Tulum from a different perspective

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Revisiting Tulum after 12 years was an amazing experience, the first time I went there I was 15 years old and ready to explore the world, Tulum always called for me and I had to answer, I remember I took all of my savings went to the bus station and set out for adventure. My sister was 10 at the time and she was sad I would leave her so I took her with me. We didn’t even have a camera and I was just carrying a bag.

I remember she was kind of scared, we almost missed the bus and had barely enough money to pay for it. We ran for the bus station and catched the last call for it, in that time the bus went from Cancun all the way to the mayan town corridor and stopped in Tulum, we drove for more than a couple of hours, in those years the roads were very precarious in Cancun, there were no bridges or even nice pavement, it was a one lane road from Playa del Carmen on to the rest of the state.

Unlike in Cancun, the bus didn’t stop in a station, it just stopped in a bumper in the middle of the road and the driver shouted “Tulum” so we rushed to get off otherwise we would end up having to wait for the next town and with no way of coming back.

We got off and we were just there in the middle of the road, a couple of handcraft stores and a couple of restaurants. We walked to look for the sign indicating the ruins, we found it and our journey started, walking the dirt road unaware of what we would find.

That is one of the beauties of Tulum, it makes you walk up and starts to unveil it’s magic in front of you.

Nowadays as you get to the site there are a lot of restaurants and handcraft stores, bathrooms, and many services.

On this visit I brought my camera with me and tried to look at Tulum from a different perspective. Without the comfort of my zoom lens, I just took my 50mm attached and threw my camera in my beach bag.

As you go in, the place starts to appear as you move forward.

I loved seeing that some of its original fauna still lives there, a lot of Iguanas lay around in all sizes trying to blend with the soft grey stone.

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As you keep walking you can feel this sacred place was dedicated to Venus and something just vibrates with mysticism. First temples and signs of gods begin to appear.

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The architecture is very particular, lovely and amazingly well preserved, it stands there in front of you without losing it’s essence.

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As you continue to walk you start climbing as the ground goes up, it’s an amazing moment because you can’t really see much, until you get to the highest part of the ground only to unveil the heart of this magical city

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The view is absolutely breathtaking, I remember the first time I saw it, I couldn’t believe it, I didn’t have a camera so I just stared at it trying ti keep that image in my mind, then I went down for a swim, and tried to blend with the place. I just wanted to stay there forever.

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The ancient mayan city was originally named Zam谩 (Dawn) probably because of its beachside location.

In ancient times it was a very important city for commerce and for religious ceremonies to honor Kukulkan the descending god.

Tulum was still an active city inhabited by mayans when the spaniards arrived to Yucatan and Quintana Roo, but due to the heavy epidemic diseases they brought, the city was abandoned shortly after.

Due it’s amazing landscapes it has been one of the most visited archeological sites in Mexico and because of this, the heirs of the mayan culture that still visited Tulum as a sacred ceremonial place in the XXth Century, have decreased their spiritual activities at the site.

Nonetheless, Tulum in itself both the site and the city have a very clear mystic quality that attracts people from all over the world.

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This wonderful city protected by the high rocks of the coast and the marine reef was one of the most beautiful cities in mayan culture and a very important reference for sailors and traders in the sea, who took the Castle as a reference to avoid getting caught in the reef.

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The castle also served as a lighthouse, because of the way it was built, the sun would come across a couple of windows protecting the light into the ocean and guiding mayan traders on their canoes.

They also had a hurricane warning system, on the top of a temple there’s a hollow rock they carved facing the ocean, when the wind speed would become hurricane like, the hollow rock acted like a whistle warning everyone.

Thanks to Ina and Pazit for sharing it with me and allowing me to visit Tulum again.

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Weekend adventure in Isla Mujeres

Isla Mujeres.

ISLA MONUMENTO

A little island only 5 miles long and half a mile wide in the far east corner of Mexico. It is the island where the territory ends and nothing is left between her and the rest of the world.

Originally one of the mayan territories that conform the state of Quintana Roo, Isla Mujeres was located in the province of Ekab and it was a ceremonial center dedicated to Ixchel, goddess of the moon, fertility and abundance.

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In 1517 the spanish expedition of Francisco de C贸rdoba, arrived into the island where they found nothing except for the ceremonial center and the female keepers of the sanctuary, because of this, the spaniards named the island “Isla Mujeres” (Island of Women), and it is the name that it has beared ever since.

