Much of my knowledge of Mexico and its beautiful culture is derived from what I am taught in Spanish class at school and what is denoted in the colorful pages of my Spanish textbook. The vivid images of traditional Mexican dishes, as well as relatively complex verb conjugations are what allow me to envision life in this country and provide me with fundamental comprehension of the native language. Unfortunately, however, the mere conception of life in Mexico poses its limitations. It wasn’t until the summer of this year that I had the opportunity to visit the stunning island of Cozumel, Mexico and take a tour of the Mayan ruins.
Originally, my family and I had planned to take a seven-hour tour of the Mayan ruins of Tulum, notably critical remains of Mayan history. However, due to unforeseen circumstances, we were unable to do so. That being said, our four-hour tour of the smaller Mayan ruins nonetheless exceeded my expectations and addressed some misconceptions that are commonly associated with the mysterious Mayan theory of 2012.
Our tour started off with a bus ride to the San Gervasio archaeological site, during which our tour guide provided us with come basic knowledge of Cozumel’s infrastructure, typical weather, and economy. An interesting tid-bit that resounded within my mind is the fact that Cozumel has successfully managed to eradicate homelessness, whereas in wealthy nations, such as the United States, roughly 2.3 million to 3.5 million Americans do not have a place they can call home. This remarkable achievement of the Cozumel government is what truly opened my eyes to the wealth of possibilities, both historical and modern, located on this very island.
When our tour bus finally reached the San Gervasio archaeological site, we were greeted by the warm, Mexican breeze, the friendly faces of local Mexican vendors, and, of course, Mexico’s infamous mosquito population. Despite my initial thoughts, my engagement in a four-hour long battle with these mosquitos and my relentless pursuit of shade did not take away from the overall experience. Instead, I walked out of the archaeological site with the knowledge of the Spanish conquistadors’ destruction of Mayan remains and the possibility that the year 2012 may not indicate the end of the world but rather simply the culmination of the solar and the lunar calendars. Mayan advancements were also explained throughout the tour, which ultimately gave rise to the question: “Are we, as a modern society, as smart as we think we are? Or have technological advancements hindered our ability to be self-reliant?” The ancient Mayan civilization presented great intelligence in their achievements, such as the development of an advanced mathematic system and the ability to find the center of the island of Cozumel without the aid of a global positioning satellite. In our contemporary era, we are accustomed to the achievement of daily tasks with the assistance of electronic devices, so it is considered nearly impossible to pursue seemingly easy activities without the help of technology – essentially what the Mayans were very much successful in.
Upon learning this, I started to reexamine the effects of modern-day technology and began to ask the question: “Do modern-day discoveries and technological advancements propel our civilization forward or hinder us from utilizing our cerebral capabilities?” If I had asked myself that question before embarking on my journey to visit the San Gervasio Ruins, my efforts to find an answer would have proved fruitless. However, it is fortunate that the answer simply lies with the ruins of our ancestral civilizations right on the island of Cozumel.
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