The Caribbean was unavoidable.

The view from Mog's window as I write.Our trip, which has been pretty gruelling so far, has just taken a turn for the worse.

We have been forced to stay for two nights at Tulum, where we are currently parked just above the beach; having to endure the sound of the wind rustling in the palms and the azure sea breaking on the unspoiled golden white sands. Thankfully, being winter, the temperature is only 28°C so we are not suffering too much.

Clive and Ann have been forced to abandon the comfort of K-Nine and eat their breakfast of hot cakes and honey exposed to the wind, sun and occasional topless bather.

More prosaically, we are at the El Mirador resort (N 20.209403 W 87.431022), a delightfully run-down ramshackled establishment that rents out beach huts, serves beer and food (eventually) and has occasional water and electricity. Cost $10USA per van per night.

So far the litter has failed to ruin this bit of paradise, but El Mirador is making great strides in that direction. (After staying here for two days, I have changed my mind! The restaurant is overpriced and slow, and the litter is excessive. The establishment next door (50 metres before you reach El Mirador is cleaner and the same price! Sorry I can't remember the name, but you can't miss it.)

Enough of our problems. On the way here from Merida we have enjoyed a Mexican fiesta, been taken for a ride, climbed down into several cenote and witnessed a melodrama in three acts at Chichen Itza.

Whilst planning our route Clive noted that an interesting "horse and buggy" trip was available at a small town called Cuzema. However by the time we got near to Cuzema we could find no reference to the town of Cuzema, let alone a "horse and buggy ride" in any of our guide books. We went there anyway.

Three kilometers before getting to Cuzema we passed thru Homun, a small town preparing itself for a fiesta that evening. So having parked up in front of the police station in Cuzema (N 20.741728 W 89.316718) we took three bicycle taxis back to Homun for the evening.

The fiesta centered around a two storey temporary wooden bull ring built in the town square. Clustered round this were dozens of stalls selling food and drink. Having established that we would not see any bulls killed we climbed on to the second storey of the bull ring next to the town band. The band provided a sound track to the bull fight in the same way a pianist accompanied a silent movie, adapting what they played in time to the action. If things got too quiet one of the band would launch rockets over the ring to liven things up.

It soon became apparent that the real action was not the bull fight itself but what happened after each round was over. Milling round outside the bull ring were about fifty local men and boys on horseback, each complete with lassos and spurs. As the time approached for the bull to be dragged from the arena back into the waiting truck (local ranches seem to supply the bulls for the evening) a fight on horseback ensued as each horseman tried to be first to enter the arena thru the two metre wide gateway (immediately under the band). The resultant mêlée shook the stand alarmingly, but the band played on. When the gates were finally opened the fifty charged into the area and vied for the honour of lassoing the bull, most missed. A very macho affair (although I did feel that the odd diamond earring and cell phone slightly detracted from some rider's image). A video clip may be available to download here at some time.

In the morning, having enquired of the police about the "horse and buggy" ride, we drove 4km out of town (N 20.713743 W 89.324757) to what had been a large sisal plantation. In its heyday, over 100 years ago, the plantation had built a 20km narrow gauge railway to carry the sisal from the fields to the crushing mill and from there to town. Because the tracks passed by three cenote (I will tell you later, if you don't know) the old wagons had been adapted to carry passengers. Alas they are building a road for the tour buses and this splendidly eccentric ride will soon be no more. Hurry. A video clip may be available to download here at some time.

Cenote, as I expect you know by now, are large underground caverns, often filled with clear water in which part of the dome shaped roof has collapsed providing splendid sources of water, and holes for the unwary to fall in.

The buggy ride took us passed three cenote. The first could be entered by a staircase, the second only by a metal ladder hanging from a wire (we didn't). The third had a seven metre shaft with a wooden ladder (we all did).

We also visited one of the most famous Mayan sites: Chichen Itza. As well as appreciating the splendid ruins which are ....etc. etc... we also witnessed a melodrama.

Act one takes place in the car park. A tall woman collects a wheel chair from reception and takes it back to her car. A man gets out of the car, walks a couple of paces, without apparent difficulty, and sits in the wheel chair.

Act two takes place at the central pyramid. (Because a number of people have died falling down the steps, it is no longer permitted to climb the pyramid. This is clearly indicated with signs and barriers.) At the base of the pyramid the wheel chair sits empty and the man is lying, apparently unconscious, nearby. The woman wearing black high heel shoes and white gaiters runs, without stopping, up the pyramid. An impressive athletic feat.

Act three sees the woman walking briskly round the base of the pyramid to the "unconscious" man, pursued by two officials intent on evicting her from the site.

The woman complains that this is unfair, and, indicating her companion, says she can not leave because he is ill. The woman then photographs the wheel chair, the man and the somewhat embarrassed officials.

The officials insist they both leave. The man recovers sufficiently to climb back into the wheel chair. The four players exit stage left.

Like many modern dramas it is difficult to explain the plot.

Is it part of a series of happenings?

Are they well known for such performances?

Do you know who they are?

Stephen Stewart.

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