Tuesday, February 19, 2013


Indigenous women were washing clothes
 in the stream, but declined to be photographed.
These young men were delighted to have themselves
photographed swimming in their underwear.
What might be called Open-Space in the US is here called La Naturaleza. San Cristobal is surrounded by temperate rain forests growing on steep limestone mountains. From caves and springs come streams and rivers that are pristine until they pass through the town. From there, they continue on as open sewers.

On the tour in January, Arnulfo took us up one of the stream valleys, where Chamulan people squat on the land in what is supposed to be a bioreserva. It belongs to some government entity that either does not care or doesn't have the resources to move the people to a different location. 1100 years ago the Mayan civilization throughout Mexico, Guatemala and Belize collapsed. There were a lot of reasons, not the least of which was overpopulation and the inability to grow enough food. The indigenous population has been increasing rapidly during the last few decades. The villages expel anyone who doesn't follow the rules, one of which is adherence and loyalty to the village's religion. With the influx of Protestant missionaries, many families have converted and been kicked out. They go where they can find a small plot of land to farm and build a small house. They have no mortgage and few ways to make money. Their farms provide subsistence living. The women are engaged in various crafts and embroidery, or they wander about town loaded down with cheap rebozos from India, selling them to tourists. Their children are typically not in school as evidenced by the sheer number out in the streets selling animalitos, candy, gum, and shoe shines.

Graphic sign, pretty self-explanatory,
especially the last one!!
The man I saw at Oventic is a hawker who gives out flyers for the Argentine steak restaurant to people on the Andador. Cuahtemoc is an interesting guy with many stories, several children and a few ex-wives. He's multi-lingual from having been raised in other countries, so he's got the perfect job chatting up the German, French and Japanese tourists. He also volunteers to teach Spanish, reading and writing, to indigenous people in Oventic. For fun, he takes people up into the mountains for long hikes into La Naturaleza.

I went with him and four other women, around my age, up the stream valley I'd seen many times from the Guadalupe church overlook. We climbed up and over a little hill that had some nice views. The river runs wide, shallow and cold at the bottom, but near the top of the valley, the water gushes over large boulders and fallen logs. The forest is gouged with limestone quarries, some still being worked. We climbed up to a small cave still used for religious ceremonies. The ceiling was black from years of smoke. Chunks of copal incense were scattered on the floor along with many small red seeds and dried up pine boughs.

Guadalupe church hill with fields below
A real attempt has been made to create a park near the top of the valley, where people can come with families and picnic, play futbol on the wide open green field, and enjoy the river. On the day we went, a man was teaching his kids to drive. They circled the road and field in a small green car that burped blue smoke. Two privies and a little cafe shack sit next to a building that may be home to the caretaker. We met him after he saw us on the other side of the river. He walked across on a single log with a puppy in his arms to collect the five peso fee from each of us. An older man, his only "weapon" was a machete which he probably used much more frequently on bushes than hoodlums.

We walked back on the road. It was a whole different scene. Men with big trucks were loading up chunks of limestone from the quarry. A giant motorhome full of Aussies was camped by the river along with several backpackers they'd picked up along the way. That side of the river was full of trash, wine bottles, and discarded clothing.

Obviously they hadn't understood the sign.

The caretaker and Cuahtemoc

Hiking back on the road

Thursday, February 14, 2013

Travel Grows the Soul

Three years ago, when I started this blog, I named it Soul Investing because of something my friend Anna said. She loves travel too, and sees any money spent on it as an investment in her growth as a human being, in her soul. I didn't give it much thought at the time, that a blog called Soul Investing would be stuck into the category of a religious blog. As an agnostic, I wasn't prepared for the sometimes vitriolic comments I've gotten from die-hard fundamentalists who think my blog ought to be talking about how wonderful God made the world, and I am evil for giving all the credit to nature and mankind.

Anna was so right. Travel changes a person.

The able-bodied who can
work, work so very hard
to earn just a few pesos a day.
After the hundredth beggar has asked for money, after you see a man with no arms or legs plunked down in front of a church with a baseball cap full of change, your previously hardened heart just breaks. Someone takes care of this man. Begging is all he can do. His family or friends, or maybe even his beggar-master use that money to feed and shelter him, to support themselves and others. It's ugly, a long and boring way to make a living. It's humiliating. And it's not my life.

