Updated: May 3, 2022
Today May 1, 2022, the sun rises on Tulum, the Maya called it Zama the city of the Dawn. Here in Tulum, I am sounding the call of the original distress signal MAYDAY.
Less than two days ago excavation for the Maya train route revealed a clay vessel associated Uylul aka “The Hearer.” It is my great privilege to bring awareness to the exploitation of the jungle and its Thousands of species and underwater caves which the Maya people hold sacred. Tulum was once thriving fishing village has been plagued with expediential growth. It is probably the fastest growing city in Mexico but cannot pretend to keep up the infrastructure needs required to curb this punctuated equilibrium.
All this development is destroying the oceans. I have personally seen the decline of one of the world’s great barrier reefs corals, this is largely due to the explosion of people just seeking glamour and debauchery in nature. I am calling out the worlds environmental groups to protect the natural legacy of this great people and the place they have called home for thousands of years.
The other rising splinter cell is something becoming more well known in recent years for travelers headed to Tulum. They are The Tuluminati. You guessed it; the title is a play on words. They are an underground hybrid of people from around the world looking to perpetuate nothing sacred yet nothing Americana.
You can spot them at just after dark on the main strip in the city or late night at the beach. Their garb, at least the men or masculine wearing the Komodo and reveling in irresponsible poly-amorous relationships. It’s possible that this hybrid was the original occupant of the wooden nests that have become so popular in the privileged twenty million other humans Instagram pages that visit Tulum every year.
The Tuluminati tops themselves with headgear reminiscent of Johnny Depp in the box office hit the Lone Ranger. I can’t say that these fellas don’t look fly with their silver arm bands, man buns and rattle snake pendants hanging from a black cord around the neck. But they have started to thin out a bit. By the time I noticed their fashion hitting the small retail shop in Cancun’s airports a few years ago they were already in steady decline.
It’s probably because now their trust funds and cash from trimming in Northern California’s cannabis market aren’t enough to flip the bill. Their successors are rich white women from America made up with more concealer and rouge than the pentagon’s foreign policy. They hang like ripe mangos from the arms of their husbands and boyfriends who flip the bill. Many of them are celebrities hailing from Los Angeles or Texas debutants cramming boho accommodations such as Azulik, Papaya Playa or Be Tulum. Here they up the ante with large tips that weren’t a part of Mexican culture till they started the bottle service at some of the bars powered by diesel generators twenty-four hours a day.
In the city itself up until a few weeks into April was plagued with Narcos slinging bags of coke and Mary jane until the government had seen enough violence. They sent in urban camouflage wearing, sub-machine gun toting soldiers. Here they are posted up in the bag of trucks next to bars like, The Batey Mojito and Guarupo bar to stop the crossfire of rival gangs from tagging a tourist.
The streets of the beach are chalked full of humans mimicking the Tuluminati.
But I say, “Would the real Tuluminati please stand up?”
Or are they too incognito to step from the shadows and make a difference.
Because in my many visits over the past decade where I write about the Maya culture, I haven’t seen one environmental call to action. If the Tuluminati does exist and they are fond of this place than they would understand the gravity. Better yet, the real environmental activists.
Even Ex-pat celebrity Rose McGowan lives in the tiny Pueblo of Coba’ some thirty kilometers from the beach. Where is the woman counterpart with their macramé boob curtains and feathered headbands? When style meets culture in nature and is mimicked globally than maybe, just maybe there’s some reparations owed to the indigenous culture who brought the tourism in the first place with their crafts based in the town of Francisco Uh Muy on the way to Coba.
Here are a list of some charities helping the naturalized Indigenous in Tulum.