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!

Thursday, July 8, 2010

More Market plus Maya Medicine Museum and a Birthday

After a week and a half of looking, our 2nd Thursday we actually shopped, buying things we’d had our eyes on for ourselves and for gifts.

During my marathon visit to the mercado on Monday I had divined the most endearing vender of copal and other incense; today we headed back so 3 of us could make a few purchases. It was the kind of memorable shopping experience that might happen just a few times in a lifetime. We asked our questions, made our selections, paid, said our goodbyes and walked away. A minute later, I felt a tap on my shoulder and found the abuelita (little grandmother) behind me; she wanted to give us little regalos (gifts), and ushered us back to her stall. She carefully poured the crystals of a different type of incense onto bits of paper and wrapped them up for each of us. Incense: 10 pesos,
incense holder: 10 pesos, shopping experience: priceless.

It’s difficult to NOT shop in this town as people of all ages carry there wares along the streets, in the zocalo (central plaza) and into restaurants.

We also paid a visit to the Maya Medicine Museum just north of town. It’s a small but excellent exhibit and has additional buildings that house healing centers and an herbal pharmacy.

These crosses are Maya crosses and their design predates the Spanish conquest; they are not - though they appear to be - Christian symbols. They represent the 4 cardinal directions and the ceiba tree which is a powerful symbol in Maya tradition.

I returned home to a celebration of my host Isabel’s birthday.

As I write this I’m midway through my last day in San Cristobal. It has been a beautiful, intriguing, and productive place to visit and study Spanish and our 2 weeks have flown by. HUGE thanks to Andrea, Andrea, Sandee, and Jan for being such wonderful, flexible traveling companions and to my host family and the teachers for being so welcoming and helpful. HAPPY TRAILS!

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