Tuesday, May 3, 2011

The Ringling Brothers come to Pana...

well, not exactly the Ringling Brothers, but there was a circus that came to town this week. The small empty lot, adjacent to our Dispensa Familiar (small grocery store chain, owned by Walmart) is where we found ourselves last night in the Big Top Tent of the Lopez Gaona Family circus.

Rich, Kasia, Mike, Adele, Cheryl, Lungi, Lee
Me, Parker & Anna Kate 
the head of the dog is Oreo, looking at his adoring owner Lungi

We were invited to go to the circus with our friends: the Buhre's and the Robert's. We decided to buy the upgraded tickets, so we could have front row seats (chairs) instead of bleacher seats. I actually had two chairs stacked on top of each other - neither by itself could actually hold a person, but together they managed to keep me out of the sawdust. I was very grateful for my two chairs because the bleachers were a series of 1x5 wooden boards tied to a rickety metal frame. Let's just say that Guatemalans must not be very litigious.

The show started with some goats trained to run around the ring, hop on stands and walk across boards. It migrated into a classic staple of every self-respecting circus - the Clowns. The clown acts were heavy on dialog (in high-pitched, rapid fire Spanish), low on side-splitting comedic antics. The clowns were my least favorite part of the show. We saw horses, acrobats, a "trapeze" artist and more clowns. The acrobats were really quite talented, I really enjoyed watching them. The trapeze artist, wasn't really on a trapeze - it was two long strips of red fabric which he wrapped around himself and flip-flopped through the air. Fortunately, he was very athletic and brave as he flew around the tent without a safety net to catch him. During the Intermedio, the audience was encouraged to get snacks while they assembled a cage around the ring. The zenith of the show was watching the four Bengal tigers (which used to belong to Michael Jackson) as they jumped through hoops of fire, danced, growled and performed with their trainer. After the show, we were able to have our picture made with the Bengal tiger cub. What an adventure!

Our family with Kasia, Lungi and tiger cub Achilles!

I have to be completely transparent here - the only circus my kids have ever been to is - Cirque de Soleil. This is kinda like visiting the Eiffel Tower and then going to see the amateur sculpture outside the Public Library. There is no equality in comparing the work of a genius with the work of your average Juan. My standard for "greatest shows on earth" is slightly skewed - know what I mean. BUT - I have to say that we really enjoyed the circus. You could tell that they know what a circus experience is supposed to include. It had all the circus essentials - popcorn, hotdogs, girls selling souvenirs, animals, performers and clowns. (The only thing missing were the orange circus peanuts, but I didn't really miss that.) They really wanted to entertain and amaze their audience. For those in attendance that have never been to Cirque de Soleil; they probably were amazed and entertained by the wonders of the animals and the acrobats. I bet for many of the Guatemalans, they have never seen, heard or smelled real live tigers. It was good, clean family fun - which is not always easy to find in Panajachel. What a great family adventure!

No comments:

Post a Comment