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 Zamá (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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Making a life

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“We make a living by what we get, but we make a life by what we give”
-Brahma Kumaris

Look for Goodness

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“In everything, goodness is there, our goal is to find it. In every person, the best is there, our job is to recognize it.

In every situation, the positive is there, our opportunity is to see it. In every problem the solution is there, our responsibility is to provide it.

In every setback, the success is there, our adventure is to discover it.

In every crisis the reason is there, our challenge is to understand it.

By seeing the goodness, we’ll be very enthusiastic and our lives will be richer.”

– Brahma Kumaris

Weekend adventure in Isla Mujeres

Isla Mujeres.

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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 Córdoba, 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 😀

Practicing Portaits in class

Here are some pictures I took in my class with Photographer Eric Blanc.

I liked the dynamic because we all had to model and to photograph, to be able to experience what models have to do and that way we can have a better idea of what to ask of them.

We had to create a character and tell a story through our portraits, here is what I came up with.

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Shot with Sony A77

Photography Field Trip: Crococun

The end of my photography class with Photographer Eric Blanc is near, and as part of our program, we went on a field trip to get some nature shots.

We visited a Crocodile farm near Cancun in Puerto Morelos and were able to photograph many interesting things, but the best part of it all is that we were lucky enough to presence the birth of some newborn crocodiles!! and a pregnant Spider Monkey  with a little one waiting for the family to expand.

spider monkeys live in the wild but they approach the park because they find comfort in the preserved jungle, since the surrounding areas have been devastated they are running out of their habitat, just like many other native species.

The job that biologists and young people do at Crococun is very important for the local wildlife, so I hope you enjoy the pictures and if you ever visit Cancun, Puerto Morelos or Playa del Carmen, don’t hesitate to visit, they have guided tours and your entrance fee will help preserve wildlife.

For more on Crococun visit their webpage here

Our tour guide after opening the door for us to greet the mexican xoloitzcuintle dogs, a very special thanks to out tour guide and all of the staff at the park who make a great job in informing visitors and preserving natural life.

And here are the newborns!

By: Kristina Guerrero

Photos: Kristina Guerrero

Mariachi

México es sinónimo de color, alegría, amabilidad, calidez, el Maricahi y su música son una representación de todas esas características de la cultura mexicana ante el mundo.

Filología del Mariachi

A nivel popular e incluso muchos diccionarios enciclopédicos afirman, el término mariachi se deriva de la palabra francesa “mariage”, que quiere decir matrimonio.

Este supuesto se basa en la creencia de que en los tiempos de la Intervención Francesa en México (acaecida en 1862), durante una boda de rancheros en un poblado de Jalisco llegaron unos soldados franceses, quienes sorprendidos ante tal jolgorio, en el que los músicos tenían un papel muy importante, preguntaron sobre aquella fiesta. El interlocutor lógicamente contestó: “C’est un mariage” (en francés), y así fue como los franceses denominaron al conjunto musical, sin embargo éste origen fue descartado por estudios realizados en las fuentes de la época de la Colonia.

Ricardo Espinosa afirmaba en su columna “Como dijo” -publicada en El Sol de México el 8 de abril del 2001- que el vocablo mariachi deriva de un canto aborigen a la Virgen María, en el que se mezclan el náhuatl, el español y el latín. “Este canto empezaba diciendo ‘Maria ce son’… que quería decir ‘te amo María’”.

Según Espinosa, la teoría es resultado de las investigaciones del canónigo Luis Enrique Orozco, historiador de la arquidiócesis de Guadalajara, basadas en un documento encontrado en Cocula que data del año 1695

Lo cierto es que el manuscrito de Rosamorada, Nayarit, constituye el testimonio más antiguo del uso del vocablo antes de la Intervención Francesa.
El documento consiste en una carta fechada el 7 de mayo de 1852, escrita por el presbítero Cosme de Santa Anna al arzobispo Diego Aranda y Carpinteiro, en la que se quejaba de las escandalosas celebraciones de los pobladores con motivo del Sábado de Gloria.