I was sitting in front of OO-LaLa, the best French pastry shop in San Cristobal, having my weekly indulgence: a chocolate croissant and cup of Chiapas-grown coffee. An old woman came up and asked for money. In the past if I've begged off (no pun intended) saying I had no "moneditas" (change), then the beggars have asked for a pastry instead, assuming I had larger bills I could spend.

I looked closely at this woman. Judging from her wrinkles and graying hair I would have guessed her to be around 65 to 70 years old, but she could be younger. Years of working in the high altitude sun can age a person. Younger than that, would put her at my own age, 60. I gave her a few pesos.

There, but for the Grace of God, go I.

The "Grace of God" can also be thought of as the "Lottery of the Womb". All my women friends and I  were raised in the latter half of the 20th century, in a culture where it wasn't customary to beat women senseless, rape them, or keep them as virtual slaves. I was born to middle class parents who valued education (both were teachers), and who had enough resources that I never went hungry or shoeless. I had an extended family that gave me lots of opportunities to develop the social skills I would need later in life, and I was encouraged to think, experiment, and create. In other words, I won the Lottery of the Womb.

What did I do to deserve that? Nothing. What did that begging woman do to deserve her life? Nothing. Clearly she didn't win it big like I did even though we were born around the same time and only a couple thousand miles apart. There's nothing fair about my incredible good fortune or her terrible fortune. And as fortunes go, she has it way better than people in Africa who live in much worse conditions, who are starving to death and who must watch their children do the same. I suppose she can feel grateful to be able to beg in a city with lots of rich tourists. What small consolation. I can only hope that she has a home to go to at night, where the other family members pool their coins and can purchase enough beans and rice to feed them all.

I've changed because of travel. I used to believe that we can all accomplish anything we dream up, we just have to work at it. It was my American cultural programming. Anyone in America can grow up to be the President, right? People who believe that God will "take care of you, will provide for you, will never give you more than you can handle, etc." are people who have also won the Lottery and haven't traveled very far. Life has a way of being far more complex than those simple platitudes and my own life is richer as a result of finding that out.

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Slow Travel Benefits

Adding some dance moves to the song!
I've been in a small apartment on Adelina Flores for about six weeks now. Next door is a beautiful hacienda with a lovely garden that I can look down into if I climb up a narrow spiral staircase to the roof. And every now and then, maybe twice a week, a very professional choir practices over there. They sing show tunes from Man of la Mancha, and Mexican/Spanish popular songs like Besame Mucho and Eres Tu. Their lovely singing is just one of the many benefits of slow travel.

This evening, with nothing much to keep me home, and grateful the hot sun had gone down, I wandered about the town for an hour or so, and as usual, spent money. There were three little kids, all under the age of ten, running around together, each with his/her own basket of animalitos, little clay animals that are made in Aguascatenango. The kids sell them for 10 pesos apiece. The smallest one,  a boy, maybe five years old, slipped on some loose gravel and fell. His basket tipped over and most of the animalitos fell out. He burst into tears. I wasn't sure if it was from pain, or fear to go home without the animals or the money for them.

I got the kid up and brushed him off. The oldest girl was picking up all the pieces and counting them. Nine were broken, a rooster's multifeathered tail was in the boy's hand. I offered her 50 pesos for the broken ones and the pieces too. I figured I could probably glue them back together, and this way the kids would have money too. She was happy and the two older girls walked off across the street. The little boy tailed after me and complained that I'd given his money to that girl, as if he didn't know her. I asked "Isn't she your sister?" and he shook his head. I looked at her across the street and she was looking at us. I shouted, "You are his sister right?" She nodded and then yelled at him to cross over. The little stinker was trying to con me out of more money!  These kids might not be going to school, but nobody can ever say they're dumb.

When I got back to my place, I could hear that choir singing next door. It was so pretty and such a nice evening, so I stood in front of the closed door and listened. Within just a few minutes the door opened and the conductor asked me to come in and sit down. It felt pretty awkward for a few minutes, but the singers smiled a lot and I began to feel right at home. Clearly they were serious, but it didn't stop them from joking around and occasionally breaking into dance moves. They practiced for more than an hour and a half. I asked to take some photos and the conductor said "Of course!" There was a framed picture on the wall of them all dressed up for a performance. They are called El Grupo Contracanto. There were 11 women and 9 men, ranging in age from late twenties to probably seventy five.

