Author Archives: jshaya

Two Sites: Sian Ka’an and Cancun

We pulled up in our boat from the lagoon to the beach at Sian Ka’an.  In a roped off area, flocks of terns were nesting.  Their busy chatter filled the air.  Our guide, Aldo, pointed to a pelican flying over … Continue reading

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Postcard from Tulum: Bare Feet at the Ruins

Tulum is the only archaeological site that I have visited where tourists walk around with bare feet.  Here the beach is part of the archaeological zone; a swim is part of the tour.

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Tulum: Eyewitnesses to the Encounter of Two Worlds

An interpretive text from Tulum, the most heavily trafficked archaeological site that we visited, invites the tourist to imagine the first encounter between the Spanish and the ancient inhabitants of Tulum from two different perspectives.  This encounter, it tells us, … Continue reading

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Who Built Uxmal?

How ruinous should a ruin be?  As I visited Uxmal, I noticed the contrast between the ruins that Stephens described (and lived in) and those that I saw. The stones used to be a jumble, but today the monuments are … Continue reading

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Who Owns the Maya (Part 4)

Up to this time our course had been before the wind.  Our journey from Merida had again been a sort of triumphal procession.  We had been passed from hacienda to hacienda, till we fell into the hospitable hands of Don … Continue reading

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The Hacienda, Revolution, and the Drug War

Stephens wrote about the treatment of Indians working on Haciendas like the one where we went to the spa: Early in the morning we were roused by loud bursts of music in the church.  The cura was giving them the … Continue reading

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The Footsteps of Stephens and Catherwood in the Museo Regional de Yucatán

Why travel in the footsteps of Stephens and Catherwood or anyone else, for that matter?  I think footsteps add historical depth to a journey.  They help us think about the space between the past and the present. Others have felt … Continue reading

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Who Owns the Maya? (Part 3)

March 29, 2010: The state of Yucatan buys Chichen Itza for 17.6 million U.S. dollars. http://www.americanegypt.com/feature/sold.htm

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Two Tours of Chichen Itza

Today we took two tours of Chichen Itza, the first guided by Heath, a Mesoamerican archaeologist, the second by Carlos, a local guide who had 30 years of experience.  Our idea was to compare and contrast the tours and see … Continue reading

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