The Karagöz puppets reflect on the culture shock of seclusion


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And here we are, chilling out in our hotel room, looking out at the Carribbean Sea from the Tulum playa…only I can see the band of Karagoz puppets hanging upside down, like bats, from the top of the doorway. That is how my puppets sleep, when they do. (photo by Liz Cameron)

We awoke in Tulum, Mexico, after our long trip and long stop at La Carretta in Miami, for too much delicious Cuban food.

And soon enough, there we were, in the hotel, bellies full of good Mexican breakfast, and it was quiet – save for the sound of crashing waves – make that the sound of *constantly* crashing waves – just outside of the door of our hotel room. And yet the Karagoz puppets were sound asleep, hanging upside-down like bats, as per usual, on the top of our doorway.

It’s too bad that you can’t see them in this silhouette of our feet – but of course – those puppets are (sort of) imaginary after all. (If you have no earthly idea what I am on about, read here).

And so there we were, me, my beloved M., and a whole troupe of Karagoz shadow puppets who were sleeping like bats before waking to confusion, in Tulum, Mexico. They had briefly become aware at dawn – when it looked like this out of the window (see photo below) and then had lapsed into sleep again.

Tomatillo sauce, tortilla chips, fried eggs and crema…heaven. (From Simply recipes, at this link).

M., who was looking happy and relaxed, not to exclude his ear-to-ear grin after a delicious and very spicy breakfast of chilaquiles (click here for link to recipe), turned to me and asked the following: “how do you like it here?”

Pausing to look around me, all I could hear were the puppets for a moment or two.

“It’s – so quiet!” Esma the hippie puppet remarked, sighing with contentment as she entered the lotus position for meditation before doing some hot yoga.

“The sand, it’s so soft!” cried the little chorus of dancing ladies, who were already lounging in the powdery soft remains of an ancient coral reef.

Tulum playa (photo by Liz Cameron)

“It’s – quite loud, these waves! But quite dramatically soothing” Hacivad Bey the learned Sufi elder noted quietly as he made yet another mental note about the joy of duality in everyday life.

“It’s the perfect place to read!” announced Yehuda Rebbe, the wise and learned man, already breaking out his Kindle to choose the book of the hour.

All we heard from Karagoz himself was something along the lines of “It’s perfect for swinging in the trees!” as he disappeared into the palm fronds for at least 24 hours.

“It’s quite interesting,” Mercan Bey, our resident spice trader from the Arabian peninsula reported upon returning from the Cabanas Tulum Hotel kitchen, “they use a lot of different spices here – and what is this, how do you say, ‘cilantro?’ It looks to me like fresh coriander.”

“It’s – tough to be without the internet!” declared the Write-a-matrix, cracking her workaholic whip for good measure. Hacıyatmaz just kept rocking’ and rollin’ upon hearing this comment from his nemesis – and proceeded to roll right over her, where he stayed for the whole trip, and where she almost immediately stopped protesting. It was the quietest puppet battle yet amongst my mental gang of puppet characters. I let it peter out and just listened to those waves.

Safiye Rakkase, the vainglorious dancing puppet, was ignoring it all, plugged in, instead, to the world of the iPod and Turkish pop music.

I did not hear, but saw Tiryaki, the resident addict puppet, slink off in the direction of the pot smoke on our neighbor’s terrace to see if he could score anything to smoke since he was low on the Opium stash (I heard him mutter that he “had to go through the TSA, man, can’t risk it,”). Kenne, the Queen of Manners and Ladylike Behavior (or some such, I started to forget in my Mexican mellowness) and her handmaiden, Zenne, who is a nervous Nellie, like a bowl of jelly, looked on in disgust after Tiryaki – reminding me how glad they are that I gave up the green stuff back in 1987. It didn’t even qualify as a puppet battle, I thought to myself.

After listening to all of those puppets, I just reflected on the calm that had descended since seeing the sunrise that morning, and I breathed deep and felt the calm as I turned to M. and told him – “it’s heaven here. “Thank you – you are one in a million to bring us here!”

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This entry was posted in A Karagöz puppet battle, Puppets on the move around the world, Visits from the Karagöz puppets and tagged , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

8 Responses to The Karagöz puppets reflect on the culture shock of seclusion

  1. Jack Scott says:

    It’s looks absolutely beautiful. Enjoy!

  2. Alan says:

    . . not a lot a voyeur could add to that!

  3. E. says:

    It was amazing – would that we were still there – time lapse blogging and all 🙂

  4. Pingback: Hacivad Bey ponders a reader’s pained comment: On Christians and Muslims; Tears and corpses muslim freedom fighters you kill?” | Slowly-by-Slowly

  5. Pingback: Afiyet olsun: Karagöz revels in the joy of a Tulum cóctel de mariscos | Slowly-by-Slowly

  6. Pingback: On pointless pursuits: Of Tiryaki, opium and seaweed raking in Tulum, Mexico | Slowly-by-Slowly

  7. Pingback: Autumnal nature mort: Esma and the puppets return to New England | Slowly-by-Slowly

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