Here I am… with one week to go in Mexico. The fact that this trip went by so fast kind of scares me. Actually whats even more scary is the fact that I graduated from high school a year ago today. Rest assured, this is not a statement of OH IM GETTING OLD!, its a mentioning of the fact that time goes by whether you realize it or not. There is nothing that you can do to stop it, or slow it down… besides maybe watching grass grow. So what do we do about this great depressing passage of time? We enjoy it!
I think that the thing that people leave out of their lives most is happiness and a general appreciation for the time they have with the people and the place around them. This is not just a personal statement, really other people notice this too. My question for the world at this moment is… why would you do something you really do not like to do? Is it that you are being responsible? Maybe its time for a change for a lot of people. This trip has thus far taught me a lot of things (and reenforced others), but the thing I have really enjoyed is the fact that humans are humans and despite our differences physically and culturally, in the end none of that matters. This sounds like something out of a Hallmark card, but its true.
To catch up on my story briefly… I have kinda bummed around this week – which has been nice. I woke every day to get to the hospital at 7 (just like at home) scrubbed up, and headed into the pediatric ICU to observe for a good five hours. Then, I returned, ate some lunch and took a lot of time to read. The group definitely feels the trip winding down… and there have been a few strange disagreements along the way. Regardless, I have spent my final Saturday in Merida getting to explore some more of the mercado, packing all of my stuff up, and writing/reading/researching. Tomorrow I think that I will take one last beach trip and monday I get to start on another amazing journey. I leave at 6am to go to the village clinic where I will be living/ working/ studying until friday afternoon. In some ways this seems like such a schedule, but in others my days have blended in the hustle and bustle of each and every moment of free time. I have definitely enjoyed the break in the “work”.
I have finished the cook book, bought the gifts, learned some of the language, and am now taking the time to write some solid comparisons between this country and my own. Scarily enough, I am already looking ahead to next summer’s trip – to where god only knows. In some ways I would not mind returning here, not to this program (god no), but to an institution where I could fully appreciate spanish and maybe even Mayan language and culture. This experience has been amazing to be sure, but it wasn’t as I believed it would be. In conclusion, I return in a WEEK! I am excited about this sentiment, but even more so with the work that is to come in this next week.
Ok so a quick note on this cenote within Dzibilchaltun… its awesome! The pool itself is about 20-30 meters across and when we asked one of the men swimming in the cenote, he mentioned that it was about 30 meters. We were not actually sure if this was the correct depth, however you could not see the bottom. I really enjoyed the lily pads that grow throughout the center of the pool. Their beauty only grows as you watch the stems go deeper and deeper into the water. Each 1.5 feet or so there is another layer of leaves. There were actually a lot of fish swimming around, and their bright and colorful bodies would could often be caught as a flash out of the corner of the eye while swimming. There were a ton of people swimming in the cenote that day seeing as it was EXTREMELY toasty out. This just made for a better experience, jumping, swimming, and playing.
This building was classified by the archeological site description board as edifice 37 (or was it 38?) regardless this is a great representation of the mayan architecture at the site. This building was located not very far from the cenote itself.
Haha, this is the description that our friend Yulians gave us as we toured the Dzibilchaltun ruins. This may just have been the foundation for a room, or it may very well have been some kind of pool or water holding room. Who know? Regardless, this room is located on the back of one of the pyramid structures that makes up the central square in this ancient city.
This is the sakbe running from the great temple/ inglesia region of Dzibilchaltun to the temple of the seven dolls about .5 km away. All of the sakes of the Yucatan show a flat, nearly straight design that allows for quick and easy travel between point A and point B. Another great example of this design is seen in my pictures of the market along the paths of Chichen Itza. There is a great sakbe located there that runs from the great pyramid to the grand cenote on the far end of the city. I found these to be marvels of design as well, seeing as the roads are nearly flat and without major faults. How were they carved through the dense jungle of the Yucatan with the tools at hand? Who will ever know?
This is actually one of the standing spanish pieces of the archeological site, and it represents the direct force and influence that the conquistadors finally developed within the mayan population. The Yucatan was actually the last area of Mexico to be conquered, this was due to its nigh impenetrable gulf coast and its incredibly dense interior jungle. When these conquistadors finally did reach the main bulk of the mayan population, they quickly realized that these people did not have an enormous wealth in gold and jewels as they had desired from them. So instead, the spanish enslaved them through various means to eventually work the haciendas and other agricultural operations that would bring the Yucatan fame within the world of commerce.
Here is the temple of the seven dolls at the site of Dzibilchaltun. This edifice lies at the end of the great Sakbe that runs through the center of Merida. This temple is named as such because when it was “discovered” seven crudely shaped doll statues were found within the rubble on the interior of the structure. On the exterior, detailed designs of the rain god, Chaac, are seen built into the upper section of the building. Located around this area are several buildings that held purification ceremonies for the participants of the ceremonies that took place within this temple. We were told that it was based on a steam bath design that would cleanse body and spirit before worship.
Here is my friend Yulians looking down at us walking through the tunnel. He just graduated from the IMSS school of nursing here in Merida where I met him during a short convivencia last week.
For some reason the people of Dzibilchaltun really enjoyed these monoliths, and I stopped to wonder about the purpose of these stone pillars. Examples such as these can be seen all over the site, but most especially around the great sakbe or road, that runs to the temple of the seven dolls.
Here is another look at the designs that are within the tunnel under the great pyramid. The tunnel was lit through a hole in the roof of the building that we hopped down through. The tunnel led out from under the pyramid and had a couple of these designs along the length. This example actually has a bunch of the hieroglyphic written language along the bottom of the stone wall. Due to the quality of the image you can only make out a small general portion of the art.