By Sara Moses
Over New Years’ week at the start of 2016, I hosted a wonderful group of gentlemen on a fascinating and colorful tour in Mexico. We visited Quintana Roo and Yucatan, the country’s eastern-most states, to see some of the best-known ruins of Mayan civilization.
But first, we relaxed at an all-inclusive resort on the coast.
A few of us borrowed bikes and headed down the path to check out the neighborhood. We admired an exotic mural.
Our first group excursion was a morning visit to Tulum, situated on a cliff of the rocky Caribbean coast.
I loved this man carved on the corner of a structure.
After our tour, we saw these performers playing music while spinning around this pole, high in the air.
The next day, we headed south to a tiny Mayan village, where the local people are working to preserve and showcase their heritage. We learned about one of the historically significant crops in the region: henequen (sisal), with lessons on how to extract it by scraping the stalks between two pieces of wood.
In the photos below, from left to right, are the village elder who showed us how to make rope from the sisal, a younger representative who spoke a Mayan dialect and Spanish, and our guide Francisco, who speaks Spanish, English and a few Mayan dialects. The interplay of languages was beautiful to hear!
We enjoyed a lunch of Yucatecan tamales (steamed in banana leaves), fresh watermelon juice, and perhaps the hottest habanero salsa I have ever eaten. It was divine.
The Tihosuco Caste War Museum focused on the impacts of colonialism, slavery and, in particular, Mayan rebellions and uprisings. Just up the road was this shell of a Catholic church that has been damaged like this for many years, and yet still serves as a place of worship.
We arrived in Valladolid in the afternoon. JP and I crossed the plaza for a cup of coffee by the road, while the rest of the group had free time to wander and explore this charming city.
Later, before dinner, I sat and admired this flock of birds wheeling around at twilight.
I took so many photos over the week. Too many to share all at once!