Humbling experience of Mexican ruins
I just returned from Mexico, a country I had never had the opportunity to travel to before. It was lovely. Of course, most of my reason for being there was to suck up the sun, sand and sea and escape the shivers of winters on the east coast of NC. So although this area of eastern NC does not get as much snow, ice and cold as many other areas of the country, it was still great to get away for a bit.
I watched the art of bartering (or as I was teased because of my accent, ‘bahtering.’ But alas, I am not successful at this practice unless buying a vehicle.) So although I did purchase some things slightly cheaper than the original asking price, I paid a good amount for most of the things purchased. And it didn’t bother me; you see, the outskirts of these resorts had shacks and shantys and there was a sense, almost a smell, of poverty, and just eeking out a living. So I had no disappointment that I was spending more on a trinket than the next person who beat the price to only a very few pesos.
Mostly, the poverty, although very visible, was not discussed as we traveled through the countryside on our way to see Chichen Itza and the Mayan ruins; there was only a quick agreement it was there and sad when it was mentioned. But I had an uncomfortable feeling seeing the poverty. How do your raise children to have hope, to believe in a future when your surroundings look hard, dry, barren, and as though some of the buildings have not protection from rain or the elements?
Once we reached the Mayan ruins, the woes of others’ poverty deserted me. Instead I was chastened.
How humbled and overcome I felt staring at the Mayan ruins, at the temple, the ball court, the old market place and all the rest. How had these people accomplished this 3000 years ago? No cranes to lift stones into place, no bulldozers to haul stone or other material from one area to another. There was nothing but brilliant, God-given minds, and the brute strength of these people to produce this lovely area, so very precisely. How incredibly ingenious these people were! I felt so respectful to be there standing and looking over the area, seeing the brilliance of the minds who created these buildings and cities.
This building was believed to be one of the Mayan worship centers and based on their Mayan calendar which centuries before Christ, they developed a calendar of 365 days. On the outside of this building, the worship center, there are 91 steps going up each of the four sides, (364) with one step going up to the entrance to all four doors at the top which allows one to enter the building.( yes, 365!) Each step to represent the days of the year. (Tours ended in early spring 2007 so no one is allowed to see that last step or climb the 91 steps now). But the precision, exactness and the incredible minds which constructed this and commanded it built by slaves was awe-inspiring. How? It was my repetitive question throughout the day. . . . .Because God gifted someone. . .thus we have the incredible wonders of the world we have.
Back at the resorts, the folks who work thereorts all seem friendly, warm, outgoing, and eager to make one’s stay comfortable, pleasant, and they are all accommodating, and try to be friendly, frequently joking and chatting. Obviously, some speak English better than others, but all try, and all seem to appreciate when you greet them, wish them a good day, and thank them in their language. So I tried to use it each time I sought their assistance.
Most days we lounged at the beach, sampling the drink of the day, soaking up sun, and watching the different vendors walk up and down the beach, back and forth, trying to entice someone to purchase their wares—handmade thread bracelets, purses, little kitschy toys of animals with heads bobbling about, or the cigar seller, or the silver jewelry hawker, and of course, the beach side waiter/waitress. They were all hardworking, pleasant people.
Maybe you also are thinking, ‘yeah, but it’s on the beach of Mexico, man. How hard can that be?’ I’d agree that maybe these people have a better more hopeful life than the farmer who owns his property, but it is a hard ground which is not very easy to dig and plant. And at least at this point of time it is dry. I admire a people who can go out day after day and week after week, and so on, when the results still look as though there is little income for them to go off and vacation and enjoy time with family and friends. I hope that’s not true.
But it certainly made it harder for me to barter. Or as my friends would giggle, ‘hahder for me to bahter.’ (They all think I have problems with the letter ‘r’).
But it was a vacation I will always remember and appreciate. So thank you, God, for the fact I had funds to go, friends to go and stay with, and an appreciation of all sorts of things I don’t get to normally see. Below are some examples of the blessings I saw.
these are Mayan men who spin around this pole about 60 feet tall. Made me queasy just watching them climb. This was in the shopping district of Playa del Carmen.
These are some of the blackbirds that chattered and flew about outside my hotel room, but were brazen, and if I left a chair and entered the room, leaving the door open, they flew right to the porch, landing on the chair, inquisitive about my movements inside the room. After the first time, I was diligent about making sure my door was closed. It was a great trip, and I’d return in a minute!
So, if you’ve blessings or things you would like to share about your trip to Mexico, I’d love to hear (read) about them.