March 8, 2015
For those following “FindmeSpot” at:
it’s pretty obvious that Serafina has not moved for 8 days. It’s because we’ve been doing what we’ve always wanted to do – not rushing from place to place, but absorbing some new experiences along the way.
Thanks to our friends Bill and Paty, their daughter Lisa and her husband Quetzal, we were able to spend three wonderful days in Tulum, complete with extraordinary food and excellent liquid refreshment.
Last Thursday Bill drove us to the big complex of Mayan ruins in Coba. We explored, climbed to the top of a very tall, very steep pyramid (Birgit skipped the climb on grounds of her acrophobia), then later went for a swim in a cenote – a wonderful deep limestone cave filled with cool, clear water teeming with fish. Bats flew overhead and big freshwater turtles paddled around close to us.
The meals were fabulous, often in little places on side streets. Lisa and Quetzal, who live in Tulum, seem to know everyone in town, including the gay Mayan leader of the local ejido (a native land cooperative). Thursday night we ended up at a bar on the beach – right on the beach – drinking margaritas until 1:00am. Yesterday morning Birgit and I took a hungover hike around the more famous (and beautiful) seaside ruins in Tulum.
I don’t know about you, but in my early public school years I often heard about the “mystery” of “what happened to the Mayans?” With the results of modern archeology, and the exercise of a little interest in history, it’s pretty clear that much the same thing happened to the Mayans as happened in the US to the buffalo and the Cherokee. True, some of the major Mayan cities were abandoned prior to the arrival of the Spanish, but in general native urban centers seemed to shift around due to changes in rainfall patterns, exhaustion of arable land, and political factors. The rise and fall of various city states had happened many times over the nearly 2,000 years of Mayan civilization.
But the fact is that there was a vibrant Mayan civilization at the time the Conquistadores arrived. Smallpox, measles, and swords, and later, plenty of guns, pushed the Mayans towards collapse, although attempts to remain free of first Spain and then Mexico continued into the “Caste War” from 1847 to 1900, when organized, armed Mayan resistance was finally crushed.
But the Mayans themselves are still here. Lisa pointed out that the language spoken in restaurant kitchens was Mayan, as is also true in the ejidos, farm fields and forests. Not that there aren’t lots of others here – from non-Mayan Mexicans to North Americans and Europeans buying up real state, or dropping out and living in tents, or being herded around in “all-included” package tours. It’s a beautiful and fascinating area – well worth a visit.
Two bits of news: our friends Luis and Janice are flying down from Seattle to meet us here and join us on next sail. We’ll be glad to have them on the boat again – and it’s a happy coincidence that they will be able to bring down a replacement autopilot with them, along with some other essentials, like Oberto beef jerky…
The second thing is that we have decided to join a “rally” as part of the Atlantic crossing. Check it out:
Neither Birgit nor I have felt like we needed or wanted to travel in a crowd of cruising boaters – but in the case of our first Atlantic crossing, it makes some sense. The group will have good weather resources, and potential support in the event of mechanical or other problems. Once we are veterans we can go back to our solitary ways.
We’ll be leaving Mexico on Thursday (March 12) and communication will be largely non-existent until we get to Key West, Florida.