Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Racing bulls in Madura

I'm writing a formal piece about this but last weekend four buddies and I traveled to the insanely hot, staunchly conservative and yet curiously permissive East Java island of Madura (more on that permisiveness later) and its annual bull-racing championships.

This is pretty far off the tourist path here and our group made up about a quarter of the White Honkey contingent at an event attended by maybe 10,000 people. As my very Boston Irish friend Jack said while watching the bull teams thunder into our midst just past the finish line, "This is the most Lonely Planet thing I'll do this year."

Maybe. I mean, there are orangutans to visit up in Borneo and maybe those dragons out in Komodo. But the bulls were cool. Beautifully fawn-colored and much-fussed over. They were the stars of a blast-furnace morning of color, pomp, and rural-folk good times.

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