I chose to study in Chiapas because the culture of contemporary and ancient Mayas interests me; I think it should interest everyone but when you have a son of Maya decent the amazing accomplishments and the variety of their aptitudes and customs is even more moving.
We visited 2 museums today and they were both excellent. We saw fascinating objects and had wonderful guides who brought the displays to life. Perhaps more importantly (and what sets these 2 apart from the other museums we have visited) is that in each case the social value of the work is profound.
The Museo Na Balom is housed in the former home of archeologist Frans Blom and photographer Gertrude Duby Blom and showcases their work and relationships with the Lacandon indigenous groups in the jungle areas in eastern Chiapas. Their work lives on as the revenue from the museum, gift shop, garden, and hotel support the Lacandon including an onsite medical center offering free services. I visited the museum with my teacher, Jorge, who worked at Na Balom for 8 years; he’s pictured below with Frans and Gertrude Blom’s daughter.
Later we visited (by appointment) a private collection of regional dress in the home of Sergio Castro, an iconic local figure. After a great explanation of the various Maya groups in Chiapas and their traditions and attire, he left us to explore on our own while he provided medical care for several local residents. One room had photos of his healing (not for the squeamish) and many articles and certificates of appreciation for his work.
Before enjoying some refreshment in a local restaurant ringed with gift shops supporting the Zapatista movement, we took in some live entertainment on the steps of the cathedral, photo and detail below. HAPPY TRAILS!
THIS BLOG WAS SET UP TO CHRONICLE OUR ADVENTURES IN MÉXICO & GUATEMALA IN 2010.
Mike and I explored the Mexican Yucatán Peninsula for 2 weeks of flyfishing (Mike), diving (Stacey), snorkeling, Maya ruins, a colonial city, cenotes, quite a few hammocks and lots of great food.
When Mike flew home I headed to San Cristóbal de las Casas in Chiapas for 2 weeks of Spanish study with a small group in tow. We lived with host families and visited area sights including villages, museums, and ruins.
When the group flew home I bused to San Pedro La Laguna on Lake Atitlán in Guatemala for a week of planning for future growth of the Beca Project (link below) and meeting our sponsored kids and their families.
When our daughter Mariah and her husband Greg invited us to share a timeshare in Quintana Roo between Christmas and New Years, a new chapter to this blog was added. HAPPY TRAILS!