Sunday, January 13, 2008

T-Shirts and Mayan Ruins

High Priest's Grave

Seven is everywhere in the ruins at Chichen Itza, our Mayan tour guide Santos Yah tells us. Now toward the end of our tour, we stand in front of the High Priest's Grave. Santos counts the step-pyramid temple's stone walls, "One, two, three, four, five…seven walls. When it was explored, 1993, 1997, that's how we know, it's a tomb. In the tomb was found skeletons. Do you have an idea how many skeletons?"

People murmur. An American man's confident voice raises above others: "Seven thousand!"

"Seven," says Santos.

A Mexican T-Shirt

Bob went running early in the morning outside of our Cancun hotel, as he did daily at home. A Mexican man in his thirties ran ahead of Bob. The man wore a T-shirt with text around an airplane, like this:

Bob, who learned enough Spanish in his youth when he bicycled through Latin America jungles, described the T-shirt to me afterward and said the text translated as "Authorized Terrorist." Then he commented, "People apparently are more relaxed about these things in Mexico."


jessica lipnack said...

I spent a summer in the Yucatan when I was about to graduate from college, "studying" Mayan philosophy, which was a bit of a joke in 1969 (my studying there, I mean, not the topic). Chichen Itza was in the middle of the jungle, only one small road that went to it, and no touristy things when you got there, never mind a guide. I clearly remember the cenotes and climbing the 360? (some number like that) steps to the top of one of the structures, very steep steps.

There may have been an island named "Cancun" but no "Cancun" as it's known today. We went to Isla Mujeres.

Xujun Eberlein said...

Hey, you must have seen a more "real" Chichen Itza! It sounds very different from now. No climbing is allowed on the steep steps any more after a falling death in 2006.