They sang a wide variety of songs with complex harmonies, A couple of the soloists were impressive. After they sang Besame Mucho, I told them a friend of mine has a cow doll that sings Besame Moooooooocho, and they laughed.

Monday, February 11, 2013

New Bathroom at Casa de Las Flores

Newly remodeled bathroom,
with roof and glass blocks for light.
This was a happy week for me. Last summer, my friends and I put on a Mexican Mole dinner for about 30 people in Los Alamos, NM, to raise money for Casa de Las Flores, a day school for the street children of San Cristobal. We raised a bit over $700 and sent that money to the school. There were two collapsed bathrooms in the back yard. Our donation was used to remodel one of them into a new usable bathroom. Previously, the school only had two functioning toilets and one shower inside the building.

Nancy Orr of the Amigos organization, a big sponsor of the school, volunteered to manage the remodel project. She did an excellent job.

It would have been prohibitive to tear out the wall between the two bathrooms, so Nancy opted to remodel only one side, put in a new cement floor, drain, toilet and roof. She hired an albanil to do the work. He installed a sink on the outside of the bathroom. The new shower took up all the space the sink would have needed. Actually it's a good idea for the sink to be on the outside, then anyone can wash their hands without waiting for someone to leave the bathroom. Plants were planted directly under it, forcing users to stand on either side but allowing two kids to wash at the same time.

It's a typical Mexican bathroom. The shower head comes out of the wall directly above the drain on the floor and the toilet sits against the opposite wall. There is no shower curtain or other barrier. Amazingly, because of the low water flow, the whole room doesn't get soaked,  or even splashed very much.

Then, in order to use the new bathroom, the garden in front of the door was planted in flowers and bushes, with a path covered in pine straw that makes a relatively dry walkway to the door.

The before picture!
To my astonishment, there was money left over. Some time this week, my friend Margarita, who volunteers at Casa del las Flores and I will meet with Claudia, the director, to determine what other capital improvement the school might need and see if the money might cover all or some of that.

Such a colorful choice of tiles!

The new shower

Friday, February 8, 2013

Oventic and Zapatista Art

Women in rebellion.
In Chiapas, the Zapatistas have resurged. My friend Arnulfo managed, accidentally, to be part of the occupation of Ocosingo on Dec 21, the last day of the Mayan 5000 year calendar. During the first decade of the 21st century, the Zapatistas have kept a very low profile. Kinoki and Casa del Pan are two San Cristobal restaurants with impromptu movie theaters. You can see documentaries and outright propaganda films on a variety of subjects including the 900 assassination attempts against Fidel Castro. I've seen several documentaries on the Zapatistas and the mass slaughter in the town of Acteal by government sponsored paramilitary soldiers. I've also talked with people who work at a Zapatista-friendly restaurant called Tierra Adentro. One waiter was actually present during that attack when he lost several of his family members.

From this background, I can understand the reticence of the indigenous people in Chiapas to trust anyone who might have ties to the Mexican government, or with the US government since it tends to back the Mexican government. And as we all know, every issue is vastly more complex than can be easily understood by an outsider, or insiders for that matter.

The Zapatistas were a military, violent, overthrowing kind of group in the beginning, back in 1994 when they took over several cities in Chiapas. But they have much more effective tools than guns these days. Now they use art and video cameras to expose the Mexican government. If tanks or troops show up, everyone dons a mask and the women, with babies in their rebozos confront the soldiers directly. Men climb trees or buildings and using video cameras record the scene from many angles. No one carries a weapon.

The government has, predictably, responded to the Zapatistas by increasing its military presence and by building a major new highway to encircle the Lacondon jungle. Personally, I'm rather grateful for that road. It allows tourists much easier access to the ruins of Yaxchilan and Bonampak, and has increased tourism for the Lacondon people, about 600 of whom survive to this day with their old language and customs intact. But it also allows fast response by the military into the Lacondon jungle from the fancy new bases built within the last decade near all the cities the Zapatistas had occupied.

Apparently, the sheer number of people who quietly showed up on Dec. 21st in those occupied towns took the government by surprise, which also indicates how poor their spy network must be. Over 100,000 people marched in those peaceful demonstrations, and the government never saw it coming.

