Mahahual, Mexico & Mayan magic

Updated: May 5

A BIT ABOUT THIS PIECE: 

We left our home in Australia on the first of March 2018. Masking our saddness to leave with the drunk excitement of travel.(!).

For 3 months we moved through Mesoamerica - mayan territory.  Spanning from present day Yucatan peninsula down through Chiapas (Mexico) and Guatemala. 

I wrote this in San Cristobal De Las Casas, after leaving the Yucutan (Tullum, Bacalar, Mahahual) by Bus. 

What's expressed here is from a conversation with Dory, a Mayan man we had the pleasure of sharing time with in Mahahual.

His insights and perspectives on working, making plans, the rat race, catholic conquest and more.

First a short poem, by me, written at the time…




MAYA


welcome home

baby

strong woman

    finding feet

jungle kitten, paws to big for body 

   boop 

           bomp

Boowm

kinda cuurvy like. badaboom.                                        …….kaalakatta:kajal eyes 


big paws always lunging too far forward. beyond what the minds-eye can predict. biting off more than I can chew, but still, I lick the plate clean.


@ age 24  - anointed on the matrimonial balcony, The Mandap of Manali. in an alternate state of MAYA. till now, fig ripening 28.

you’re in ZAPATISTA TERRITORY - hermana.


Lacadon jungle jaguars are your teachers now. 



Welcome to Country. I pay my respects to this land and her indigenous tenders, the Maya. To their elders past and present, and to all indigenous peoples everywhere. May we open BOTH ears and listen, may your voices reteach all of us whose intuitions have atrophied, your brothers and sisters. 



March 2018.


We’re sitting on Cozi’s balcony, blazing green. Breezy monday night session in Mahahual, Mehico. Butts stick salty|sweaty on plastic chairs facing the ocean, which we can hear but not see; we’re in the locals' apartment zone and those aren’t beachfront, anymore. 

We’re with Dory -  a Maya man raised in a traditional community in nearby Bacalar. Dory’s face is broad and smiling and his eyes are small like mine, especially when he's laughing. He and a friend run a shop on the beachfront selling goods to tourists. Every person that enters his shop, he hands 'em a shot of tequila and a square of Mayan chocolate. He rolls in one motion, fingers twisting in opposite directions in a swift swoosh, and lights up.


“We in Maya have a saying...


We don’t need money; we have food. Everywhere there is food: cocos, bananas, fish, pigs, chickens, everything grows here. You reach your hand out and you can eat.

In my community, when I was a kid, there wasn’t anyone that was fat.  Maybe there was one guy...but just one.  And that guy, he was probably rich.  Now there are fat people in my village.

And now when you look at a fat people, you know…they are sick. 


They stopped making their own tortilla at home. They started buying from the store. 

Tortilliarias making masa with that corn … that corn from the USA that they feed to their cattle. GMO cattle corn, no joke.

Here in the South, [of Mexico] we used to grow all the corn.  Now because NAFTA obliterated the corn industry we're able to survive because of tourism — thank you to the cruises!  Corn fields replaced by hotels and shops.


The Maya believe in The Elements - The Sun, The Moon, The Ocean, The Sky, The Earth, The Stars. These are the gods. 

The Gods - The Elements - same thing. 

On a full moon, it is good to bath in it, naked, in the ocean. We, in Maya, believe that the moon has the power to shine in on one side of a person and out the other.  It goes through you...cleanses you."


Our conversation is easy & deep. Real. We move between topics...



CATHOLICS:

"all about guilt...


We [Maya} believe in the elements. Worshipping gods that you can actually see. They are part of your daily life and the whole experience of being.

What did we trade that for? [referring to the Mexican indigenous peoples’ adoption of Catholicism since the Colonial Conquest.] 

Catholicism. 

Where you pray your whole life, repent, & work tirelessly for a God that you can never see. and never meet. an illusive God. You work so hard your whole life for something you get only after death.”


