When we lived in the United States we typically celebrated birthdays the same way each year. A gathering with family, maybe dinner or happy hour with friends, some cards, some gifts and some dessert (key lime pie for me please!). All delightful, and they are traditions that I miss. But one of the unexpected, fun benefits of moving abroad is that out of sheer necessity we’ve been able to get a bit more creative with how we celebrate. I mean, it’s not like we’ve got any friends or family to party with, we have a finite amount of space in our car so no gift-giving and good key lime pie is incredibly difficult to find around here. Not knowing where in the world we’ll be on future birthdays makes it even more of a challenge, but one that we have gladly accepted. It opens up a world of possibilities on how we can make a day special and means one year I’m in Isla Mujeres and swimming with whale sharks and the next year I’m as remote as can be in Xcalak and snorkeling off a deserted beach. The opportunities to do something unique are endless.

This year we found ourselves in Baca for my birthday, close to the major metropolitan city of Merida, which means we had a chance to go in a different direction and seek out a cultural, artistic experience. And this year? Well, this is the year things got weird. There happened to be a Cirque du Soleil Corteo show traveling through Merida which was ending it’s run on my birthday. A sign? Yes, indeed. Never been to a Cirque show, always wanted to go, and it happens that there is one here in Mexico right down the road. Are you kidding me? So we decided to splurge (big time splurge) on tickets, dug out our best clothes (best meaning no gecko pee, no holes, no sweat stains – birthdays aren’t the only thing that has changed, apparently my cleanliness standards have as well) and headed out. Well almost, we had to figure out how to buy the tickets first. The online store wasn’t working and so we had to find an official ticket seller. And we did.

Where we had to go to buy our tickets.
This is where we had to go to buy our tickets. And  coincidentally, about the time I started to wonder what kind of show we were going to see.

To be clear, Very Sexy is not the store’s slogan, that’s the name of the store. I’ve seen it several different places so it’s a chain! Jason very much enjoyed our wait time here. But finally, tickets got purchased and off we went.

Okay, looks pretty normal from the outside.
Okay, looks pretty normal from the outside, nothing weird so far.

 

Corteo Stage
We had great seats and the stage setup was stunning.

 

Deidre at Cirque du Soleil
Enjoying a pre-show birthday cocktail and the air conditioning. I really had no idea what I was about to experience.

The show was called Cirque du Soleil Corteo, I think it was about a clown getting his clown wings in heaven. Jason thinks I’m making that up because he got none of that from the show. He doesn’t even think there was a clown in the show. What I do know is that the whole thing started off with some amazing acrobatics and gymnastics that literally made our jaws drop. It’s hard to go see a play or go to the theater here – again with the language barrier – but I thought that most Cirque du Soleil shows don’t have much dialogue and we’d enjoy it. And for the most part I was right, but there was more dialogue than I thought which, if we had been able to understand all of it versus just some of it,  might have helped explain some of the things we were watching. Then again, maybe not since Cirque du Soleil is pretty weird in any language.

 

Cirque du Soleiul Corteo
My mom never let me jump on a bed like this. Probably because I would have broken a bone. Or the bed. Probably both.

 

Cirque du Soleil Corteo
They started throwing people back and forth. Because, of course. How do you even train for that?

 

Cirque du Soleil Corteo
I got dizzy just watching them spin round and round and round and round.

 

Corteo Cirque du Soleil
All the sudden some midgets came out (is this the proper term? is it little people? I’m truly asking, I don’t know) and started doing some stunts. I don’t know why. This is about when things started to get really weird.

 

Balloons at Corteo Cirque du Soleil
Then they attached one of the little people to a bunch of balloons and pushed her out over the audience who then were responsible for keeping her afloat. I mean….

 

Acrobatics at Cirque du Soleil
Whatever. Jason and I do this all the time at home.

 

Juggling at Cirque du Soleil Show
Juggling too. We’re multi-talented like that (we also have been known to over-exaggerate).

 

Air Bicycle at Cirque du Soleiul
I mean I’ve heard of air guitar, but air bicycle? I think the clown finally got his clown wings and was going to clown heaven.

 

Cirque du Soleiul Merida
It’s over. Everyone take a bow. And for the love of god, someone please explain to me what I just watched.

There was also a guy who whistled a lot, a golf scene that included a girl’s head as a golf ball and someone who made music with glasses of water. I didn’t understand any of it. But I loved every minute of it. The show was awesome, I really enjoyed it and there were some awe-inspiring acts, but really, it was weird. So I have to ask, are all Circue du Soleil shows this weird and trippy or does Mexico just bring out the extra weird? I guess it doesn’t matter. We left Cirque du Soleil Corteo laughing, shaking our head and talking about the amazing physical feats we had just witnessed. What an experience, what a great gift, what a great way to celebrate another trip around the sun. I never could have imagined this is where I’d be on my birthday last year, and I have no idea where we’ll be next year on this date, but I really can’t wait to find out.