Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Favourite Photos: Yucatan, Mexico!

Poor Mexico, so far from God and so close to the United States.

~Porfirio Diaz

Maracas de Mexico! Ole!

I'm not a great fan of beaches, but I am a fan of art history.

I'm far too restless to partake in beach culture for a serious amount of time- one, two days max. So when I decided to visit Mexico a few summers ago, I went straight to the Yucatan to see the ruins.

It wasn't a long trip and I spent half of it with my friend Stephanie who would have loved nothing more than to lay on the beach, drink margaritas and look at hot Italian men frolicking in the waves for a few more days. But she was a good sport and came to a Chichenitza with me and I continued on on my own after that to, you guessed it, even more ruins.

I had a good time despite breaking out in a full body rash, which apparently was an allergic reaction to some sort of bacteria whipped up from the bottom of the ocean by the most recent hurricane. Who would have known I was allergic to something at the bottom of the Caribbean Sea?!??

Near the end of my trip I met a Mayan Indian Contemporary art gallery owner in a park and we talked about the portrayal of Mayan Civilization in society. He was of the mind that tourism was destroying Mexico and Mayan culture. I was of the mind Mexico was exploiting its own culture to attract tourists. I don't think either of us were wrong. The Mayans aren't dead, by the way. They are alive and well in the Yucatan. What did alarm me was the restoration of a lot of the ruins were obviously not restorations but renovations and reinventions to attract tourism. Keep it real, Mexico!

For instance- Check out this complex (Ek Balam) under restoration. See the trees growing out of it on the right? The clump of temple that has yet to be restored there in the bush? Roots destroy buildings pretty quickly.

Yet The restoration on the same building shows figures so detailed, there are even full sets of fingers. there is no way this relief could have survived this intact in the jungle of the Yucatan.

Thanks Mexicans, for being patient with my rusty Espanol and thanks Steph, for putting up with my Indiana Jones-ing! Next time I have the opportunity to visit Mexico, I would like to check out Oaxaca. A few faves from my mini trip to Mexico:

Rusty boats on the way out for a day of snorkelling.

Out for a stroll in Valladolid.

Mexican dippers in a cave outside Valladolid.
The water was icy cold, such a surprise for mid-summer Mexico!

I climbed to the top, But Steph was afraid of heights and stayed at the bottom. I admit, it was steeper than it looked! But the view from the top was pretty cool.

Strolling in Merida! I love big churches.
Sadly, this one was locked the whole time I was there and I never got a peek in.

Merida man giving my leather shoes the once over. I took a great video of him and his old friends chatting with me in Spanish and accidentally deleted it! I'll just have to go back, find him shining shoes in the town square in Merida and take another one.

Uxmal. I love the shape of this pyramid. Round and massive.
Does this give you an idea of how round and massive this structure is?

Iguana hanging out on a carved wall.

The beach in Tulum. This was a Sunday afternoon and I got the impression these people were having a church picnic on the beach.

Steph and I on the beach. She's really not that much taller than me! As I type this, my thoughts are with Stephanie as she is most likely in labour giving birth to a baby boy here in Canada, far far from Mexico, beer, beaches and Italian boys.

Congratulations Stephanie!



  1. Funny how things come in waves. A relative is now living in Mexico and friends just came back from a holiday there as did someone from work.
    Lovely photos. I'd love to see those ruins.

  2. Most of the ruins are in the Yucatan, and the farther away from Cancun you get, the better Mexico seems to be!