{If your good, that is! Remember, no sinners in heaven, I recall}



PLANS:

“Nothing ever goes to plan….you think about what its going to look like, but it never goes to plan.

I don’t make plans.

I never make plans.

I take it as I go.

Sometimes life is easy and we make it so complicated for ourselves. We get angry and disappointed when things don’t go to plan…so why make ‘em?”

"I try to party one day, relax one day. Like that.

But you never know man...” he laughs “...in 20 minutes I am going to pick up some friends from Limones. They’re coming in from Mexico City, and they said ‘make sure to bring lots of weed and cervezas.’  Today was meant to be my day to take it easy and sleep early... but you know, it’s like that."


MAHAHUAL:

Dory moved here 8 years ago, around 2010. There were a couple dozen people here and Dory knew everyone. He lived on the beach for the first 6 months, sleeping in a hamaca and smoking joints. “No one ever bothered me,” he says "its not like that."


Fast forward and Mahahual is penciled into every Caribbean Cruise's dance card. We observe with satirical amazment. From 12 pm to 4 pm it’s a circus here.  Some days it's the 'family cruise' - full of little kiddies in SPF onesies and fat families eating platters of nachos, tanking super-sized sugar-drinks from strangling straws. Other days, it's the ‘college #springbreak2018’ cruise. It is exactly what you imagine. 


The town has grown — now host to hoards of hotels, dive centers, ocean-scalped-shells for sale, and tacos al pastor roasting on spits. Despite the changes, the real Mahahual remains epically chilled out.


“When it gets too busy here, I'll move back to Bacalar.” 


He likes to keep the scale of things small.


He’s part of a community there, about 30 minutes from Bacalar, that his father started. He was the first one born to this community, then of just 12 people. Now there are 150 families, mostly Maya, living together. 


“In my village they don’t sell alcohol there. No need. Damaging for the psyche and soul, damaging for the community. But they smoke a lot of green!”



POLITICS:

“The USA is what fuels the drug cartels. Mass consumption of cocaine.  And the greatest irony…I’ll tell you. The men that are running the finance & agribusiness firms and neocolonial bullshit from their ivory towers, are the same men that are taking most of the cocaine.  Right now 30 people a day are dying in Northern Mexico from the drug cartels…20,000 people last year.”

{imagine all those families}

“Mexico is a country of 120 million. 60 million people live with no official paycheck. 5 million people in Mexico are involved with the mafia. all hermanos. Lots of corruption in Mexico. 

In Maya, no one needs to be ruled by no one. We are all our own leader. We are all the leaders of our life.  We don’t need someone to lead our life. We are taught now to be followers.  We don’t need politics and governments. Who wants to be told what to do?!  We're all from different places.”

CITIES + LIFE IN THE USA

“In Mahahual you see your friend 20 times a day. 20 times!”


He waves lazily, ‘ah heeey man’.


“In a city, you waste so much of your time in transportation. Just getting places. 

in Maya, we don’t believe in that. It's a waste of time. Why would I want to do that? Right now in Mexico City, people commute 3 to 4 hours for work. That's crazy, man. I would rather work there…” He smiles and points from the balcony the beach on the next block.


"I lived in Virginia for 5 years, from age 20 to 25. I like they way you guys live there in the US, I really do…” he laughs hard and firm and says "but you have to work ALL the damn time! You miss one day, you're fired, your life is over!


If you have money, your fine. These days you can buy pretty much everything you want. Pretty much. But if you don’t have money….”  as he fades softly into the implied sad reality.  


"The working world, is a manipulation. Remember, the Maya say 'we don’t need money; we have food.' 

Thank you Dory. Keep on keeping on.


He set the tone for us early on on that trip: let go of any ‘plan', go with the flow, and find as many opportunities as possible to listen and hear what Mayan bloodfolk have to say.


Your comments, questions and insights are welcome! Thanks for reading. 




#travel #mexico #indigenous #indigenousknowledge #foodculture #beach #mesoamerica #nature #adventure #beachlife #twentyeighteen #people

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