My day started with going to Iximche’, the Mayan ruins very near Tecpan. It was estimated that about 10,000 people once inhabited this place, though it is only a guess because population levels were already falling before the Spanish arrived. These are the oldest ruins of the area, but the Spaniards did a very good job destroying everything so the most impressive buildings of today were reconstructed. In the typical Spanish style, they showed up, got the Kaqchikel people to fight against another tribe, then turned on them and razed their city. The ruins are very distinct from those in Peru. Stairs up to the temples are much more common and more steep than those of the Incas. Though to be fair, the majority that I saw in Peru were integrated to the terraces, so they had a completely different style. I can’t fully describe to you the differences I noticed between the ruins, so I will just show you pictures:
Near the back of the ruins is a site for Mayan Ceremonies. When we walked up a couple was on their knees in front of one of the small “altars,” which are circular rocks on the ground. There is also a reconstructed rock structure near the site. Our guide first walked us through the meanings of the names and the characteristics associated with each name. Mine said something about medicine, but about half of them did so I had fairly good odds. The ceremonies have a very interesting mix of old and new. Old incense, old seeds, old herbs, yet it is accompanied by the sugary components of candles, pop, chocolate, and processed sugar. It was interesting to think that such ceremonies had been taking place there for nearly 600 years.
I went to the artisan’s market today after Iximche’, and I got some chocolate, chocolate-flavored peanut butter (It’s hard to find PB down here), and some hacky-sacks. Not a bad day, and I barely spent any money.
The rest of the day was uneventful. I did make progress on my medical school applications, and have almost finalized my list of schools to apply to. I think I will be able to meet my goal of submitting on next Sunday.