Fred and I spent the nine days at the Rainbow Gathering being really involved- in the trading circle, talking with very different and out-there people from all around the world, exploring the gathering, and doing little art projects. Fred collected different compostable substances like coconut shells, orange halves, avocado halves, and more –hollowed them out and made them into little floating candles. He put over twenty of them into the river that flowed through the gathering late at night. It was beautiful; tiny little floating flames with fire spinners, hundreds of pounding drums, and figures dancing wildly in the dark jungle background.
The Universe had its own artistic expression to display. In the form of a giant teal colored comet that shot across the sky. Fred and I were chatting and swingy in our hammock that hung over a little cascade one night while the drum circle and dancing was going on in the Main Meadow. Suddenly the sky lit up white –like the bright flash of a camera, the jungle paradise was completely visible for a few seconds. Shocked, we ran out of the canopy at full speed and into the meadow to find that all the music had stopped and people were freaking out! We asked around to see what made the flash; everyone exclaimed that it was a teal comet that went across the entire night sky! The most amazing object anyone had ever seen while gazing upwards. Damn, we sort of missed it –but for those thousands of people whose stuff was kicking in, I’m sure it was a scene they will never forget.
On the eve of December 21st Fred and I woke up and decided quite abruptly that we were ready to go –we were satisfied with our timw at the Rainbow Gathering. More and more people were filing in every minute and space was extremely limited; things were starting to feel unsanitary. We packed up and got a camp site near the ruins for the night. At 4am we drove to the Mayan ruins gate to try and get in early –no way, there was policia guarding the gates with a few hundred hippies that had walked the 13 miles from the gathering to the site, all wanting to get in right then and now. The vibes were so tense we decided to return later. However, things had only gotten more strange and rebellious later on in the day. The area before you enter the ruin site with the ticket booth and old chicas selling “tacos, tamales, café” with monotone, high pitched, nasally voices, was PACKED! Tons of tourists, locals, and the majority held to the Rainbows. At the gate they were telling the policia to let them in for free! Their logic was that we were all family and that the land belonged to everyone, so that it was wrong to charge them money…it was slightly disturbing. Really? Come on. It’s a five dollar entry fee and it goes to the ruin site and to the poor Palenquen community. Hippies were making aggressive gestures to the policia and trying to storm the gate. This was not appropriate, rainbow behavior and was embarrassing. I kept shaking my head and telling Fred that there was most definitely going to be a riot that this was going to be on the cover of Time magazine. I could see the newspaper headlines, “Hippie Massacre in Mexico!”
But, amazingly, the policia were very cool about the whole scene and didn’t start decapating heads with machetes, shooting down rows of hippies, or arresting members from around the world for heavy ransom (even though they had every entitlement) and ultimately let all those kids through the gate without paying, another example of the kindness of Mexican people.
Inside the Palenque Mayan Ruins it poured. The heaviest, most eerie rain ever imaginable –I mean, it far surpassed cats and dogs. It was raining mammoths and whales. But we were there! During that most auspicious time, on that spooky day in a cleansing rain. That architecture was amazing and we got to climb all the way up most of their pyramids and towers which was really cool. Standing on the top of history, on ancient and sacred stones laid by mysterious people hundreds of years ago –looking down at Mayan elders doing rituals, hippies meditating, dancing, praying, tourists taking loads of pictures, and a handful of locals looking at everything thinking we are all loco. What a moment in time! A picture is worth a thousand words.
So, the world didn’t end, but it did change for Fred and I. At that moment we could go in any direction we chose, no restraints or pressures. We left the ruins and bought our French- Canadian friends an awesome lunch. Lunch complete with snagging the left over fancy drink from the table next to us after they left and toasting to an awesome time together in Mexico. After saying goodbye Fred and I went to an internet café and he asked me what I would like to do for Christmas –our first Christmas away from home and family. All I wanted to go was go swimming.