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Spending the weekend on the island made me remember the delights of living away in a little corner of the planet where you don’t need a car to move around or even a cell phone to stay in touch with family, friends and…everyone.

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I love the particular charm that makes Isla Mujeres different from the rest of the touristic sites in Quintana Roo, all things there are very local, more authentic and have a history behind them.

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Waking up to watch the sunrise knowing that you are standing where firm land ends for miles ahead and watching that amazing and loving spectacle that nature has been performing for centuries before us. I wonder how mayans greeted the new day in that exact same place thousands of years before.

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As you walk by downtown there is a mixture of old original cabins built by the fishermen, they are wooden small and colorful cabins in the middle of streets, next to restaurants or hotels.

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On the inner side of the island you get amazing clear waters, turquoise oceans with a special tone, a unique glare and you can see the other side of the island and Cancun skyline.

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As soon as night begins to fall you are able to walk the streets filled with artwork, coffee shops and restaurants.

There is a great variety for dining from small cabins to very elegant and modern restaurants, all types of cuisine, but the best part is that everywhere you go, you are family, from hosts, to waiters, to cooks and owners welcome you and treat you like an old friend.

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Walking around so freely, made me want to stay there and never come back, it’s definitely the perfect place for people looking for a quiet, low profile, relaxed and very authentic experience of Mexico and the Caribbean culture.

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The most memorable time that I visited “Isla” as we call it, must have been 11 years ago, we went there on a sailboat, as we arrived I couldn’t believe the colors I was admiring in the ocean it’s different from the ocean in Cancun and in other parts of Quintana Roo, when we docked we swam, we ate and we headed back when the sun was coming down, sailing into cancun at nightfall, being out there in the ocean watching all the stars.

I am so blessed to live in this beautiful state and to know all of it!

If anybody plans to visit, contact me and I’ll make sure to give you the best advice on places to discover. Life is great! We are alive, and breathing 馃榾

The Legend of The Flying Men in Papantla

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In pre-hispanic Mexico, cultures interacted with gods, their cosmogony was a main root on how they lived their lives; being such spiritual people their way of communication with the gods was very sacred and important.

Named as part of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of the world by UNESCO, the ritual known in spanish as “Los Voladores de Papantla”聽 is still performed by many groups and communities throughout Mexico.

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The Legend begins in the middle region of Mexico with the Nahuas, Huastecos and Otom铆es, eventually it gained it’s popularity in the southern and eastern region between the Totonacas and the region of Papantla, therefore the name given in actuality.

Around 1,500 years ago, central Mexico 聽was facing a serious period of drought and a group of brave men set out on a quest to give an offering to the gods that would make it rain, they believed that by performing rituals, and though art, dance and music, the gods that were always watching, would get their message.

They set out to look for the perfect tree, a tree that would be strong and tall enough to get them closer to the gods, they cut it to bring it home, they disposed of the branches, leaving only the log and planting it in the ground.

In the beginning of the ritual, 5 men climbed the tree (approx. 160 ft tall),聽dressing themselves with wings and feathers to appear bird like.

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While the men climbed the tree, a ritual of music with flute and drums was trying to emulate the sound of birds, once on top of the tree, the melody kept rising to get the gods’ attention.

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For a moment the music stopped and then it started again with more intensity and a faster rhythm. While one man standing on the top of the tree (the priest), played the sacred melodies, the 4 remaining men began their descent. They threw themselves into the air face down, tied with ropes to their waists, moving their wings, offering this sign of respect for life, for nature and the skies.

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These men risked their lives for an opportunity of fertile crops and new life for their people. During the descent, each man flew around the tree 13 times.

13 times per men made out the sacred number 52, meaning that the group had created a dance with 52 circles around the tree.

In the mayan calendar 聽52 is the number of years that make up a solar cycle, each year has 52 weeks, after which a new sun is born, therefore a new life on Earth is born.

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After the descent was over, the rain followed and gave away a very prosperous crop season. In exchange the people started performing this offering every year.

This is why this particular ritual is also associated with fertility, the fertility of the Earth and therefore the beginning of all life and it also explains why it was one of the most important and sacred rituals amongst the Totonacas (a matriarchal society).

