We have arrived in Progreso where I hope to learn about the Mayans. I have signed up for an excursion called Mayan Ruins & Beach Break Combo. Here is the description:
Only 12 miles from Progreso, the archaeological site of Dzibilchaltún is one of the most important ceremonial centers of the Mayan world. This tour is ideal for those who want to explore a Mayan ruin and learn about the Mayan culture and history.
Then, enjoy some true Mexican relaxation on Corona Beach where you can sit back in a lounge chair under the small “palapas” in the sun or the shade. Enjoy the domestic open bar and sway to the gentle rhythms of tropical music. Included is a nice meal of fresh seafood and a Mexican specialty dish at the restaurant.
I won’t bore you with everything I learned about the Mayans. I know you all have computers and can Google them if you want to learn more. However, here are a few interesting things I did learn:
- No one really knows why the Mayan Empire met its end, but there are still some Mayan people left in the Yucatan peninsula where I visited. I actually met one. She is 85 years old and one of the very few people who still speak the Mayan language. Her picture is below.
- When the Spaniards invaded Mexico in the 17th century, their primary goal was to convert the Mayans to Catholicism. When they tore down a Mayan temple, they used the same building materials to build Catholic churches. You will see some of these churches in the pictures below. That sounds pretty cruel, but the Mayans did practice human sacrifice … so …..
- Contrary to popular belief, the Mayan calendar did not predict the end of the world in 2012.
- Mayan noblewomen filed their teeth into points.
- The Mayas were obsessive astronomers who kept very detailed records of the movements of the stars, sun, moon and planets. Their techniques were so advanced that they could actually predict such things as eclipses, equinoxes and solstices.
OK – Lecture over. Here are some pics of what is left of the Mayan structures:
AT THE BOTTOM:
AT THE TOP:
This picture is a little blurry. I think I was a little nervous standing close to the back edge. It was a long way down:
This is one of the few Mayan houses that still exists. The Mayans built their houses with two doors, one facing east and one facing west. The sun is in the east in the morning and in the west in the afternoon. They would always exit or enter whichever door was facing the sun so their shadow would be behind them. It was considered bad luck to step on your shadow.
This is the woman who lives in the house. She has no electricity and gets her water from a well in the back yard. The house is round in design so that, when both doors are open, the wind swirls around inside. That is Mayan air conditioning and was invented centuries ago. I tried to write down her name, but I couldn’t begin to spell it. It sounded something like “Henriariata.”
Here is one of the churches the Spanish missionaries built from materials from a Mayan temple they destroyed:
We were entertained by these two people. She danced with a tray of glasses filled with water and didn’t spill a drop:
They made me take off my cool hat inside the church:
After the tour of the Mayan ruins, we went to the beach for the promised meal of authentic Mexican food. I am not an expert on food. I pretty much like everything. People actually have to tell me when food is bad. Having said that, I will just say the food was delicious and they let you eat as much as you wanted. Here are some pics of the lunch and the very beautiful beach:
Having a bar on the beach with swings instead of chairs seems to be a Mexican thing. I’ve seen it before:
The beach was loaded with sea shells and we were allowed to collect as many as we could. Some people filled bags with the shells:
I elected to just take a picture (easier to carry):