San Blas: Tourists

One of the most exotic things about San Blas are the tourists. First, you're suppose to ask before taking their picture (so they don't like to feel like oddities) and then maybe pay them a dollar depending on how generous you feel. I broke the rule several times and got a few shots of them in their not-so-native environment.

The old couple carrying their shoes around the island. This may seem like a strange ritual, but there is a deep cultural tradition of carrying shoes, which signifies their high social standing.

The lovers. This is a social coming-of-age mating ritual, where the female and the male make public displays of affection. The male often attempts to display his sexual desirability by picking up his potential mate as distracting waves splash on his ankles. If he is able to carry out the task, it will bode well for the chances of a successful union. The female, in the meantime, must smile and pretend she is comfortable with the whole ordeal of her awkwardly-scrawny-potential-of-a-mate pretends she's not so heavy and he can carry out romantic conversation with out grunting or dropping her in the water.

Last (but certainly not least...) the show-off. This one displays his mighty warrior like prowess with a traditional handstand. Not a headstand, but a handstand, which requires more balance and strength.

Notice all of these cultural practices occur in the same spot of the island. The beach is a very religious sanctuary for the tourists. They believe when the spirits of the white sands meet with the gods of the sea, a magical phenomena happens and fulfills their deep longings that they are unable to realize elsewhere. The wanna-be warrior becomes a warrior. Depressed young ones find love. And old people find their long lost shoes... well... okay I'm not sure about the old people. And then there is me. I go to the white sandy beach (with snorkel gear in hand) to fulfill my long hidden desire of being an old-school anthropologist. Only rum! Damn, where's all the medicinal herbs I was promised in graduate school!!

1 comment:

Cheasty said...

you just murdered me with laughter. awesome post.