Monday, October 11, 2010

First Stop: Progresso, Mexico

I have been having such problems loading pictures onto blogger.

Finally, I am able to share with you my trip to Mexico. First stop, Progresso, Mexican (Yucatan Peninsula) We arrived in port early in the morning.

We boarded a bus with Explora Cruises, navigated by our driver Pepe and guides Artiro and Nashella

This excursion was the real reason we were taking this cruise. Our youngest son is extremely interested in ancient history. In school he is studying ancient history and though this would be a perfect time to make this trip so he could study the Mayan Ruins in a way text books cannot excite and stimulate. There is nothing like hands on exploration.

But before we arrived at the ruins, we had about a 35 minute bus ride through the wetland/marshy area. And I saw something I have never seen in the wild.


Our driver was kind enough to pullover so we could take it in and photograph.

The sulphur salt smell was pungent in the air. The flamingo's and other bird species......It was an amazing site! There were many in the wetlands, but nothing like it will be come January and February when there will literally be thousands upon thousands of flamingos in this very area. Our guide mentioned you couldn't see the water for the flamingo's during that time.

Of course, you probably know that Flamingo's are pink because of their diet which consist of algae, small insects, and small crustaceans like shrimp. These foods are rich in beta-carotene, tinting their feathers pink. The older the flamingo, the darker the pink. It truly marvels me how God created such beauty in nature.

After many many flamingo's, we can upon the Mayan Ruins of Xcambo, which was an important city in the Mayan trade route. This was an important salt and saltfish trading post during Xcambo’s longest period of occupation, from 300 – 600 AD. There we got off the bus to explore first hand archaeology's treasures with it's untouched sites, fully restored pyramids and buildings. Sadly, for many years, nearby villagers used the stones for their fences, homes, and churches. You can see it along the tour route and into neighboring cities. Today, this very large site is actually under reconstruction and renovation. Xcambó was a salt and salted fish distribution center it its day, supplying Chichén Itza, Uxmal and Izamal with this protein source.

Our son, "J Smooth" was in Heaven. While the rest of our family listened to the history (Jack was already well versed) JSmooth went exploring on his own, running from ruin to ruin amongst the native iguana's.

Don't you love J. Smooth's authentic Mexican Wrestlers mask he purchased before he boarded the bus. He bought three in Progresso and has already put them to good use. :)

Nothing like seeing a Mexican wrestler running around the ruins. :)

In these next pictures, J Smooth and Sister Sledge are actually sitting on the sacrificial temple. People were sacrificed to the Mayan gods in request for rain, productive crops, etc. The sacrifices were chosen by social system within the Mayan people. Meaning it was the poor who were chosen.

Interestingly enough, a fine example of the use of the ruin’s stones for the other constructions is the Catholic church that is built right into the archaeological site. This makes for a unique combination of the two eras. May 19 and 20 are the Patron Saint days that are celebrated at this ruin. The church was so simple, yet so beautiful. The history was palpable.

Tomorrow we will explore more of our Progresso stop by paying a visit to a Mayan descendant cemetery. It was here that I was educated in how other countries bury their dead. It was an incredible cultural journey that I am so glad my children got to experience. We will also drive into the Mayan descendant town of Dzemul. An culturally rich town as much as it is monetarily poor. Another wonderful lesson for my children. Join me tomorrow for more!


Mari said...

I would have loved this stop! Seeing the ruins, and the birds too is amazing!

Bargain Luxury said...

Leigh, you're making me jealous. My vacation to Cancun is around the corner and these photos are really pushing me overboard! Come and stop by Bargain Luxury whenever you want. You're absolutely hilarious and Sister Sledge & J. Smooth are too cute for words. Get home safe!

My Vintage Treasures said...

My family is from Yucatan, and I still have many family members living in Merida & Cancun. I'm glad you are enjoying the scenery, the history & the culture. I'm anxious to visit Yucatan SOON!!!