Some lessons you have to learn the hard way.
Such was the case for a Polish tourist in Mexico, who was confronted by a group of angry people after he decided to take off his shoes and climb the sacred temple of Kukulkan last weekend.
The incident happened at the Chichén Itzá archaeological site on Mexico’s Yucatan Peninsula — a popular site for tourists — and was captured on video, which subsequently went viral on social media.
“Are you stupid?” an onlooker can be heard shouting at the tourist.
Daniel Fretwell, the man who recorded the video and posted it on Jan. 29, told Storyful that he began filming when he noticed the man running up to the pyramid.
“I could hear and see maybe 30 or 40 people shouting ‘no, no come down, don’t do it, no.’ People were whistling trying to draw the man’s attention that he was doing wrong,” Fretwell told Storyful.
Security guards climbed up the pyramid’s ancient steps to retrieve the tourist, and as they brought him back to the ground, the man was surrounded by angry onlookers, one of whom whacked him on the head with a long stick and another who punched him.
Trespassers who try to climb the monuments at the UNESCO heritage site can face fines into the thousands, but a spokesperson from the Mexican National Institute of Anthropology and History (INAH) told the Mexican Daily Post that this particular tourist was slapped with a fine of 5,000 pesos (CA$353).
“Tourists must respect the security measures of the INAH in the archeological zone to preserve the cultural heritage of Mexico, take care of other visitors and enjoy that Mayan legacy,” said INAH director José Arturo Chab Cárdenas.
It’s certainly not the first time tourists have disrespected the local law and climbed Kukulkan.
Last November, a woman was recorded climbing the pyramid and even went so far as to dance at the top. As she descended with security guards, an angry mob surrounded her, with one person throwing a water bottle in her direction.
Climbing the pyramid has been banned since 2008 amid preservation concerns, and the Congress of the United Mexican States established hefty fines for such acts in The Federal Law on Monuments and Archaeological, Artistic and Historical Areas.