Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Travels in Mexico : Impressions

I learnt many things on my recent trip to Mexico.  First and foremost that x in 'Mexico' is actually pronounced h.  I was terribly ashamed that a large part of the world (first and foremost - me!) blatantly mispronounces the name of this country.

Our hosts - family friends of yore (a remarkable Indian-Mexican relationship that has spanned decades and generations) were overwhelmingly kind and affectionate.  "My home is yours," a Mexican (and also Indian) saying seemed really to be put into practice.  They were delighted to hear my first Spanish word : salsa - a fiery little word that encompasses so much that is quintessentially Mexican.

Mexico is a country of extremes and diversity, of violence and tolerance, harsh living and incredible hospitality - somewhat like India.  Several Mexicans that we met on the streets or in shops were convinced that there was a strong bond that linked Mexico and India through the centre of the earth.

Our journey was filled with road trips - passing through vast expanses where no one lived, halting at ancient Mayan ruins - trying to understand the immense body of knowledge and beliefs that were contained within these.  Also, inevitably, stopping at small local places to try traditional favourites.  It was enjoyable and soul satisfying.

We travelled a fair bit in the few days that we had - beginning with Mexico city, moving on to Chiapas (close to Guatemala) and ending in the Yucatan penninsula (not far from Cuba).  We were on the move, everyday, and my mind is so full of impressions that it will take a little time to disentangle them and write them down, neatly and systematically!  Meanwhile, here are some visual impressions of the places we visited.  More will follow!

Home made tacos, fresh off the griddle

Home made tacos with many layers of topping - our breakfast

Heading towards Guatemala

Palenque - ancient site of tombs and temples

We try some live forest termites - they taste like mint!

Sign outside one of the many temples in Palenque

Hieroglyphics (museum reproduction, Palenque)

Hot and flavourful!

Tamales - corn with a pork stuffing, steamed in corn leaves

A succulent iguana

Music everywhere! - Merida

Elegant Spanish dancing, Merida

Eating human hearts (and other gory stories), Chichen Itza

Pyramid yoga - a north American recipe for sunstroke! Chichen Itza

Street food festival, Merida

On Sunday the streets are for cycling, Merida (and many other Mexican cities)

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