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Nowadays, in many indigenous communities in Mexico, it’s still a sacred ritual of such importance, that a school has been instituted to train young ones and prepare them to perform this ceremony.

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Although today it is also performed in other parts of Mexico outside the indigenous communities like cities and beaches, the ritual is still performed pretty much in the same way.

Now the flying men wear an ethnic costume; the bright red color, is a symbol of the blood for all the men that have fallen performing the ritual, and their hats are a way to represent the original costumes of birds, they are like a crest or a tail with vibrant colors of Guacamayas or Quetzales.

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Although today the ritual in cities is a representation and a way to teach tourists about mexican culture, in the remaining indigenous communities where they don’t even speak spanish, the ritual is still perfumed with the same sacred nature to ask for a prosperous season and to renew life on Earth.

Photos of “Los Voladores” in Playa del Carmen, M茅xico, Feb, 2013

The Blackbird Journal: Tortuga Island Forever Fest Cancun Music

Musica en Canc煤n

El pasado s谩bado 28 de Abril de 2012, Canc煤n fue la sede del “Tortuga Island Forever Fest” un festival de m煤sica organizado por la comunidad de m煤sicos independientes de Cancun, para dar la despedida al Tortuga Island Bar.

Con la participaci贸n de una gran variedad de bandas, el festival comenz贸 con el inicio de la noche y termin贸 con el sol radiante sobre Playa Tortugas.

Entre las bandas que participaron se destac贸 la presencia de The Surfing Munsters, SuperB, Gecko, Tropikal Voodo, Music Force y Open Zippers as铆 como de las nuevas bandas que empiezan a sonar y saltar a la escena musical de Canc煤n como Sweet Doris y Lumine Electi.

Sin duda en un gran esfuerzo por impulsar la escena musical local, la comunidad se reuni贸 para pasar un buen rato en compa帽铆a de amigos, colegas, parientes y seguidores pero sobre todo de la gran familia de apasionados por la m煤sica que vivimos en Canc煤n.

Entre Rock, Funk, Surf, Metal, canciones originales, covers, remakes y versiones alternativas, el Festival deleit贸 a los asistentes de todos los gustos y edades.

Un privilegio contar con nuestras queridas bandas como The Surfing Munsters, Gecko, Super B y Tropikal Voodo que prendieron el ambiente y calentaron la atm贸sfera con sus presentaciones.

Cabe mencionar la participaci贸n de dos bandas que se incorporan a la escena musical de Canc煤n:

La banda de Metal Gotic, Lumine Electi, quien abri贸 el festival y di贸 a conocer su propuesta musical sentando el est谩ndar para lo que ser铆a una jornada de muy buena m煤sica con excelentes actuaciones.

Le siguieron The Surfing Musnters a quienes conocemos por su particular estilo Surf que impide quedarse sentado.

Despu茅s Music Force y Gecko que encendi贸 a los asistentes e inund贸 toda la playa con su deleitante funk.

Acto seguido, disfrutamos de la actuaci贸n de Sweet Doris, 茅sta es una banda ecl茅ctica e irreverente, que busca “despertar almas rockeras dormidas”. Lo logra transfigurando el sonido de la m煤sica de dispensador que normalmente encontramos en g茅neros como el Pop, en un ardid de notas rudas, fuertes y metam贸rficas.

Sin duda es una propuesta musical diferente que vale la pena conocer y que sobre todo te har谩 pasar momentos muy divertidos y tal vez expanda tus fronteras musicales.

El festival continu贸 con las actuaciones de SuperB, Tropikal Voodoo y cerr贸 con la actuaci贸n de Open Zippers, banda que vino a presentarse desde la ciudad de M茅rida, quienes recibieron al amanecer tocando y anunciando el fin de la jornada.

