Sunday, October 01, 2006
(Note the photo is a link to a larger version of the image.)
These guys are actually descended from the ancient Mayans. They dress up for the tourists and strike a pose as part of the show put on at Xcaret.
The show features these guys, barefoot and barelegged, playing hockey with, literally, balls of fire. The wooden balls are about the size of a basketball, and have been soaked in some flammable liquid. The guys slap the ball hard enough to send if flying across an 80 meter or so long arena. Sometimes the ball shatters in a shower of sparks and flaming shards. The arena has a stone floor, and seats maybe five thousand or so. The games and show are way cool - highly recommended.
They also play a traditional game with a heavy leather ball. In this game, only the hips can contact the ball. A sideways stone hoop is mounted on the wall; the first team to get the ball through the hoop wins.
The Mayans were playing these sports and building a high civilization at about the time of Plato and Aristotle. I seldom think of any ancient civilzation as very advanced other than our own ancient European ancestors, but that's a bad habit.
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