I got back into Philadelphia late last night after a lengthy delay getting out of Quebec (plane was late). Somehow the extended stay was welcomed – it was an awfully nice trip, very well rounded with lots of different activities. Staying at the Ice Hotel was incredible, and I must say I grew very found of Quebec City’s winter vibe, feeling more like a village than a small city. The friendliness of the town was probably the most impressive – the French Canadians sure are pleasant and the cold does not discourage their level of activity in the least. Coverage on the Winter Carnival, snowshoeing, Ice Hotel and the ice canoe races on the way.
Saturday night, we took advantage of our last-night-of-the-trip energy buzz and stayed up until 5:30 a.m., an evening at a “rave” in an igloo. Have you ever seen someone try to breakdance in the snow? I wasn’t able to capture that moment, but I’ll see if I can scrounge up any video of the party in the igloo.
The evening culminated with an hour long hotel room conversation about aliens and the planet Mars, the origins of man and whether the Roswell Crash of 1947 (which I learned about when I passed through Roswell in December during the cross country road trip) had anything to do with the sudden boom of our technology.
That’s as far as I’ll go with setting that scene, but it did remind me to tell you about what I recently learned in Mexico about the Mayan viewpoint on 2012 and the end of the world theories.
So much for earthquakes and fire raining from the sky: I heard it from the horse’s mouth last week in the Riviera Maya that this coming December is simply the end of the Mayan Calendar – nothing more.
During the filming of a restaurant in the Barcelo Colonial, I had the opportunity to interview a few Mayan workers about their lives and culture. We had some fun chatting about the 2012 theories, as well as modern day life for the Mayan people.
Upon my arrival at the Barcelo Maya, I learned that the resort employed a number of native Mayans – and that it was an extremely controversal subject. Not with Mexicans, but amongst members of their own families.
Following a long history of community and self-sufficiency, some elders within the Mayan community do not approve of the work in which the young ones are partaking – they don’t want them mixing with society, losing their culture in a quest for cash.
Margarito Moo, a Mayan waiter at the Barcelo Colonial, told me that in his village in Yucatan, women still don’t work (they handle household matters) and the community is self-sustaining – they grow all their own food and seldom rely on the outside world. He said money is unnecessary for survival in his village.
“But if you want something beyond that, like to own a cat,” he said, “You need to get some money.”
Once a week, Moo takes the bus home to Yucatan to see his wife and kid. He plans to work at the Barcelo for five years, at which point he will return to his village and retire, rejoin his family. Two years into his plan, he has learned both English and Spanish, but you can hear him speak with his fellow Mayan workers in their native language as they head back into the kitchen.
The entire conversation captivated me, proof is in the photo – I’m staring at the guy as if he’s performing a magic trick. His nonchalance and honesty made me wonder where the American dependence on money comes from – why everyone is so hell bent on the materialistic side of things. These Mayan boys, although apparently rebels to their families, were truly working to live, not living to work, and they seemed very happy, very fulfilled.
Cheers, Moo, and best of luck. When I return, you’re taking me to your village.
Unlike 2012, that part is not up for debate.