Las fotos del Festival:

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Canc煤n, Para铆so Maya de aliento Vanguardista

DESFILA CANC脷N EN BUSCA DE SU IDENTIDAD
El 20 de Abril de 2012 se llev贸 a cabo la celebraci贸n del 鈥淒esfile de la Identidad鈥 en conmemoraci贸n al 42 aniversario de la fundaci贸n de Canc煤n, el desfile organizado por la asociaci贸n de Pioneros de Canc煤n cont贸 con la participaci贸n de los ciudadanos quienes recorrieron el centro de la ciudad, en una muestra de las diferentes actividades e intereses que componen a nuestra sociedad.
Entre clubes de autos cl谩sicos, de autos modificados para todo terreno, pasando por los diversos grupos culturales de danza y teatro tanto de聽聽escuelas como de compa帽铆as art铆sticas, con la presencia de las diferentes bandas de guerra y la batucada del S铆ndicato de Taxistas Andr茅s Quintana Roo,聽聽聽del grupo de zanqueros dando presencia al arte circense, los scouts, los estudiantes de secundaria y bachillerato en representaci贸n de sus escuelas, el grupo de activistas del ombligo verde hasta los ciudadanos galardonados como los 100 personajes hist贸ricos de Canc煤n.
El evento comenz贸 con el desfile que parti贸 desde la estaci贸n de Bomberos de la Avenida Chichen Itz谩 con Tulum, recorriendo 茅sta 煤ltima hasta llegar al Paqrue de las Palapas, mientras los desfilantes recorr铆an las calles, los espectadores saludaban y tomaban fotograf铆as desde las aceras y pasos peatonales, pudiendo apreciar autom贸viles, autobuses y personas llevando en alto el nombre de Canc煤n .
Una vez llegados al Parque de las Palapas, las festividades siguieron y la Asociaci贸n de Pioneros as铆 como las diversas autoridades del Gobierno Estatal y Municipal dirigieron unas palabras al p煤blico espectador.
Los discursos iniciaron con la participaci贸n la presidente de la Asociaci贸n de Pioneros, Conchita Castro quien dio el mensaje de que Canc煤n somos todos, desde los que llevan viviendo 42 a帽os aqu铆 hasta los que llevan 2 meses, manifest贸 su admiraci贸n por todas las personas que eligen 鈥渃ambiar sus cielos y sus estrellas鈥 para venir a vivir a 茅sta ciudad.
Posteriormente, el Lic. Jorge Aguilar , titular de la Secretar铆a Municipal de Obras P煤blicas y Servicios del Municipio de Benito Ju谩rez, en representaci贸n del Presidente Municipal dio un discurso en el que incit贸 a todos los asistentes a 鈥渞enovar votos, enamorarse m谩s de Canc煤n鈥 y aplaudi贸 a la sociedad cancunense ya que en s贸lo 42 a帽os lo que comenz贸 como un sue帽o y un poblado se ha convertido en una gran e importante ciudad a nivel nacional. Recalc贸 la importancia de mantenernos unidos para hacer m谩s por Canc煤n y anunci贸 que en pr贸ximas fechas el escenario del parque volver谩 a tener el gran techo de Palapa que ya constituye un s铆mbolo de nuestra identidad.
Sin embargo el discurso m谩s impactante fue el de Nora Elizabeth Garza de 11 a帽os de edad, estudiante de la Escuela Primaria P煤blica Eleuterio Ram铆rez, quien en representaci贸n de la poblaci贸n infantil cancunense, como Diputada Infantil Suplente en el Segundo Parlamento Infantil de Benito Ju谩rez habl贸 de los valores democr谩ticos.
Con tan s贸lo 11 a帽os de edad Nora fue de lo m谩s destacable por su gran discurso, parada con gran aplomo, impecablemente segura de lo que dec铆a, invit贸 a la sociedad adulta a exaltar los valores聽聽como la libertad, la igualdad, la tolerancia y la solidaridad pero sobre todo hizo una invitaci贸n muy profunda y llena de sabidur铆a para que vivan con pasi贸n. Invit贸 a funcionarios a 鈥渄arse la oportunidad de volver a ser ni帽os, de regresar a la infancia y el puesto pol铆tico que hoy desempe帽an sea divertido, agradable y no una obligaci贸n por econom铆a o por pertenecer al medio pol铆tico鈥 y sobre todo que recuerden 鈥渓os ni帽os que hoy tienen en frente, seremos los que sostengamos al pa铆s al igual que sus jubilaciones.鈥
Ante tan importante mensaje y el enfrentamiento a 茅sa realidad tan sincera, los aplausos no se hicieron esperar y con los espectadores a煤n admirados por la intervenci贸n de Nora, el festival dio paso a la siguiente participaci贸n.
Con un n煤mero musical mel贸dico y cari帽oso, la cantante cancunense Victoria Valdivia quien gan贸 el concurso de canto municipal en la categor铆a de la tercera edad,聽聽acompa帽ada del tr铆o Ecos del Caribe dedicaron un n煤mero musical po茅tico a la ciudad de Canc煤n.
