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Thursday, 12 January 2012

2012 - The last year

Well it is according to the Mayans who were beeeeg astrology fans - aligning their buildings to admit sunlight on auspicious days - creating observatories (the one at Chichen itza is particularly fine) it may well be that their temples were remodelled every 52 years, the Calender round. The Mayans like a lot of civilizations used the calender to govern their activities especially agriculture. Anyhoo the Mayan calander runs out on 21st December this year.
My first choice of holiday destination was kind of out of the question - Ethiopia being in the middle of another dreaful famine that seems somehow to have dropped off the worlds radar. So we decided to venture across the pond and after a week in the user-friendly urban sprawl of Mexico City had a couple of weeks in the Yucatan Peninsula previously home to the aforementioned Mayans. Yucatan is one of the poorer states of Mexico and the inhabitants show their ancestry, broader, flatter faces, darker skins. Mayan (or rather a modern version of it is still spoken. Indeed the written plaques in the many historic sites are written in three languages - Spanish, English and Mayan. Theres a strong seperatist tradition and people are justly proud of their history and their culture. A history thats seen them oppressed and downtrodden more often than not.
We didnt get very far really. We had stays in Valladolid, Merida (the state capital) and Azamel the yellow city and enjoyed them all before returning via not so lovely Cancun and Mexico City. And yes there were plenty of cultural markers including one to Fransisco Canton - builder of what is now the Anthroplogical Museum in Merida then one of the monumental piles built on the Paseo de Montejo - the Meridan answer to the Champs Elysee by the massively rich, their wealth created by henequen which produced sisal.
Canton was governor of the state of Yucatan from 1898-1902 a time that encompassed the end of the Caste War that had been raging for 50 years after Jacinto Pat and Cecilio Chi raised a rebellion against those of Spanish descent who had political and economic control of the area. Of course it could be argued that the caste war was simply a precurser of the larger Mexican Revolution against the landed classes that was on the horizon...

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