What a Wonderful Experience!!!
Anthony Benitez '09 - After waking up and eating breakfast we departed to Bonampak. I knew today trip was not going to be as intense as the previous days, since Bonampak is a smaller location. The location of Bonampak was an amazing site; however, there were numerous of unexcavated ruins. Although Bonampak was smaller than Palenque, Alonso informed us that the Bonampak location was remarkable location.
Alonso, our tour guide, described the peculiarity Bonampak. He informed us that the location was the most known for its pictures with color. I was really excited to see the uniqueness in the pictures with color. The battle pictures were my favorite especially the one with king Chan-Muan dancing after winning a battle. I still can not believe that the color on the ruins has been preserved for over a thousands years.
The next part of our tour was swimming at Golondrinas Waterfalls. On the way to the waterfall I had the opportunity to speak to Lucas K’in Kin, our Mayan tour guide, which translates to Lucas Sun Sun. He was a member of the Lacandon tribe in Bonampak and was dressed in his traditional garb which is a simple white robe with sandals. We mainly spoke about how his life has changed over time. He told me that his life has dramatically changed after 1994. Before 1994 his people had no money to buy tools, food, seeds, medicine, and clothing. Since 1994 tourism has increased; thus, the people of Lacandon live better and have longer expectancy rates. Lucas informed me that before nearly half of the mothers that were pregnant died because there was no money for a vehicle to travel to the hospital that was 2 hours away; however, now the Lacandon community has money to not just buy a vehicle to travel, but has a doctor in the community. Lucas thanked me for visiting his village, and invited me to his house for dinner any time I was in Mexico. Before leaving Bonampak, I decided to buy a necklace from Lucas’ shop. The necklace was priced at 100 pesos but Lucas told me he was going to sell it to me for 65 pesos because I was his “amigo.” The necklace I bought was made out of a Colmillo Javalin Becari. I have no idea how that translates in English!
Although a couple of us got scratches while swimming at the waterfall, we managed to have tons of fun. Swimming was much needed after hiking for numerous hours. The water relaxed and cooled the group off. We played, swam, and climbed for an hour in the waterfall.
After swimming, we walked to the bus to transport to Frontera Corozal. The two hour bus ride was an opportunity for everyone to take a nap in the bus. Everyone napped in the bus even Dr. Warner.
I have learned so much in a couple of days. I have not only seen the Mayan ruins but I have spoken to modern Mayans about their lives, society, and culture. I would like to thank all of the people that have made this trip happened.
Above; Anthony Benitez '09 and Lucas K'in Kin. Below, the waterfall the group visited.