Watch a Circus

Carrie had been looking for a circus to go to & happened to read about one in Ajijic, 25 minutes away from our house, on an online forum for the area.  They don’t do traditional advertising as we might think of it; it’s mostly by word of mouth.  They asked us at the end of the show if we could please tell people the circus is in town.  Carrie read that last year when it was in town they hired a small airplane to fly around with a loudspeaker to announce the circus, which wouldn’t surprise me because they love loudspeakers here.  In fact, as I’m writing this I hear the local store blasting out what food they’re going to have on sale tomorrow.  It’s 8 PM and we’re a mile away from the store.

The circus wasn’t at all what I imagined, but it was really fun!  Here’s the rundown.  There were no animals.  Mexico outlawed using animals in circus acts (which has led to a problem of what to do with elephants & tigers that are expensive to feed and the circus no longer wants them).  Three camels were moved from the performance arts to the marketing department and stood tied-up out front (that’s still legal evidently).  It was about $23 total for the three of us to sit in the cheap seats; for $6 more we could have sat 10 rows closer, and thank goodness we didn’t do that.  The speakers, like most places playing music in Mexico, were LOUD.  The capacity of the bleachers was at least 1,000 people I’d estimate; Carrie counted 47 of us in the audience.  They are doing two shows a day at 6:00 PM and 8:30 PM for a couple weeks.  From what it looked like when we were leaving, there was going to be an audience of maybe 15 people at the 8:30 show (see the line pictured below).

Unfortunately no pictures or video were allowed of the performances, so you’ll have to use your imaginations.  There were Cirque du Soleil-style acts with people dancing in the air on rings, flying around on giant red ribbons hanging from the ceiling, and swinging around on ropes.  There were no nets and it made me nervous to watch.  There was a juggler & a magician.  Everyone’s talent was top-notch, I was pretty impressed.  Here’s a big difference from the US:  some of the same people did multiple things throughout the show.  Two brothers did the following: take our tickets at the entrance, play trumpets (really well), sing, do comic clown acts throughout, do Olympic-style trampoline jumping, sell cotton candy and light toys during intermission, and last, but certainly not least, ride dirt bikes around in a metal sphere of death (see picture below).  These guys were incredibly talented, athletic, and well-rehearsed, just like all the other performers.  It broke my heart a bit to see the place almost empty, although they even laughed at that.  At one point they were trying to get everyone to make noise and they shined the spotlight on a completely empty section and told them to make more noise.

Carrie and I were way more entertained than iola was.  Our favorite part: knife throwing!  First a professional knife thrower came out with two girls and he threw knives around them with unbelievable accuracy, even while spinning on a big wheel contraption.  But that part made us wince.  After the pro got finished one of the clown brothers came out and tried throwing the knives; they’d just bounce off the wood backboard, part of his shtick.  He came and picked out an American guy from the audience, tied him to the knife throwing board so he couldn’t move, and blindfolded him.  So he’d countdown to the knife throw & would hand the knife to an assistant who would just stab the knife into the board nearby the guy’s head, for example, without actually throwing it, but the guy didn’t know that of course.  So they’d un-blindfold him and he’d cringe at where the knife had stuck.  At one point the poor American guy said in Spanish, “No más!” and the clown replied, “Sí, más!”, and this went on and on.  They finally put a balloon between his legs and the clown took out a huge machete-like knife to pop it.  I’ve never heard Carrie laugh so much, it was music to my ears.

Wow, enough of my rambling, I must be trying to make up for my lack of guts to break the rules and capture the moments!  Enjoy what pictures we did get.

Note iola’s “party hat”.  It was Carrie & iola’s craft project that day and iola wanted to wear it everywhere.  It was a good venue for it!  We suggested leaving it in the car and she exclaimed, “Party hat with!”

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The brothers rode dirt bikes around in this sphere at ridiculous speeds.  Remember the scene in the Simpson’s movie where Homer wins a truck by doing this?

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-Ryan

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