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.
This is a cool lit look of one of the hieroglyphic designs that lies in a tunnel under the great pyramid at Dzibilchaltun. I was fortunate enough to have met Yulians at one of the nursing schools in the area, and he took a couple of our group to the site this past weekend. I really enjoyed how this depiction shows the detailed and very individual look of the mayan art.
In the future days, which we seek to make secure, we look forward to a world founded upon four essential human freedoms.
The first is freedom of speech and expression — everywhere in the world.The second is freedom of every person to worship God in his own way everywhere in the world.
The third is freedom from want, which, translated into world terms, means economic understandings which will secure to every nation a healthy peacetime life for its inhabitants — everywhere in the world.
The fourth is freedom from fear, which, translated into world terms, means a world-wide reduction of armaments to such a point and in such a thorough fashion that no nation will be in a position to commit an act of physical aggression against any neighbor — anywhere in the world.
– United States President Franklin Delano Roosevelt in his 1941 state of the Union address
To start this morning off, I have a thought for you. “I will Survive” sung in spanish……. I do not know if this was as life changing for you, but it kinda blew my mind a little bit. Maybe you just had to be there.
Last night a group of us walked to the end of the Paseo de Montejo (the Champs Elysees of Merida) to view some of the festivities of the NOCHE MEXICANA music festival that the city hosts on saturday nights. I actually hadn’t known that this was going on, as our class has spent nearly every saturday away at some other fabulous location in the Yucatan peninsula. The first place we stopped on this musical route was at the Plaza Santa Lucia in downtown Merida. Here the city orchestra was laying down some fresh beats, so we stopped and listened for a while. After they finished I approached the director and thanked him for the music… he proceeded to have me thank the band before himself, and then said yes to a picture with him. He was actually pretty excited that we were studying in Merida and he pointed out some of the better concerts that occur on a weekly basis. What a cool cat (pictures to come)!
In terms of actual work, our group will be spread out across various locations for the next week interning in these locations for the benefit of our health care experience and an enhanced understanding of the Mexican healthcare system. I myself am going to be interning with one part or another of the nursing staff at the Public (seguro popular which basically means universal coverage) hospital called the H’Oran in downtown Merida. We actually spend two weeks doing this, and both I and a friend will be living in the village of Dzoncauich during the second week to study in the clinic located in the village (also a seguro popular clinic). My hope is that my spanish becomes much more enhanced during my time there and actually I hope to learn bit of Mayan too. If any of you were wondering, the title for today is indeed written in Mayan and it means “good morning”.
In regards to my spanish, I feel as though my ability to speak is definitely getting better. Although at times my comprehension very badly lags. This has a lot to do with speaking speed and the accent of the speaker. For example, I spoke with a nine-year old boy at the Zoo yesterday whose name was Jorge. He spoke a million miles an hour and rarely paused to take a breath. However, I surprised myself and was able to get the main ideas out of the conversation, and a few pieces of my own experience and knowledge to the conversation. We had fun talking about Aikido and salsa dancing, of all things, for a good 15 minutes while we waited for the safari wagon to pick us up.
Pictures will definitely come from the zoo at some point today. I actually saw my first, real giraffe (jirafa in espanol), wildebeast, water buffalo (pronounced boofalo en espanol – really cute when a bunch of three year olds are screaming at their parents to look at the Boofalo) and so many other animals. This is actually one of two zoos in Merida and I will be attempting to visit the second during one of my “free” afternoons this week. The other half of the central college group went there yesterday and said it was really cool! Anyway, digress…
As my time here passes, sometimes far faster than I could have imagined, I get into a bunch of philosophical tangles about the world and the meshing of culture. I know, very cliche. However, it does not help that the focus of my work here is the incredible gap of income inequality and all of its effects throughout this area of Mexico and the world as a whole. This topic actually came up very recently for myself, although our health coordinator Erick Diaz spoke about the massive inequality when we arrived, as I began to narrow the subject down for a final project in one of my classes. As I looked further and further into the past and present research of global income inequality I began to realize how much this universal problem links links culture. The goal of my career is to build cohesive relationships between people, groups, and maybe even countries someday, and to complete this massive action I have been reaching out to find a really great common line to link vastly diverse cultures. The other night I had the great fortune to speak with an incredible scholar that is living here in Merida, his name is Charles Pigott and he is here to study culture and the Mayan language. I mentioned my work in community structure and societal cohesion and he gave my some inspiration based on a challenge. We spoke about how the perception of change constitutes the hindering factor in the equation of global progression. Although this may sound like a conundrum, think about it – in general people will dig in their heels about something “new” or “untraditional”. To be fair, there is not a single one of us who has not had a thought against change and I feel as though it is as much a part of humanity as each individual having on heart is.
So how to we solve this conundrum of educating and implementing change within the global population. I mean I have no idea, but my best lead is to learn as much as I can about various populations across the globe. I want to become as much a part of these cultures as possible to instill that sense of belonging and trust so when it comes time where and implementation is necessary, that action will be possible. This building of trans-cultural knowledge and experience is an enormous part of our education system today, and I hope that it yields the ability to complete some of this process. I know that I am not even close to alone with the desire to see and learn about the world. I feel as though each of us has that internal desire to know and do more.
With that in mind I bid ado for a couple days. I have some more writing and photos to catch up on and more than enough exploring to do across the city and beyond. Until the next time
Here is a shot of a relief portrait of a jaguar. This creature is one of the species native to the jungles of the Yucatan peninsula and was very important to religion of the Mayan people. Portraits of this predator are depicted in a couple places in Chichen Itza, and this one was a part of a large piece of stonework that had 10 more reliefs along its length.
This is one of the Toltec styled pyramids located near the observatory in Chichen Itza. The really intricate stonework depicts long, feathered serpents running down the staircase of the building. This is actually the style of the great pyramid located in the middle of the city as well.
This is a photo of another of the structures within the more mayan styled sections of Chichen Itza. I believe that this building was used for ceremonies however I can’t exactly recall what I read. This structure is one of the more intact in the area and a large number of iguanas really enjoyed its wide exposure to the sun. Strangely enough there is also a ball-court looking space next to this building. Although, this is much smaller than even the regular size courts that we saw at Uxmal.
Here is a picture of the temple of the dark writing. No one actually knows what this building was designed to do within Chichen Itza. However, it is speculated that a member of the high class or a priest resided within this fairly large building.