2009 Mexican Eco-Blogging Green Adventure Community
Posted Mar 28 2009 4:02pm
My expedition to visit an ancient Mayan-Toltec temple turned out to be a learning experience I never expected. While my guide, Roger Sauri (pictured below), spoke of many things while we were touring the Mayan ruins of El Rey (The King), he rarely spoke of the ruins directly. Instead, he spoke of the importance of community to the Mayan people. Roger’s ancestors are Mayan Indian, so Roger’s connection to the area is tightly knit with history. His focus on this tour was unique, and I felt pulled in by his passion and love for the people he shares his ancestry with.
El Rey is a small ruins located within the hotel zone of Cancun, Mexico. It is nestled between a high cliff which blocks the ocean on one side and a lagoon surrounded by Mangrove forests on the other side. It is a protected area, and a place where the Mayan people could find plentiful food, sun, and water. In other words; paradise.
My visit was punctuated with story after story from Roger about his ancestors and the life they lived at the El Rey site. One particular tale was about the priest who every day must enter a holy building. The building was built with a tiny doorway, therefore making he who entered bow down and pay respect to the Gods when he entered. Roger demonstrates in the photo to the left.
El Rey is a post-Classic Period archaeological site named after a skeleton unearthed on a dig believed to be a Mayan King. Experts believe that el Rey was inhabited from the 10th century AD until the beginning of the 16th century AD, its remains include plazas surrounded by buildings and several platforms that are connected by a long pathway. At one time the buildings and structures were painted bold colors – there are still some interiors with bright blue paint remaining. Now, however, the sun has bleached the remains of the limestone, and most surfaces are white or gray. As Roger tells it, the post classic period is also known as the “Mayan-Toltec” period because remains of both Mayan and Aztec cultures were found at this site.
For me, this was very interesting as it really tells the tale of two cultures molding into one very special society. It was an intelligent community – the buildings are placed according to the sun and stars. More importantly, it was a community built by a people who cared about and embraced their neighbors.
What is even more interesting for me on a personal basis is that my husband is of partial Mayan decent. Although indirect, it is a connection nonetheless, so I brought the family back a few days after my visit with Roger so my youngest daughter could experience it also. Using my Olympus camera, I video taped our climb to the top of one of the holy structures. Please keep in mind the wind was crazy. It is also very sunny at the top of this structure so the camera caught both wind and sun, and I am squinting to see – but still a lot of fun. If interested, please turn the volume up so you can hear well - -
What I learned on this expedition was not so much about a ruins as it was about a culture - that a community is not about buildings or monetary things – it is the sum of its people and the sum of the humanistic experience. Working together and building community is perhaps the most important thing we can do for humanity.
What are you doing today to help your community?
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