Jesús Jáuregui reproduce en su libro un extracto del documento:

“Al acabarse los divinos oficios de mi parroquia en el sábado de Gloria, encuentro en la plaza y frente de la misma iglesia se hallan dos fandangos, una mesa de juego y hombres que a pie y a caballo andan gritando como furiosos en consecuencia del vino que beben y que aquello es ya un desorden muy lamentable; sé que esto es en todos los años en los días solemnes de la resurrección del Señor, y sólo que ya sabemos cuántos crímenes y ecsesos se cometen en estas diversiones, que generalmente se llaman por estos puntos, mariachis.

Hermes afirma que la palabra mariachi es un regionalismo que contiene la mezcla de voces cahítas y tarahumaras, y cuyo significado se traduce como “lo que suena en corrido”, concepto que alude a la rapidez con la que los músicos ejecutaban sus instrumentos.

Con el paso del tiempo y la ubicación geográfica del pueblo coca dentro de la región -la cual fue modificándose a causa de ciertos factores climáticos-, el significado de la palabra cambió a “lo que suena en el cerro” o “violines del cerro”.

Conforme los músicos de mariachi bajaron de la serranía y abandonaron Cocollan se dieron a conocer en otros pueblos -principalmente después de la etapa de Independencia-, por lo que dichas acepciones perdieron fuerza y al final el término mariachi significó solamente la propia agrupación

En cuanto a la fecha y lugar de nacimiento de la agrupación, es inútil fijarlos con verdadera certeza, porque a fin de cuentas el mariachi es una institución basada en una tradición oral que pasó de generación en generación entre los habitantes del occidente de México, y en la que se fundieron rasgos indígenas, españoles e incluso africanos.

Por lo tanto, el mariachi actual es resultado de un genuino mestizaje que incluyó la música, el canto y la danza, aunque al arribar a la capital mexicana y darse a conocer al mundo en los años 20 del siglo pasado, su esencia se haya modificado completamente.

Fuente: Patricia Alamilla

Fotografías: Kristina Guerrero

Lights at night in a park in Mexico

I always like to go to this place called “Parque Las Palapas” in Cancun, it’s a place for gathering of families and it just reminds me of the town part of Cancun, it’s a very local place, opposite to the hotel zone and beaches, makes a lot of contrast and I like it because I common elements to mexican culture in different parts of the country like Mexico City or Chiapas, there is always this folklore represented in bright colors and lights.

Nights in the town are like traveling in time, like going back to a time when everyone gathered at the square and enjoyed the time and the place, there’s people selling food, a local church, kids playing, families, crafts for sale, groups gathering to read and write, music playing at restaurants close by.

I guess there’s a place like that in every corner of the world, so I’m glad to share this one.

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A cart selling all sorts of rosaries in different colors and materials
 
A food cart selling the local version of a crêpe “Marquesita” and next to it a cart selling food that reads “Super Churros Santos” next to the church.
 

I like the way that because they are next to the church they use creative names like that “Super Holy Snacks” translation for Super Churros Santos.

by: Kristina Guerrero

 

Electrical Storm

There is a storm watch over Cancun, for a few hours the climate was very hot, suddenly heavy dark clouds started winning over the blue sky, a few drops or rain came down.

Then the horizon became bleak and the feeling of the power of a lightning very close by struck (and actually it burned my modem) but all I could think of is to wait for another one and see how the electrical storm would develop.

Here are the pictures:

 

The beginning of the storm, the heavy clouds gaining on the horizon while the sun was going down

The climate became very windy, a cool strong wind that made the palm trees seem like rubber bands

The sunset was fighting the heavy clouds and they formed a circle up in the sky which turned pink and purple

Waiting for the next lightning to strike

I got lucky and caught a little bit of one

I always look at the sky and the clouds and this was a very special show, to watch them turn into a Nebula, so similar to the insides of a Star

Just a little bit of clear sky left in bright blue

All pictures by: Kristina Guerrero, taken in Cancun, Mexico, August-04-2012.

Original Colors and Pictures (not edited)

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Just an image that inspired me to do it and share the message.