My younger daughter Sara, who is a middle school teacher, also moonlights as a "balloon twister". That is, she is skilled at making hats, animals, and other such "sculptures" out of balloons.
The tourist hotels are on the east (shore) side of the Carretera Federal 307 highway that runs along the coast, as seen in the lower-right corner of the photo to the left. You can click on the photo to see a larger version, and then return with your "Back" button. That can be done for all the photos on this page.
One day, to meet some of the locals, we drove to the actual village of Akumal, on the west side of the highway. It's the rectangular block seen to the upper-left of the photo. Actually, that's a 2012 photo. It was a good deal smaller in 2007.
I started chatting in Spanish with a man who was hanging around, who immediately assumed that we gringos had turned the wrong way off the highway. He informed me that I really wanted to be on the other side of the road, where there were nice beaches and shops. On this side, he told me, there are only rats.
But then a few kids then appeared, and the man showed them the balloon hat. He pointed them in our direction, and Sara made them some more hats and some balloon animals. One of the kids ran off with her prize, and the next thing we knew, quite a few more kids materialized, from all directions. Sara made them balloon sculptures, while the rest of us took photos:
I gather that this "town" essentially houses all the people who work at the resorts on the other side of the road, as well as services to support them.
Indeed, I spent much of the time chatting with the proprietor of a nearby grocery store, in which a couple of men in the back of the room were mass-producing tortillas, apparently for use by local families (people came in from time to time to buy a few packages), and perhaps for tourist restaurants across the road. The men were using a large motorized machine with rollers that looked rather like an oversized pasta machine.
Meanwhile, a salesman was trying to sell a rather expensive computer program to a woman working in the store, to help her and her children learn English. She seemed unconvinced that it was worth the price.
Sara made a balloon "collar" for a local collarless street dog, who seemed unperturbed by it. It didn't last long, as the dog shortly walked by a nearby cactus, causing the balloon to explode with a loud pop. That didn't faze the dog either - he didn't seem to particularly react to the noise.
Eventually, there were probably about thirty or so children crowded around, along with a small number of parents. For the children, it was clearly an exciting break in an otherwise normal day.
Sara got pretty tired after about 45 minutes, and had to stop. There had not been enough time to twist balloons for all the kids, but those she hadn't gotten to were pretty gracious about it.
More pictures of the event are shown below. As usual, you can click on any picture to enlarge it, and return with your "Back" button.
The Spanish word for balloon is "globo", so I coined the word "globista" for Sara.
Click the next link to see Sara's balloon twisting web site, called Globe Twisting Balloons.