[tweetmeme source=”elizabethev” only_single=false] Let’s begin by acknowledging what a gigantic nerdball I am. Good. And I will continue by promising I am almost done rambling about my vacation. We just have to talk about Tulum and another day of Cool Stuff Explorations and then you can stop wanting to poke me in the eye. Let’s roll.
The day we spent amongst the Mayan ruins at Tulum nearly blew my tiny mind. I was like,
“Whoa! Look at that! Whoooaaaa! Look at that! How did they doooo that? Whoa! Look at that!”
And our tour guide was like,
“Whoa! Pipe down, ya freak! You’re single-handedly ruining my tour of the ruins. By the way, we offered you all umbrellas for a reason. You look like a drown poodle. Take this poncho as a sign of my annoyance with you.”
I literally walked around the park with my mouth wide open, taking photographs in the pouring rain (with Nick protecting my camera), looking like the most nerd-mazing tourist on the planet, trying to soak it all in. I wish it hadn’t been pouring, but we were in the jungle, so I suppose that’s to be expected. Plus, the rain made everything seem even more mysterious. Here are a few of the things I learned:
- Tulum is Mayan for “wall.” In other words (i.e., in my imagination), someone probably pointed in the general vicinity of the ruins of the walled city and was like, “What is this?” And someone answered, “A wall… obviously.” And then the first person was like, “I just discovered Tulum. Please. Shower me with praise.” Tulum may have actually been named Zama, meaning city of dawn.
- The city is pre-Columbian (and therefore pre-Pinta, pre-Nina, and pre-Santa Maria) and reached its height between the 1000 and 1600 A.D. The city was inhabited by the Mayas for approximately 80 years after the arrival of European colonists. It is speculated that because the Mayas worshiped a god who looked like a white man, they did not immediately feel threatened by the Spanish. Who knows? (Probably someone, obvi.)
- Only 500 people lived within the walls of the city. The city was a noble city, and only the ruling and priest classes were allowed to live within the walls. Everyone else lived outside the walls. The only time all people were welcomed into the city (for reasons other than work) were on feast days– on these days, our tour guide told us, everyone wore white robes. I bet that would be incredible to see. At feasts there would be dancing, competitions, performances and sacrifices (some human, some not human).
- The pyramids and other structures were rebuilt every 52 years. Unbelievable, right? Meanwhile it’s taking me 52 years to pick a shade of gray paint for our walls.
- Speaking of paint, the buildings were painted a vibrant red and blue, using paprika and indigo which were acquired on trade routes. Tulum was a major trade port for the Mayan empire and could be easily accessed by land or water. The Mayas traded cacao, salt, jade and obsidian at Tulum.
- We learned a lot about the Mayan calendar, mathematical system and religion, too. Because the Mayas understood that the universe was logical and predictable, they were obsessed with time. By predicting cycles, they were able to set their own cycles for farming and so on. Their calendar system was used to dictate everything from behavior to when religious ceremonies would be held. I am
sort ofnot at all equipped to explain this stuff. But trust me– it’s incredible. The Mayas also developed an extremely sophisticated writing system.
We ordered a personalized Mayan calendar while we were there (and I scored my very own luchador mask, but I am saving that gem for later). We needed to provide a significant date, and all I could think of was Clark’s birthday (weird, I know). It turns out Clark‘s animal spirit is a dog. The accuracy is chilling.
Nick and I met the
Saturday Friday (please see the comments section hahahaha) after St. Patrick’s Day a hundred years ago, but truth be told, I can’t remember the actual date. We could have just used one of our birthdays for the calendar, but I wanted both of our names to be on it (you know, in case we ever need to prove our whereabouts… these are the things I worry about), if only so I could see how Nick’s last name would be misspelled (this seems to happen all the time). Somehow, only Nick’s first name was spelled wrong. Touche, souvenir seller, touche. I don’t know why I am telling you this.
Okay. More pictures.
I may be a professional nerd, but clearly I am an amateur historian– so, please forgive me if a. none of this makes sense or b. some of this turns out to not be true. And do let me know if you’ve got some facts to share. I paid as much attention as I could, while still yelling “Whooaaaa!” and pointing at things. I am sure you understand. It’s a lot to fathom.
Also On Tap for Today:
- Testing out paint samples (this could go one of two ways– one of them is horribly wrong)
- Picking out some fun artwork
- I like this post on bewilderment 🙂
What’s your nerdiest habit? Come on, let your nerd flag fly!