Saturday, March 29, 2008

El Tajin

It's a small cluster of pyramids near the coast of Veracruz, Mexico. Small by number and small by size but pretty cool nevertheless.
I arrived in the morning to find the entrance packed with artesanos (lads and lassies that sell handmade stuff) and many a visitor. Turns out the day I arrived was the Equinox so that's why there were so many people. Here for the equinox people dress up in white and head to the pyramids to raise their arms skyward, maybe do a chant or two (I don't know) and receive positive energy. Apparantly it works, but there weren't too many arms raised skyward when I visited that day. So I went back on the 21st (the official day of the Equinox, although it fell two days earlier) and still there were not a whole bunch of people with skyward pointing, energy receiving, triangular shaped stances. So I missed my opportunity to become more positively energised. Sigh.
It's a very chilled out place. Lots of trees to rest under (and believe me you do need to escape from the heat every now and then), the pyramids are different because they have terraces as opposed to being flat sided, and it is pretty much vendor free.
There are a few wandering around selling oranges and vanilla pods, but most are barricaded outside the facility and resort to yelling at passers-by to attract attention and sell their goodies. An orange in itself does not sound overly appealing I'm guessing, but when you are suffering from the heat, those oranges are like little balls of goodness. And you are willing to pay what they ask, more than once usually.
Outside the complex I encountered some Voladores de Papantla perfoming for the crowds. This guys are pretty cool to watch, and plenty graceful. Ol' Maori here would fall off and plummet to the ground, as opposed to the graceful descent that is usually associated with this event.

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