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Sunday, February 20, 2011

Dancing, Playing with Fire and Ulama in El Quelite

Sunday a.m.
Before I chronicle our day yesterday I want to go back to Thursday and our fun time in El Quelite. Because the cruise ships are coming in again the shows for the tourists in El Quelite have begun again and we were lucky enough to be told when one was going to happen. Again it was a foggy day in Mazatlan but as we headed inland the sun came out and it was beautiful. I mentioned last blog that new bougainvilleas were being planted along the road into town. But before the rest of them can be planted the roadside brush needs to be cleared away. It is all done by hand with a machete.

Piles and piles of it. Can you imagine a US road worker asked to clear brush with a machete?

Just as we got to town we had to stop and wait for the traffic to cross the road.
got work to do
We had a reserved table in the restaurant – right up front. The waitresses waiting for the tourists to show up.

And then the show began – it was great. First a traditional Folkloric dance from Sinaloa – the area we are in. Two couples – the girls in dazzling full swirly dresses with their hair woven with ribbons.

 The guys in tight black pants, cowboy boots and white shirts with red neckerchiefs.
Really neat dance – lots of strutting and twirling and fast music.
A short video of the dance

Then one of the couples did The Mexican Hat Dance – this is from the Jalisco area. Cute dance.

The final dance was from the northern area of Mexico – A Ranchero dance

After the dancers the Ulama players did a purifying dance with fire. Amazing the way they handle the flames and don’t injure themselves.
Fire in his hand

Fire around his leg

Passing the fire from hand to hand
And here is a clip of them handling the fire.

After that a ritual dance with four characters. The one with the eagle wings wins.
The winner
Then it was time to move outside to the street where the game of Ulama began. Ulama is an Aztec game. One of the oldest continuously played sports in the world. The ball can only be hit using the hip.

each man is on a different team
I posted a video of this game just before this post. It takes a while to upload but is worth it.
On the way home we decided to go to the grocery store for some last minute stocking up on things. We made a wrong turn as were trying to figure out where we were when a city policeman pulled us over. He said we were speeding (at most other times I would have agreed with him, but because we were trying to figure out where to go we were going very slow.) The Driver feigned not speaking Spanish but when the policeman saw his license and name – Guillermo – that pretense went out the window. The procedure is. The policeman writes a ticket and takes your license. Then the next day you go to court pay the ticket and get your license back. Well we were leaving the next morning bright and early – Guillermo told the polite policeman that as he took 200 Pesos out of his wallet. Well there was a solution – and it would be better for us. If we went to court the speeding ticket would be 500 Pesos. But we could pay the ticket right there (as long as we didn’t want a receipt) and it would be only 200 Pesos. Hummmm. So of course we paid the nice policeman right then and we both left happy. That’s the first time in four years we’ve run into that.
Finished our grocery shopping and went home and got ready to leave.

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