One of the best things about exploring the eco-park Xcaret near Cancun, Mexico is the lack of boundaries between you and what you’re experiencing.
You will not find roped off areas or keep out signs. No one will shout at you for venturing off the beaten path. For the most part I loved this, but I admit I was a little startled to be walking along a stream only to look down and see a shark and a stingray swimming along only inches from my bare feet with nothing between us but air and a bit of water. Yipes!
I loved being able to not only look at these Mayan dwellings, altars and who knows what, but also touch them, ascend the steps, and duck my head to enter the tiny doorways.
In reading about the Mayans, I find them an interesting contrast of gentle nomadic hunter-gatherers and vicious warriors who stole their neighbors for human sacrifices. In spite of their brutality, their skills are undeniable and impressive. They created lavish temples and palaces without metal tools, developed astronomy, calendrical systems and hieroglyphic writing, and excelled as farmers, potters and weavers.
I was intrigued to learn that they cleared routes through dense jungles and festering swamps to build extensive trade networks with distant peoples. As prolific writers, they were distinctive in that they were the only ones in America capable of expressing all types of thought. They also chronicled detailed histories of their culture and lifestyle. Unfortunately all but three of their books were destroyed when Fray Diego de Landa, second bishop of the Yucat n, ordered a mass destruction of Mayan literature in 1562. I do wonder what stories those destroyed pages held.
What group of people in history are you most intrigued by?