Another interesting event at the Vegetarian Festival was the Bladed Ladder Climb.
In this, the participants climb up (and back down) a ladder, the rungs of which are made of sharp blades (kind of like guillotine blades). The ladder has a total of about 35 steps, and they do this in bare feet. As with the guys in the procession, it is said that they are able to do this by going into a deep trance. I watched the workmen assembling the ladder before the event, and they were definitely sharp blades they were using - no trick there.
I get to this event more than an hour early to be sure I have a good spot for picture-taking. I am lined up in the first row in front of the barricades, when just minutes before the start of the event, I see the security guy allowing all the photographers (essentially, anyone with a camera) into the inner ring where the ladder is placed. So I immediately jump over the barricade and join them.
But no sooner do I focus my camera for the first shot, than the security dude comes running up to me, and escorts me back into the crowd, behind the barricades! He's explaining something to me but it's not in English, so I have no idea why he's doing this, especially since by now there are at least a couple dozen other photographers snapping away in the inner ring.
So, I end up not only being unable to take pictures inside the ring, but I have now also lost my prime spot at the front of the crowd, for which I've patiently waited for over an hour! I now end up at the back of the crowd, which is 6-7 layers deep, with no chance of squeezing back into the front. Probably sensing my irritation, the security guy comes running back to me with a chair, which he places at the back of the crowd (all of whom are standing, not sitting), and motions for me to sit down. In spite of my acute irritation at the state of events, I have to laugh at this apologetic gesture. If I sit in the chair I will have nothing but pictures of people's butts! I wave away the chair.
At this point, I still can't figure out why I got kicked out. Then, I see the same security man make another dash inside the ring, this time returning with another female photographer, who looks as bewildered as I was. I hear someone say to her: "Ladies, no!" and only then do I realize that all the photographers inside the ring are males.
Are they afraid that if we got too close, those powerful female pheromones would jolt the lads out of their trances??
Next time, I'm coming to this event in drag~