Monday, January 11, 2010

Tzintzuntzan--Our Saving Grace

Even though the rain continued to fall we had to see the sites of Patzcuaro and its lake.  Each of the villages around its outskirts is known for its particular craft: Santa Clara del Cobre for copper, Palupa for finely painted pottery, Tzintzuntzan (with the accent of on the zun) for its straw weavings and baskets, etc.  None was done any favors by the rain and the gray skies: all looked a little dreary, unkempt and full of things you don't really want to buy.  On arriving in Santa Clara and finding a full block of butcher shops with the carcasses of pigs and cows, skinned and bloody, hanging in the doorways, one of the kids commented, "I thought you said we were going someplace special."  Couldn't say I blamed them.  The un-gentrified Mexican village is a little less charming in the wrong light, when its indigenous nature tends to shine through.  Nevertheless we forged on, dragging them here and there, when unexpectedly, on the horizon, rose a pyramid, high up on a hill.  Screech go the wheels as we peel sharply off the road to the left and start to climb up toward the ruins on the hill above us.  It's an honest-to-goodness Indian temple and fortress, wide open and ready to explore!  "Yahoozi," as the boys say.  We've got the place to ourselves so the boys ignore the signs telling them to stay off the yucatecas (stones? walls? walkways?) and start running rampant along the ramparts.  Sam's archaeological instincts and genes (his dad was an archaeologist, among other things: Lutheran minister, professor of Near Eastern languages, Arabic scholar) kick in and we make them get down.  But for a while they can run around without anyone telling them to be slow down and be quiet and they can feel like masters of their own little universe (until we get back to the B&B).  Yucateca, we learn later, is in fact, pyramid.

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