Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Mayan Food Then and Now...

Our sixth day in Honduras was fantastic. We woke up early and had another great breakfast at our hotel, Casa de Cafe. I had waffles, fruit, juice and coffee. I knew I was going to need a filling breakfast for the hike ahead so I devoured every crumb. After that we walked through town in search of the road to the ruins. It was a wonderfully peaceful walk along a cobblestone path. There were interesting glimpses of daily life along the way: we bought yet another corn husk doll from two young girls, we saw a rancher leading his cows out into the fields, and we watched people walking out to the ruins for work or play. At the entrance to the ruins we met a nice guy from Israel named Avi and ended up sharing a guide with him for our trip through the ruins. The guided tour was fantastic: beautiful views, tons of information, and photo opportunities galore. I learned more about early Mayan culture than I ever thought I wanted to know. I learned the grisly details of ball games and human sacrifice, the Mayan beliefs about the afterlife, and how the royalty lived.

After the tour of the ruins we went to the museum. After having such and informative guide through the real thing the museum was a bit of a let down. I found myself learning more about Israeli politics from our new friend than I did about Mayan culture. So after a casual stroll through the artifacts we headed down the road to the second set of ruins. This was where the common folk lived. Our guide there was Spanish speaking, but easy enough to understand. He showed us how the average citizens spent their time... where they buried their dead (it turns out that they laid grandma to rest under the bed...yikes), how they spent their time, how they made a living, and what they did for fun. Finally I got to the place in the tour where they showed us the ruins of a kitchen and I asked the question that I'd been wanting to ask all day. "¿Qué comieron?" (what did they eat?). Our guide turned to me and said "carne, frijoles, calabaza, maíz, plátanos y tortillas" (meat, beans, squash, corn, plantains and tortillas). I wanted to laugh... because that is just about the exact thing you find on the platos tipicos of today... and it is almost the exact thing that I had eaten for lunch and dinner for the past few days. I guess it goes to show that when you get it right the first time, there is no need to change a good thing?

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