Yucatan Project: Day 9, Chichen Itza and Cancun

Jan 12th: The previous day my group and I discussed severals aspects of the website with the Pastor. We agreed that the community center would administer the site itself, calling upon us when technical difficulties arise. After we finished our session we decided to shoot footage of the children assembling and welcoming audiences to their center. It was very difficult to do this. I remember that every place that I visited for an extended period of time, I grew attached. I often think about if it’s really enough to provide them with this type of awareness. I also tell myself that the right of self-determination should be decided by these children alone. It was important for us to contribute to the foundation of a well run organization.

Our ride to the city of Cancun included a visit to the ruins of Chichen Itza. The thousands of years since it’s completion, have been reasonable to the structure. As we toured the area I asked several questions of our guide, most of them explaining the differences between the Aztec and Mayan civilizations. My previous knowledge was disproved as the Mayans did not actually sacrifice human beings to appease their gods (an Aztec norm), did not play poc-a-toc as a game with a sideways hoop (instead a ritualized creation story), nor was the Cenote or giant aquifer a sacrificial lake for aquatic gods. These false opinions were spread by visiting American and European anthropologists from the turn of the last century. The lesson my group learned that day was that the culture we were told was very similar to their Northern Mexican cousins was quite different. They were a civilization of Astronomers and Mathematicians rather than Warriors. Point in fact, they built the Pyramid of Chichen Itza as a relatively large calendar to track the movements of the sun. After viewing this monumental area my group headed to the ocean for the remainder of the day.

Out in the pale blue waters of the Gulf of Mexico I reflected on how the project went. As a team we bonded to the point of succinct professionalism and familial relations. I also thought about how we would weave the story of this remarkable place together as a cohesive story. That is a story for another time whe we return home.

The Temple of Kukulcan, built in Honor of the Serpent God
Poc-A-Toc Ring, were a large rubber sphere representing the fleash of the gods is passed through the "Sun"
The ill-famed Cenote, misjudged to it being the main water source for the Mayan city. Unsuitable for sacrifices.
Serpent's head at base of pyramid, essential architecture piece in honoring Serpent God
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