Experiencing the Maya

When we hear about the “Mayan civilization”, many of us think of an ancient “lost” culture that flourished hundreds of years ago and then mysteriously disappeared.That’s not completely true, as I learned recently on a tour of Mayan sites in Mexico’s Yucatán peninsula, and Guatemala.Many descendants of the original Maya still live and worship to various extents traditionally and are eager to share their ways with visitors.

The site is dominated by the “castle” pyramid, constructed to not only produce echoes (as demonstrated relentlessly by clapping tourists) and solstice and equinox light changes, but also to symbolize Mayan spiritual beliefs, such as the number 9, referencing the number of days it takes corn to germinate, or the feathered serpent. 
Corn (maize) is still a staple in the Yucatán diet; in fact, the dough for the tortillas served with every meal still contains a bit of limestone powder to give it robustness.Despite a limited number of basic ingredients, though, the cuisi…

Finalement...à la fin...

In the final analysis it was a "triple A" experience:  adventure, adaptation and, especially, the art.

I'm leaving France after a year and a half and moving back to the U.S. to re-settle in a less lonely, less rural,  larger town where I'll be less culturally and language-challenged, and have more accessibility  to friends, grandson and activities.  However, I don't for a minute regret what I have learned, done, experienced or spent here, and I shall deeply miss the charm and beauty of France when I return to the banality of the U.S.  I'll also miss living in a country where the public good is considered and matters, where health care coverage is a given, where gun-toting isn't considered a "right",  and where quality of life carries more weight than capitalism.  Sadly, however, both countries bear the burden and wear the stain of bigotry and intolerance for "the other", and France has as many social and political issues as does every…