A couple of days ago, Arnulfo asked me to go with him, his visiting brother (a doctor from Germany) and the doctor's friend Josef to Oventic, a Zapatista village high in the mountains northwest of San Cristobal. Unfortunately his brother got a stomach virus and couldn't go with us. We opted to take a taxi. One way, the trip is 120 pesos, or $10 US.  The trip is an hour each way, which made that $10 quite a bargain.

The incredibly rough country where the Zapatista community
of Oventik is located. 

Arnulfo had been told that we needed to bring our passports and other ID or we wouldn't be permitted into the compound. When we arrived, a man with a ski mask sat in the shade of a guard station on the other side of a locked metal gate. It was clear after a few minutes that Spanish was not his first language, and maybe not a language he could speak much at all. After a while a group of men, varying in age from early twenties to sixties showed up at the gate, all of them masked, and with great difficulty, took our names, the numbers on our passports, and wrote down the answers we gave to their various questions like what we did for a living. Then they walked off down the hill and entered a building on the left side of the muddy dirt road. After a while they all came out again, and drifted into a building on the right.

Meanwhile, I spotted a man I knew from San Cristobal inside the compound with a couple of American tourists. I called him over to the gate. Cuatemoc teaches Spanish to the people of Oventik several days a week, and explained that the group of men were the Zapatista governing committee. They were deciding whether or not to let us in. Eventually they did allow us inside, and we were given what I thought was a guide. She was more of a chaperone. She wore a bandana across her nose that covered the lower part of her face. Almost everyone else wore a full face ski mask or a bandana. This young lady spoke so softly I could barely hear her. After a while, it became evident that she didn't intend to, or couldn't, tell us anything about the Zapatistas or the village. She was just there to keep us on the straight and narrow road that led down the hill to the school where a group of men were working. We weren't allowed to photograph a person but could take pictures of the buildings. They had a clinic, but we weren't allowed to go inside, or talk to anyone. The whole trip felt like a waste.

The three of us walked down the paved road to the next little village, maybe a kilometer away, got some drinks at the only store, and waited for a combi to drive by. After about an hour we hailed the first empty cab and went back to San Cristobal.

Later, I saw Cuatemoc on the street in San Cristobal. He explained that our lack of welcome was because we'd showed up on a weekday when school was in session. If we were to come back on a weekend, we would be able to go everywhere, into all the buildings, and people who speak better Spanish would explain things to us.

Emiliano Zapata, extraordinary revolutionary.

Maize is sacred to the Mayans,
and equally sacred to the Zapatistas,
each kernel represents an individual
in this painting on a door.

Equality is very important to the Zapatistas,
women enjoy political and economic equality with men

The caracol, or snail is the analogy for the Zapatista
political structure, starting in the middle with truth
and winding its way out. 

With health, education and peace,
another world is possible.

The Zapatistas believe in living IN nature,
not manipulating it.

A big part of Mayan religion is
Madre Tierra, the Earth Mother.

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Mexican Wildlife

On the January Mountaineer's tour of Chiapas, one of the last things we did was take a boat down the Sumidero Canyon. This was my third trip, and was by far the most interesting in terms of available wildlife.

One section of the canyon rises out of the water in a gentle slope. The rock slab is the favorite sunning place for hundreds of black turkey vultures. At certain muddy spots, crocodiles bask in the sun as well. Our boat pilot managed to bring the boat close enough to a croc that it moved away into the grass.

Basking Vultures
Water birds were in abundance, fishing and "grazing" in shallow places. The canyon is bound on both sides by steep rock walls of limestone, in places rising to 1000 meters above the level of the water, more than 3000 feet. But for a few kilometers prior to the deepest sections of the canyon, there are a few shallow spots. We saw herons, ibis, king fishers and others I didn't recognize.

There is also a family of spider monkeys living in a certain tree'd area that I had seen on one other previous trip. It was a cool morning so they were actively foraging in the branches overhanging the river, a perfect place for us to see and photograph them.

Earlier, at Yaxchilan, we were bombarded by the roaring of some howler monkeys. They were so high up in the trees they appeared as black blobs amongst the dark green leaves. But I had seen a family of them on a previous visit to Palenque. For such loud animals, they are awfully small.

