Cartas de Relacion
For the last 5 days I've been staying about 60 miles south of Can-cun along what has been called by the marketing gods of the region the "Riviera Maya." Though I've not seen any snakes, I have come across both deer and turkeys. Well, they aren't quite deer, as they are more a relative of the guinea pig -- though they have long legs like deer -- and the turkeys are really relatives of the quetzal bird; more like a road runner than a turkey.
Whenever I travel, which admittedly has not been much, I always like to do three things: hike, see old stuff, and read.
Well, this particular vacation is being had at an all-inclusive resort (my girlfriend's idea), so I am not afforded much opportunity to hike at will. Places like this tend to be more like compounds than hotels. That said, my girlfriend sold me on the concept and I am now able to appreciate the draw of relaxing in a self-contained world where nothing need worry one's mind. But I have been able to see some old stuff and have done some reading.
What I've been reading on this particular trip is a translation of Hernan Cortes' letters from Mexico. Cortes landed on the eastern shores of Mexico in April of 1519 and over the course of 6 years wrote 5 letters to the Holy Roman Emperor Charles V detailing his exploits (not to mention laying the ground work for some heavy politicking which we do not need to go into). Of the many interesting things one could note about these texts, the thing that has struck me repeatedly was how long it took to get correspondence from one part of the world to another.
The Second Letter, the first to have actually been written by Cortes and sent to Charles V, was dated October 30, 1520 but it did not reach Spain until sometime in 1521 and it was not published until some time after October of 1522. Imagine how much can change in 2 years! Think of how different our business was in 2001 than it was in 1999. At that time, we might all have been better served if it took 2 years for news to travel...
Not so long ago, the same year this region was incorporated as a state in Mexico, Sydney Schanberg was filing stories for the New York Times by telephone from Cambodia. Today I went through a village called Valladolid a few miles from Chechen Itza. There were TWO Internet stations branded with the Yahoo logo.
Yesterday I toured Chechen Itza, climbed to the top of the Castile pyramid, walked the grounds around the Temple of Warriors. Standing between two walls of a Mayan sports stadium I was told by a local that I could go to www.ballgames.org if I wanted to learn more about the sport that was played on the site some 800 years ago.
Today I am filing this from just outside the nest of serpents in the land of deer and turkeys
With the Internet, the conquest of the Mexica continues.