YAXCHILAN AND BONAMPAK

Our Hello my beautiful Peppys!! I owe you an apology because I haven’t kept in touch lately but it’s been busy on this side of the world. I haven’t been able to keep up with my blog as much as I’d like. Let’s start where we left off….in the middle of Chiapas! Our fist stop:

YAXCHILAN

 My fascination with precolonial ruins brought us to Yaxchilan and Bonampak. A whole day tour took us to these recondite ruins. We were picked up at 6:30 am, and let me tell you that is such a monumental task when you’re on vacation!!
These ruins are as remote as they can get. Once all the people on the tour were picked up, it took us three hours to get to Usumacinta River, which is the border between Mexico and Guatemala.  The jungle is dense in this area of Mexico, that’s why they don’t let anybody camp in the area, they don’t know what kind of poisonous animals are out there.  the only way to get to Yaxchilan is to navigate down the river. We decided to hire a tour guide before we boarded the boat.  It was a good decision, the young raconteur kept us entertained with his stories about the jungle and the mysteries of the Mayans. The 45-minute ride on the river was a short one. His accent gave away the fact that Spanish is not his first language, just like most of the people in this area of Mexico.

(Remember you can click on the pictures to make them bigger)

We got off the boat and started walking. Yaxchilan was bigger than we expected, it’s such a shame that we won’t ever see it in its full splendor.  There are several buildings still standing. Some have been forever swollen and destroyed by the Jungle, and many more are yet to be discovered.

Our tour guide mentioned that there are ruins on the other side of Usumacinta, in Guatemala. Apparently, the Mayans built a bridge to cross over the river. It’s funny how hundreds of years ago it was the same city but now it’s separated by borders. Half of the city is in Mexico and the other half is in Guatemala.

On Our way back, we saw several animals: crocodiles, monkeys, birds, we even heard a jaguar in the far distance. No wonder they don’t let anybody camp in the jungle. Once we were close to the small port, our tour guide said: ” You see? That’s Guatemala, we cross the river daily, they come here and we go there. No immigration agents here, we come and we go as we please” and I thought just like it was centuries ago.

BONAMPAK

After a delicious lunch, our next stop was Bonampak. A small city where one of the Mayan kings got married. At this place, we got another tour guide who explained to us the significance of this site.

Murals are inside some of the ruins in Bonampak, these have been preserved well throughout the years. They represent different events that happened in Bonampak.
When we walked inside the ruins, we were pleasantly surprised. Never before we’ve seen paintings by the Mayans. I read that all of their buildings were painted in bright red, green and blue, but it’s difficult to imagine how colorful they used to be.
My husband said: “Finally we get to appreciate how colorful the Mayans really were”. At least it was a little taste. It’s impressive that the murals have survived hundreds of years.

At some point, our tour guide in Bonampak asked us: “Where are the Mayans? Nobody knows where they went or why they left.” while he held a colored replica of how the murals used to be. I was perplexed because he looked exactly like the man depicted on the murals or the stelas: same nose, hair, complexion, and height. He denied the fact that he is a descendant from the Mayans. Where are they? As far as I am concerned, I was standing right next to one. Sadly, this is what hundreds of years of discrimination and marginalization have done to the indigenous populations, not only in Chiapas but across all of Latin America.

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