©1996 by Lynn D. Troldahl Hershberger (Lynn@ColorJoy.com)
What is this about?
Brian and I left for Mexico's Yucatán Peninsula on February 7 and returned February 13, 1996. The trip was fabulous for both of us. It was an extraordinary trip in every way. There were many surprises but none out of the realm of what we believed might be possible. I hope you enjoy my account of it. I would be happy if you could perceive even a small amount of our enjoyment of the actual trip.
[Photo: Brian on the beach at Tulum.]
Understand that this account is told by a 37-year-old woman who was raised in the "Midwest" of the United States of America. I am fascinated with non-US cultures, especially the Maya people. Even so, all my understandings are filtered through my "white," educated, upper-middle class concepts of life. Life is lived very differently in places outside of my personal world.
It is clear to me that life lived differently from my experience is not wrong or less desirable. In fact, simplicity seems to me the only answer to the unhappiness most North Americans are living with today. Life in Mexico is simpler than my life in some ways and more difficult in others. It is certainly less frenzied. There is no way for those of us who don't live in Mexico to truly understand the culture. We can, however, celebrate and appreciate the parts we are able to experience ourselves.
Another thing that necessarily limited our understanding of some experiences was our lack of fluency in Spanish. Brian didn't speak any Spanish and only picked up a few words on the trip. I had studied Spanish for three years in 1976-1978 and never imagined I would ever use it. I did review Spanish for a few weeks before the trip. However, we had some near-miss situations. I could come up with miscellaneous appropriate words but was not able to put them together into proper sentences.
At the hotel in Valladolid, I had to struggle to tell the woman that we already had a reservation for a room. I also had a rough time finding out where to park our car while staying at the hotel in Mérida. In addition, I realized I didn't know how to say "fill 'er up!" Somehow we were able to transact business in spite of my limited vocabulary.
I had chosen to take a dictionary rather than a traveler's phrase book. (On my last trip I found that phrase books don't translate answers back into English.) I felt it best to have a book that translated in both directions. I was horribly clumsy, but I did all right (better than I expected to do), and most Mexican folks we met were happy that I was trying my best.
Next: Planning Ahead
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