Monday, November 17, 2014

Mexican Marvels

Do you remember when everyone was saying that the world was going to end in 2012? Movies came out about the end of time, and it was all based on the end of the Mayan Calendar. It's amazing how the internet and media can totally make up stories and people actually believe them and base their lives on them! I know because I was one of them.

Well, I traveled to Mexico this summer. I wanted to see the famous Chichen Itza, one of the new wonders of the world. I wanted to get the real story. I mean, the world didn't end, so... what was 2012 all about?

I was definitely in for a surprise. It's funny how we think we are "informed" and "knowledgeable" because we read things on the internet, and we just take them in as truth without question. One thing I learned from this trip, and from other experiences this past year, is that we really need to be more skeptical to what we see and hear. I was under the impression that the Mayas were a people of ancient Mexico who were really advanced and smart that disappeared off the face of the earth mysteriously. I really believed that!

Well, turns out the Mayans were really smart and amazing mathematicians, but they didn't disappear! They are still alive and kicking in Mexico. I saw them with my own eyes. I heard them speak their native tongue. This was such a shocker for me!

Pyramid at Chichen Itza
The Mayans, just like so many other ancient cultures, were obsessed with the stars. How could they not be? I mean, can you imagine living in a world where you look up at night and see balls of light, moving through they sky, sometimes shooting across the sky, and not knowing what they are? These people studied the heavens and were able to create a calendar based on their observations. But just as anything, everything that has a beginning has an end. Their calendar is a cycle, and December 21, 2012 was the end of that extremely long cycle. 5,126 year cycle, to be exact.

Fortunately, none of the negative predictions for this date came true. The world didn't end, the earth did not collide with anything, there were no major catastrophes. Instead, for the Mayan people, it was a day of celebration and festivities were held to commemorate the date in places all over Central America.

Mexican culture has many traditions that we were able to witness in some of the towns. Women danced with all kinds of objects on their heads in a local restaurant, and we even saw a "Quincea├▒era" getting ready to celebrate her 15th birthday at a church in the town. This is probably what I love most about traveling; seeing and experiencing different cultures and traditions. It really opens your eyes to the rest of the world.

Mexico was great, and if you haven't been, you should definitely take the time to visit when you can. Take some time to learn about the history behind the Mayan Civilization, eat the delicious food that they have to offer... and especially try the "marquesitas" which are like crepes rolled up and filled with cheese or chocolate or nutella, or whatever your heart desires! Truly delicious!

Happy Travels, my friends!