Tour du Monde
Crazy Herbie-Parade in Mexico25.06.2010 / 11:09
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Text by Alex Marashian Photos by Rainer Hosch
Crazy Herbie-Parade in Mexico
Though it’s less than two hours’ drive from Tulum (and would be faster still on better roads), the inland town of Valladolid feels worlds away. For one thing, it has no beach. As a result, its has few tourists and only a handful of expatriates (more on that later). There are no signs for yoga or reiki healing. No scuba shops. No strip malls. Indeed, there are hardly any new buildings at all here. Whereas Tulum — pueblo and beach resort alike — seems to have sprung up overnight, relatively speaking, Valladolid has been around more than 450 years.
Established in 1543 by the nephew of the Spanish conquistador Francisco de Montejo, and named after the capital of Spain at the time, Valladolid was originally built on a lagoon some distance to the north of its current location. The mosquitos and humidity proved insufferable to its original setters, however, and after two years the town was moved. There was just one problem with the new location: a Mayan town, Zaci, was already located there. This turned out to be a far greater problem for the Maya, of course, than it was for the Spanish, who dismantled the buildings of Zaci and reused the stones to build the new Valladolid.
The sacking of Zaci was the beginning of a long and deeply troubled history between the local people and the newcomers. In 1546, the Mayas revolted and were brutally overcome by additional Spanish troops from the Yucatán provincial capital of Mérida. Some 300 years later, during the so-called War of the Castes, Maya rebels got their (temporary) revenge, driving government forces out of town and slaughtering half of them by ambush on their retreat to Mérida.
Nowadays, its hard to imagine all that strife. Though the intricacies of the Spanish colonial caste system elude us, the people on the streets and in the stores of Valladolid seem to reflect a happy, healthy mix of Mayas, criollos (people of mainly Spanish ancestry) and mestizos (those of mixed blood). The town they all share is relatively well-off thanks to a strong agricultural economy and a growing tourist trade. From the outside, at least, life here is looking pretty good.
In tribute to the harmonious spirit of modern Valladolid — or perhaps just because it sounds like a fun thing to do — we on the DEDON team decide to organize a parade on our very first afternoon in town. The idea is simple: With the help of our hardworking production team, we get together as many Volkswagen Beetles as we possibly can — in as many different colors — and cruise through town, honking horns and blaring music.
Though its origins are German, the Beetle is Mexico’s most iconic car. Production began here in 1967 and discontinued only in 2003, making Mexico the last country to keep the Beetle — known here as the Vocho — alive. As our parade makes clear, Beetles of Valladolid, most of them heavily customized, come in all sorts of eye-popping colors. What better symbol for unity in diversity?
The Vallisetanos seem to enjoy our parade. People come out of their houses and cheer us on as we weave through the backstreets. Kids follow us for kilometers. Even the local police who trail behind us, unsure whether or not to shut us down (in the end, they don’t), are having a good time. But no one’s loving it more than our producer, Christopher Schoenefeld, whose sitting on the window ledge of a chili-pepper green model, singing and shouting in his impressive Spanish. Chris has been on hundreds of productions for many of the world’s most prestigious brands, but I doubt he has ever been on one quite like this...Experience the DEDON Tour du Monde Webspecial