Tag archives for Mexico Trip

So, were the Maya right? Is the world going to end this year? I have spent the last three weeks in Mexico searching for an answer to this question. My quest for the truth has brought me to the birthplace of the brilliant Maya Calendar, into the tomb of the Palenque Astronaut, to the site…

Death Ball

“Let’s play death ball!” Such was the enthusiastic invitation of my 7-year old nephew, who pulled me with one hand out into the backyard to engage in this very strange and ominous game. Already, my other nephews and niece were busy tossing every kind of ball into the fenced-in trampoline: nerf footballs, beach balls, basketballs,…

Like Mexican cooking, Mexican culture is based on mixing two contrasting flavors: Lime and chili, Maya and Catholic. Nowhere is that blend more evident than the golden city of Izamal, in northern Yucatán. I drove through Izamal on my way to Chichén Itzá but ended up parking my car and spending the rest of the day…

Real Tacos

Once you’ve had a real taco, it’s hard to go back. The tacos in Mexico just taste better. Perhaps that’s because Mexicans have been making them a lot longer than anyone else. Although I’ve spent most of my life eating American-style tacos that left me very content, my journey through Mexico (with its many tacos)…

12.19.19.3.2; 10 Kayab 5 Ik; 297 days left . . .  I’ve heard a lot of bad excuses from hotel receptionists, but up until now, nobody’s ever tried blaming weak Internet on a UNESCO World Heritage site. “It’s the pyramid’s fault,” is what they told me at the front desk. I tried hard not to…

Underworld

I entered the Tarantula’s Mouth just like a spider, dangling from a long white thread of nylon rope, with my arms and legs stretched out, hoping to catch something solid and real. But there was nothing. Only the black void of an empty hole and a dozens of tiny, translucent bees orbiting my head—“Mayan bees”…

Uxmal: Rain God

12.19.19.2.19; 7 Kayab 2 Cauac; 300 days left . . . Would you vote for someone if they could make it rain? The ancient Maya would. Just when I started to think I was beginning to understand the amazing Maya and their mighty cities and dazzling architecture, I had to come to Uxmal (oosh-mahl) and…

Edzna: Sun God

12.19.19.2.17; 5 Kayab 13 Caban; 302 days left . . . For a minute I felt very special and rather lucky. The sign at the entrance insisted that I not miss the spectacular laser light show playing that night, illuminating the ruins of Ednza into a Star Wars-like spectacle of colored light beams, flashing bulbs,…

I love discovering new food, which is one of the great things about travel—if you do it right, it opens you up to all kinds of strange flavors you would never have known existed. No matter how many times I’d traveled to Mexico before, I had never heard of sikil pak until I came to…

Clearly the Maya had smaller feet than my size 13 clodhoppers. Climbing to the top of the temples at Calakmul requires a lot of sidestepping and deep breathing, but it’s definitely worth the effort. My desire for Maya “cosmovision” took me deep into the jungle, to UNESCO World Heritage site of Calakmul, an ancient Maya…

Pomoná: Solitude

I like going where nobody else goes. It’s not that I don’t like people. It’s just that I live next to about four million of them at home—so it’s nice to pull away from the crowds when I travel. Parts of Mexico are the most crowded places on Earth—and parts of Mexico are so empty…

12.19.19.2.11; 19 Pax 7 Chuen; 308 days left . . .  What works in the movies does not work in real life. Tom Hanks and Nicholas Cage make breaking into museums look remarkably easy—all you need is a good shadow to hide behind and a loyal geek friend who can remotely manipulate alarm systems from…

12.19.19.2.10; 18 Pax 6 Oc; 309 days left . . .  All good rumors start with a whisper of truth. Discovering that truth is the gift that travel brings, because nothing compares to gaining knowledge first hand, on site. So far, my journey through Mexico has taken me to the place where the Maya calendar…

There is no such thing as a kissing bird. Although for a few seconds in the park at Villahermosa, I was convinced there just might be. Walking under the towering palm trees, I was surrounded by an outlandish chorus of tropical birdsong. Among the chirps and whistles and cackles and hoots, I heard the very…

Palenque: New Age

12.19.19.2.8; 16 Pax 4 Lamat Just like actual travel, online exploration can take you to some of the strangest corners of the internet. How is it that within two or three clicks of merely Googling the Mesoamerican ruins of Palenque, I am suddenly reading about extraterrestrial invasions? You know—those vicious aliens who infiltrated the Maya…

12.19.19.2.5; 13 Pax 1 Chicchan; 314 days left If you want to crack a code, start with the letter “A”. Thus I began my investigation of the Mayan calendar by traveling back to the ancient site of Izapa—a place “where time began” (according to Dartmouth geographer Vincent H. Malmström). It might have taken me a…

12.19.19.2.4 This is not my computer’s IP address. It is actually today’s date. Your phone might tell you that today is February 9th 2012. But it is also baktun twelve, katun nineteen, tun nineteen, uinal two and kin four . . . according to the Mayan long form calendar. Excuse me while I pull out…