Tulum Travel Blog› entry 2 of 6 › view all entries
We headed off along the tourist trek to the ruins at Tulum, joining a small stream of other multinational tourists. We felt somehow superior, being equipped with backpacks and sunhats. The low ruins, sitting at the top of the cliffs next to the turquoise sea, seemed like a postcard setting. Many of the tourists apparently agreed, standing in line to take pictures of each other. French seemed to be the predominant language. Listening to the guides giving their parrot-like speeches in an interesting version of French was new to us. The animals there seemed quite undisturbed by the hubbub, most notably the posses green iguanas and the Zebra longwings.
Our first encounter with a machete was a local using it deftly to chop fresh coconuts. We sat down to eat the fleshy fruit, and take a breather. We looked up from the bench, only to see four men attached to a giant pole, and one man sat on top. "What are they doing? They're gonna jump. Just wait they're gonna jump... Any second!" And jump they did. The Voladeros were acting out an ancient Maya religious ritual, with men flying around upside down, only attached to the pole by a rope around their ankles, all to the accompaniment of a flute player high at the top. Luckily, this ritual survived as the Spanish considered it a sport rather than a "pagan rite". The 4 performers and the leader (flute player), represent the 5 cardinal points--east, west, north, south, and most importantly, the axis from earth to heaven. Unbelievably, once they had unfurled down to the bottom, they proceeded to do the whole thing over again--several times! I know all jobs have their lows, but hanging upside down for 75% of your workday...Dios mio!