Spider Monkey

Howler monkey, taken earlier at Palenque

Into the deep part of Sumidero Canyon

Monday, February 4, 2013

Yaxchilan and Bonampak

Entrance/exit of the Labyrinth
In the previous two visits to Chiapas, I wanted to visit Yaxchilan, a Mayan archaeological site accessible only via boats, and Bonampak, the only ruin with intact murals in three small temples.

The guide books say there's nothing to Bonampak except for the murals, but that is simply not true. Bonampak and Yaxchilan are the two largest Mayan city-states along the Usumacinta River (not counting Piedras Negras in Guatemala) and both were powerful kingdoms in their day. Neither have been particularly well excavated or explored, and judging from the size of overgrown mounds in the vicinity, both were quite large with much still to be learned about them.

The tour group boarded a long slender motor boat with a palapa roof for shade and rain protection. Downstream it took 45 minutes to reach Yaxchilan, coming back it took an hour. A young Lacondon man offered us his services as a guide. He really was quite knowledgeable, but his English was so poor we all had a difficult time exchanging information. Once in a while he would say what he needed to say in Spanish and I could help out, though my archaeological vocabulary in Spanish leaves much to be desired.

On the boat to Yaxchilan
Yaxchilan has an interesting labyrinth, a feature at several Mayan ruins. It is a series of dark tunnels snaking around in what once passed for the underworld. Tonina has one, but the labyrinth at Yaxchilan is larger, darker, damper, and much scarier. It has large leggy spiders, glimpsed by flashlight, hanging around in the vaulted ceilings, and pools of slippery mud underfoot. We emerged into rainy daylight to find a huge plaza surrounded by temples of various sizes.

Both sites have interesting stela, tall carved stone blocks, usually quite thin, detailing the life of a particular person. Thanks to the hard work of many archaeologists over the last 200 years, the old Mayan hieroglyphic writing is readable. Their calendar system is so precise that it's a shock to read: Saturday, May 15, 624 AD a peace treaty was signed with Yaxun B'alam III, ruler of Yaxchilan. Just amazing.

Details on a stela at Bonampak

Juan, the Lacondon guide, telling us about Yaxchilan

Inside the labyrinth, lit momentarily by the flash.

The monumental frescoes in Bonampak.

Incredible royal family portrait painted near the ceiling,
showing the family engaged in ritual blood letting, where
they pierce their own tongues to conjure up
 ancestors with the help of a serpent god. 

Exiting the Labyrinth

Stela at the bottom of a very
tall staircase with the temple to
Bird Jaguar IV at the top.

Detail of the paintings in Bonampak

Dwarfs were considered sacred, magical beings and
were revered in the royal courts.

Protected stela at Yaxchilan where the rain is
rather constant. 

Saturday, February 2, 2013

The Famous Mayan Ball Game

Well preserved ball court at Tonina, near Ocosingo, Chiapas

On the January tour of the state of Chiapas, Mexico, our group of nine explored the ruins of five Mayan sites: Tonina, Palenque, Yaxchilan, Bonampak, and Chinkultik. Each one has a ball court, roughly the same size and design. Our guides ranged from terrific (at Palenque) to so bad I fired him after 15 minutes (Chinkultik). That guy was nothing more than a local worker on break hoping to pick up a few bucks by pretending to know something.

Most of the ruins have little signage in Spanish, almost none in English, and the bulk of what you can find out about the site is either within the on-site museum, if there is one, or from people who present themselves as guides. Most of them do not speak English. Our guide in Palenque was not only a fluent  English speaker, he had interesting ways of presenting the material to make the memory of it stick and to prompt more questions. He gave the best explanation of how the Mayan world fell apart  around the year 900 AD that I've ever heard. It included political, religious, and environmental problems, the most pressing of which were overpopulation (resulting in environmental degradation and starvation) and consequent lack of control by the governors. Royalty were considered Gods, and were well educated in poetry, art, politics, religion, literature and astronomy, but they couldn't seem to get a handle on the problems besetting the city-states. Sound familiar? Unfortunately our guide didn't seem to know a lot about the ball game.

