Xcaret, Part II: The Ballgame and Performances

Thursday, March 25, 1999

part of Jin and Eve's Cancun Adventure!
A ballgame of the type played by ancient Mayans was played at Xcaret as the sun was setting. It appeared to be a vigorous, physically challenging game.

The players are scantily clad young men.

Like basketball, the goal of the game is to get the ball through the hoop as many times as possible in the allotted time. The hoop is the stone ring perpendicular to the plane of the photograph.

The players must use their hips to hit the ball. No hands or feet are allowed to touch it. They wear protective leather clothing over their hips.

In this version of the game, the winning team is presented with an animal skin and is bowed to by the losing team. For some reason, they decided not to follow the Mayan tradition of beheading the winning team's captain.

After the game, we were led through a series of underground tunnels, where small-scale performances were given, and we ended up in the large amphitheater where we were dazzled by a variety show of song and dance.

The performers put their legs right over the fire.

I wonder what he's smoking.

At the amphitheater:

We captured some of the sounds we heard tonight at Xcaret: drumbeats (1, 2) and folk music (1, 2, 3, 4).

Feedback is welcome. Text, images, and sounds by Eve Andersson and Jin Choi.