Posteriormente, el Gobernador del Estado, Roberto Borge Angulo dirigi贸 unas palabras al p煤blico cancunense recordando la importancia que tiene Canc煤n como polo tur铆stico a nivel mundial.
Para cerrar el evento, los 100 personajes hist贸ricos de Canc煤n recibieron el galard贸n otorgado por los Pioneros y fueron fotografiados con el Gobernador.
La elecci贸n de los personajes Hist贸ricos se dio por consulta abierta a la ciudadan铆a a trav茅s de la revista Pioneros, en la cual destacaron personalidades del 谩mbito empresarial,聽聽period铆stico, ciudadano, ambientalista y de la construcci贸n tales como Manuel J. Castillo 鈥淣ey鈥, Rafael Lara Lara, Rub茅n Encalada Alonso, Antonio Enriquez Savignac, Josefina Castro R铆os, Tulio Arroyo Marroqu铆n, Pilar Jufresa y Elena Garc铆a entre otros.
A 42 a帽os de la fundaci贸n de Canc煤n, no cabe duda que seguimos siendo una ciudad j贸ven y si bien eso implica que debemos madurar y ser m谩s responsables, tambi茅n nos da la pauta para cambiar nuestro, nuestra realidad y mejorarla, trabajando juntos, respetando y amando a nuestro medio ambiente y a nuestra sociedad, vamos construyendo poco a poco nuestra verdadera identidad.
Porque Canc煤n es una ciudad como pocas en el mundo, tan prehisp谩nica como cosmopolita, tan hedonista y moderna como de esencia milenaria, tan llena de contrastes, idiomas, colores, costumbres, intereses y opiniones.
Conocer nuestro pasado nos permite saber de d贸nde venimos y d贸nde estamos parados, en Canc煤n la historia se escribe d铆a a d铆a, todos con el amor que le profesamos, con la actividad que desempe帽amos, juntos construimos y tenemos la oportunidad de darle significado al Canc煤n verdadero, de elegir lo que queremos y sobre todo de dictar hacia d贸nde vamos.
Las fotograf铆as del desfile de la Identidad #Cancun42
聽Identity Parade conmemorating the 42nd anniversary of Cancun, the Photo Essay.
In a City of contrasts, famous for its white sand beaches and turqoise ocean, the other side of Cancun, the one that works to support the resorts, clean the pools, make the beds, cook the food, and take care of itself, tries to build an identity for their city.
A Circus artist with megaphone directs the crowd of participants and expectators towards the square known as “Parque las Palapas”, behind him a Burger King.
Two girls wearing butterfly wings and glitter, lay on the corridor that leads the way for the parade, behind them their hula hoops, custom made, which they use to dance between cars during the change of lights in traffic.
The Golden outfit of an Aztec princess stands out while the parade continues to move
Several Marching bands make their way through the city, announcing the intensity of the celebration
High School cheerleaders raise their batons towards the palm trees, a mixture of our endemic environment with an outside tradition (cheerleading)
Local citizens march with messages of love for their city, the woman holds a flag that reads I Love Cancun, yet she hesitates to conmemorate with open enthusiasm
The local organization Pioneros, in charge of the parade, making an effort to include people, to make them feel part of Cancun.
Dancers show tastes of mexican Folklore
All of them, marching together
Some were walking alone, separated from the crowd,
Some floating and standing out in the middle of the crowd
From the ancient cultures of the mayan world, burning Copal and sounding the seashell
To the new generations that are growing and learning in a city with over a million people, a rich cultural inheritance and a great economic importance to Mexico.
In Cancun people from over 100 nationalities converge, you can hear people speaking mayan, spanish, englush, russian, portuguese, french, german…etc.
It’s a small city yet world wide known
Throughout the years, what started out as a financial project to attract tourism to the country, has become a real city, far away from the Hotel Zone.
People from all over the country and the world have left their skies to come and establish in Cancun, trendy, luxurious, naturally blessed, diverse, complex.
There is more to Cancun than meets the eye.