The "goal-post" is a sculpture of
a captive, about to be
You see, nobody really knows what the rules were, or who exactly lost their heads at the end. Some say the winner was sacrificed, others say the loser. Some say the ball game was between two individuals, and others say as many as six were on opposing teams. All the ballcourts had several things in common. The shape from above looks like the capital I with a narrow section down the middle, flanked by steep walls with stone figures sticking out as goal posts, some posts have holes presumably for the hard rubber ball to pass through. At the end is stadium seating for spectators. The whole court is sunk about 10 to 15 feet into the ground. At various museums you can see the stone U-shaped device the players wore on one hip, used to whack the ball, much like soccer players do with their torsos. Only this ball was solid rubber and quite heavy. They could also hit the ball with padded forearms and stone paddles carved into the shape of a face in profile. We saw two paddles in the anthropology museum in Tuxtla Gutierrez.

I promised to find out more about the ball game for the people on the tour. I wrote to an archeologist friend, Dr. Jason Shapiro, and asked him who got sacrificed, the winner or the loser? This is what he had to say (edited a bit for brevity).

First of all, never ask an archeologist a simple question!! 

The ball game was a ceremonial game (or games) and not a sport the way we think of sports, played in different styles of ballcourts and with different rules that varied by both place and time. The oldest potential ballcourt in Oaxaca may be six thousand years old. Typically, the result was preordained and what was presented was a kind of morality play: the classic struggle between forces of light and darkness, between good and evil. The extent of the ballgame is revealed in records from the Contact Period that indicate 16,000 rubber balls were provided annually as tribute from Gulf Coast communities to the Aztecs and other powerful states in Central Mexico.

The balls were made with a combination of raw latex combined with the juice from pulverized morning glory vines that grow with and wrap around rubber trees. The juice contains chemicals that elasticize the latex and turn it into actual rubber in a way not duplicated by western science and industry until the mid-19th century.

Although the ballgame represented a very strong and central ideological mechanism, do not discount the secular attributes associated with the game, including the reaffirmation of status and power and their attendant prerogatives, including the power to sacrifice. Over time, the ballgame became more politicized, at least in Central Mexico in terms of political competition between competing cities or states.

That's background, next something specifically about the Maya.

I'm assuming that you know something about the Popul Vuh. This comment talks about the ballcourt symbolism and the Popul vuh as a Mayan origin myth. Ballcourt symbolism is closely related to Maya creation mythology as recounted in the Popul Vuh, a 17th century transcription of a traditional Maya creation myth (with all attendant problems of post-conquest accounts). Traditional people do use the same disconnect that we have between myth and history, although there are still plenty of people who read the Bible as if it were the true history of real people and events.

Evidence of the original myth is found in the archaeological record as early as 400 BC. The story recounts the activities of two sets of twins during the Third Creation (we live in the fourth Creation). In the story, the first set of twins (the maize twins) were great ballplayers who irritated the Lords of Death, and had to undergo a series of trials. The twins lost, were killed, and buried below the floor of a mythic ballcourt, except for one twin's head that was hung on a tree as a warning to others.

As luck would have it, the daughter of a lord fell in love with the skull, managed to become pregnant with a second set of twins, outsmarted her father, and gave birth to the second set of twins - the hero twins, whose actions explain how the world came to be (or at least the Maya world). One of the things they did was to find their fathers' ballgame equipment, ultimately defeat the Lords of Death, retrieved their fathers from the Underworld, and then go about recreating the world. As part of that recreation, the original twins were paddled across the sky in a canoe to the cosmic turtle (identified as Orion's belt).

The god Chak opened the turtle's back with a lightening stone, which enabled the maize twins to grow and continue the creation of humanity. The crack in the turtle is the ballcourt, which is both the entry point to the underworld, and the arena where the Maya confront death, disease and war. The twins lost the original game and died for it, but were resurrected in order to create the world. Not surprisingly, the maize gods are associated with ballcourts and are worshipped there. The ballgame itself is the ultimate metaphor for life and death - a place where fate and chance are tempted. It was also a metaphor for war. This is the real message associated with Mayan ball court.

I will never look at a ballcourt the same way again. In fact, the way the "crack" runs down the middle, steeply rising on both sides, and the way it breaks at the ends to form a T shape is just how you might imagine a pierced turtle shell to break open.

See if you think the same way. Here are some photos of the very well-preserved court at Tonina.

Closeup of the sides of the center section with the "goals".
The goal post, in the form of a captive

The small pyramid where the players were
ultimately decapitated, in line with the
creation myth.

Center court viewed from one side.

Some modern Mayans hanging around the ball court

Members of the tour group heading down from the
highest pyramid in the Tonina group.