So, getting chased, even getting hit (indeed, to properly greet a
mask, you bow to it three times, putting your hand on the part over
the head in what is nominally a gesture of respect but I suspect has
more to do with helping them not fall when they bow back, then allow
it to hit you), is all part of the fun. Usually.
But this year they were in a bad mood. They hit hard. They spent more
time chasing people than they did dancing, and they chased more
earnestly than usual, too. Some carried knives. It was a bad vibe.
They even hit a couple people hard enough to send them to the local
We still had fun, don't get me wrong. We went out the morning after
the masks arrived. There were a dozen or so, the number growing all
morning to about thirty by the time we left. Fun, but it was a lot
more intense than usual, and we were pretty much constantly on our
toes to avoid getting hit (with 67% success), not just from the ones
in the dancing circle but from the others arriving from all
directions. So I didn't get any good photos - I tried to take some on
the sly, but only from a healthy distance; I also arranged with one
guy to have one mask he knew meet us for a photo, but my friends were
tired of the heat and the tension at that point and didn't want to
wait. The guy was pretty mad when he found me later.
After my friends left, I went back out in the evening, not even
bothering to bring my camera this time (night shots are harder even
under good conditions; dust being kicked up from dancing and running
and constantly worrying when you'll have to run yourself are not good
conditions). By this time there were 40 or 50 out, and one chased me
hard enough that I lost a flip flop. (That would normally slow me down
on our rocky terrain, but not with that thing coming after me!)
Despite knowing there would be even more before the night ended, after
finding my shoe, I decided I'd had enough fun; by now it was full
night and visibility was low. I'd gotten both my adrenaline fix and my
exercise. What else do you need?