Saturday, November 7, 2009

The Scene
Whisked away bright and early by bus for a guided tour of the Mayan ruins in Tulum

Was sunny most of the morning but the minute we reached the actual ruins, the clouds rolled in. Of course. F to Chac, the Mayan rain god.

But a little intermittent drizzle wasn't enough to keep us from getting our Mayan on. Our tour guide was a fount of knowledge about the Maya culture: their art, architecture and of course those uncannily accurate mathematical and astronomical abilities. Particularly fascinating in light of all the anxiety around December 12, 2012.

Here are some of my favorite nuggets that I learned today:

  • Despite popular belief to the contrary, the Maya civilization was not completely decimated by the conquistadors. It is estimated that there are as many as 7 million Maya living from the Yucatan peninsula and into Belize, Guatemala, Honduras and El Salvador.

  • Mayans are born with a birthmark at the base of their coccyx which fades at puberty. This is believed to trace the origins of the Mayan people to the Mongolian empire.

  • The ancient Maya considered flat foreheads and crossed eyes beautiful. To achieve these effects, children would have boards bound tight to their heads and wax beads tied to dangle before their eyes. The elites sharpened their teeth to points, and made incrustations with Jade and Pyrite, another mark of wealth and beauty. Interestingly, most of this confoundingly precise dental work was done by women

  • The Mayan view of the afterlife consisted primarily of a dangerous voyage of the soul through the underworld. The majority of Maya, including the rulers, went to this underworld. Heaven was reserved for those who had been sacrificed or died in childbirth. It is important to note that historians believe the times when human sacrifice was common were times of stress upon the society, times of drought or severe pressure from outside.
  • Maya architecture spans many thousands of years; yet, often the most dramatic and easily recognizable as Maya are the stepped pyramids. Though city layouts evolved as nature dictated, careful attention was placed on the directional orientation of temples and observatories so that they were constructed in accordance with Maya interpretation of the orbits of the heavenly bodies.
  • The ancient Maya are also known for having had the only known fully developed written language of pre-Columbian America, and the most advanced mathematics and astronomy. Inscriptions show them on occasion working with sums up to the hundreds of millions and dates so large it would take several lines just to represent it.

  • The preclassic Maya independently developed the concept of zero by 36 BC. That the Mayas understood the concept and value of zero is extraordinary because at that time most of the world’s civilizations had zero concept of zero.

    Sadly when we finally got some free time to wander around on our own, the wind and rain picked up. Time for fancy Mayan princesses to skeedaddle.

    Headed back to the hotel for some sustenance, yet ANOTHER work out and some spa time.

    After a little nap it was time for a champagne dinner at a Cancun legend.

    Beautiful day filled with some of my favorite things: my little mom, Latin American history and cajeta crepes.

    The Outfit
    Fashion District romper
    Brass Plum sweater

    The Accessories
    Handmade necklace
    Tory Burch flats

    The Grade

    The Commentary
    Knew the torrential rains might hit today during our Tulum outing. Had planned on wearing my very Mayan maxi for photo opts and to combat mosquitos. But in the end opted for a romper and lots of bug spray.

    Felt very strange wearing shorts in the rain. But unlike L.A., Cancun doesn't cool down when it rains. Never dipped below 80 today.

    The two hoodies I brought were the perfect call for the rain. The Tory Burch flats not so much. The leather bled all over my feet and half an hour of scrubbing only got my feet 70 back to normal. Ughs to being a smurf.

    This little girl in our tour group had the best outfit. Please note: this is the one and only time I will condone Crocs.

    But walking around half naked in perforated shoes is really best left to kids and Victoria Secret models.

    Though a shocking number of designers like Alex Wang, Marc Jacobs and D&G seem to believe women should embrace the pantless look this Spring.

    Blame it on Gaga. Ooooo lala.


Jean Bean said...

Da Bombuxitl

Monica said...

I loved visiting Tulum- Mayan culture is fascinating to me. And isn't that view of the ocean amazing? Also love the romper and necklace!

Adeleno5 said...

I made the mistake of wearing flip flops during a rain storm at Tulum - epic fashion AND function fail.

Sable Crow said...

I LOVE bullets filled with information! Love learning about the Mayans.

Yay to the fancy hotel! F to the Tori Burch stains.

Prodigal Crow

Rosemary said...

I am loving your vacay recaps! Makes me want to jaunt off to some exotic locale stat.

Agree with Sable Crow, the bulleted info is great! Seriously, I love this sort of stuff. :)

Sheila said...

LOL at the feet! Love the Mayan history factoids.

lookrichbitch said...

ugh.. pantless just leaves too much room for camel toe. put a skirt on!

Ana said...

Love reading about your adventures with your mom. You inspired me to ask my mom if she'd like to go on a sunny vacation next year.


Related Posts Widget for Blogs by LinkWithin