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April 17, 1981 - Image 21

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Text
Publication:
The Michigan Daily, 1981-04-17
Note:
This is a tabloid page

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Th ~icigan Dally- rica

';gefl'--ri day, ApriIt 17, f-The ech igobnD6ily

THE MAYAN TEMPLE city of Uxmal is one of the most elaborate ruins in
Mexico. The ancient Mayans believed in human sacrifice, although it didn't
originate with them but with the Aztecs of northern Mexico.
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Yucatan .: .
(Continued from Page 15)
warriors were placed to please Chac
Mool and bring on rain.
The serpents (rattlesnakes) line the
stairway up El Castilly (The Castle), the
main pyramid at Chitzen-itza. At the
vernal equinox, the setting sun lights
the serpents in such a way as to slake it
look like they're sinking into the
ground. The Mayans knew then that it
was time to plant the corn.
There is also a cenote, a natural well
or sinkhole formed in the limestone,
called the Sacred Cenote. When the
rains were long in coming, virgins and
warriors used to be thrown into it as
sacrifices.
SINCE IT WAS another very hot day,
we took frequent stops. We met a lot of
Gringos when we stopped at an Orange
Crush stand, where the travelers
seemedstobe converging. Once a
Gringo is met, somehow, paths cross
over and over again. The trail is pretty
set.
We didn't do much that evening back
in Merida. We ate dinner at El Balcon,
a health food restaurant much like any
U.S. health food restaurant. It even of-
fered vegetarian pizza.
An interesting aspect of Mexico is its
cemeteries, which are nothing like
those in the United States. They're
surrealistic affairs, painted all dif-
ferent colors, with elaborate tombs.
White crosses mark the graves of
adults, blue crosses mark a child
burial.
Alongside the roads, Mexicans will
erect a cross at the site of a traffic
death, followint the adult/child,
white/blue designation of the
cemeteries. The sight of the crosses
seems to be a more effective tool in
slowing drivers down than any warning
sign so far devised.

ONE STORY ABOUT a cemetery
that I heard from Nancy as well as
other Gringos, who have been to the
area northwest of Mexico City, was
about the cemetery in Guanajuato.
Here, if a family doesn't pay the rent on
the cemetery plot, the corpse is dug up
and cremated. In about 1 percent of the
cases, the bodies have mummified into
grotesque shapes. Mummies are put in-
to a mummy museum, and it's con-
sidered quite an honor to mummify.
Leaving Merida I realized that I
would be happy living there for a couple
of years. It's clean and just large
enough to have a lot to do, but not too
large to get lost in the crowds.
My overall memory of the Yucatan is
colors: The ocean with its twelve
shades of blue, the flowering trees, the
colors the Yucatecans paint their
houses.
The whole trip, from airfare to hotels
to food and whatever I bought, cost me
about $600. It's a good bargain to go
from just after Ash Wednesday to June,
when the rainy season begins.
Check the airlines for package deals,
and try to book as few nights in hotels
as possible to leave yourself free to
wander as you please. And when
traveling by bus at night, sit in the back
unless you like listening to Mexico's
version of Country and Western music
all night. And don't drink the water
(that includes ice cubes in your drinks
as well). Q

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