October 30th, 2009 by ejalbright
Soprano Sarah Brightman arrived yesterday in Merida, the capital of Yucatan, and then was whisked to the Mayaland Resort next to the ruins of Chichen Itza, where she will perform tomorrow.
Accompanied by a retinue of 25, she was greeted by a delegation of Yucatecans, complete with trova singers. According to reporters, she was so overcome that she hugged the children who were present.
Meanwhile, the war of words between the Chichen Itza vendors and the state of Yucatan continues. Every day several hundred invade the Chichen Itza archaeological zone to sell trinkets to tourists, but according to those who are said to lead the vendors, the state government is keeping them out during the concert. Jorge Esma Bazan, the director of Cultur (the state agency that is overseeing the concert), has claimed that an agreement is in place with the vendors. However, one of the leaders of the vendors told reporters yesterday that no such agreement is in place, and that they will be turning to their deities for help.
“We will ask the Maya gods that some authority, sensible and conscientious, agrees to our petition to expropriate the land upon which stands Chichen, and that it belongs to those individuals who come inside to work there without prohibitions,” said Silvia Cimé Mex, one of the leaders of New Kulkulcan, the union of vendors.
While the monuments at Chichen Itza belong to the Mexican government, the land upon which they rest is privately owned. The vendor union has pressed for the government to take the land via expropriation.
According to Cimé Mex, the vendors have been restricted in the archaeological zone while those preparing the concert have had free reign, including climbing monuments which are banned to the general public. While the Maya are forbidden from blowing conch shell trumpets during their ceremonies held at Chichen Itza, the union leader claimed that much greater damage will result from the decibels produced by the concert’s sound system.
Last week the leaders of the vendors threatened to hold protests against the show and even block roads. However, Cimé Mex made no mention of that during her press conference yesterday. The only action, apparently, will be supplication to the Maya gods for help.
Around 6,000 are expected to attend the performance by Brightman. Tickets are still available for the concert. Ticket prices are $8,000 ($616 U.S.), $6,000 ($462), $3,000 ($231), $2,000 ($154), $1,000 ($77), and $500 ($39).
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