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The original world nomad "Real knowledge is to know the extent of one's ignorance." - Confucius.

Exhausted in Merida

MEXICO | Thursday, 17 December 1998 | Views [1154]

As we prepare to depart Central America we are exhausted. I'd forgotten just how tough travelling can be when you never get a day off and are always on the go. The last week has seen us do a flying visit to the archaeological sites of Yukatan: Tikal, Palenque, Uxmal and Chitchen Itza before heading back through the fantastic volcanic highlands that form the backbone of the Mayan region.

Though fascinating, we feel we have simply 'done the sites' without really getting to know the region. The ancient buildings, while impressive, belong to a dead culture, whereas the simple Mayan village markets you find everywhere are vibrant and alive.

Markets in all countries are simply wonderful. Merida's bustling eateries yielded delicious deep-fried fish, amongst a buzz of frenetic activity and a visual assault wherever you looked. Huge bunches of black glossy chillies. An old Chiapas Indian woman using an aerosol to repaint her live white flowers with red so presumably they would be more likely to sell. And the throbbing tortilla furnaces churning out the corn discs so that people can buy them by the kilo.

San Cristobal in the Chiapas region was an unexpected surprise. A charming, colourful, colonial highland town full of the regions Indian people. Having wasted most of yesterday trying to change our departure date so we could spend more time here, we ended up on the steps of the Cathedral as dusk gathered in, watching two scruffy, barefoot Mayan girls barely old enough to walk spreading out their wristbands, ceramics and figurines.

Tags: archaeology, markets, temples


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