Monday, April 03, 2006
Honeymoon interrupted by summit
The Animal World Newswire columnist catches up with the world's most famous honeymooners near Chichen Itza.
March 30, Chichen Itza, Mexico. [Animal World Newswire]
At the gates of the 1,500-year-old Mayan ruins, a small group of disgruntled craft vendors and anti-globalization partisans brandished signs saying "Bush Go Home." George Bush, President of the USA, was scheduled to tour the ruins that morning with Mexican President Vincente Fox and Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper.
Armed soldiers kept the small crowd at bay. For the craft vendors, it would have been a day like any other: they expected to make a few pesos by selling their wares to tourists. But the tourists--all except the three leaders and a retinue of security people and photographers--were barred from the park.
Among the disappointed were three Americans on their honeymoon, Darcy Xenophon, Michele Duncan, and Michael Kern, who had driven from Cancun to Chichen Itza on a quest for the Balam--Mayan for jaguar. And the three were hissing mad.
Darcy (a red-point Siamese}, Michele (a feline interpreter), and Michael (a computer consultant) had married in Minneapolis on March 18, taking advantage of a new law allowing group interspecies unions.
The trio spent the night of March 29 at the historic Hacienda Chichen, just outside the Chichen Itza grounds. Early the next morning, they strolled over to the ruins, intending to visit the Temple of the Jaguar, among other famous artifacts of Mayan civilization.
"Missing the Temple of the Jaguar would be one of the greatest disappointments of my life," Darcy mourned. "The Mayans worshipped the jaguar and depicted the powerful felines in many places. Some of the most impressive are the relief carvings and statues at Chichen Itza. There's even a Jaguar Throne."
Michael added: "Given our relationship and our belief in the modern religion of Catymology, we wanted to spend our honeymoon communing with some of the ancestral depictions of feline divinity."
Fortunately, a local woman, Estelle Rose, who happened to be passing by, had a suggestion. "If you drive back to Valladolid and then proceed about 20 kilometers north, you'll come to Ek Balam. Ek Balam, she explained, means "black jaguar." Compared to Chichen Itza, this site is relatively unvisited. Rose advised the honeymooners that they could tour Ek Balam, then return to Chichen Itza another day.
Later that evening, after taking in Ek Balam, Darcy, Michael and Michele watched the world news. "I was quite amused to see those three guys--world leaders--give a photo-op at the Temple of the Jaguar," Darcy commented. [for a sample, go to the story in the Miami Herald and watch the slide show. ]
"It's pretty obvious what was going on there--some kind of male bonding ritual," Michael observed.
Michele, who majored in anthropology before becoming a feline interpreter, added some details. "Did you know that in the heyday of the Jaguar Cult, rulers were obsessed with the prowess of the jaguar? The Olmecs, who preceded the Mayans and lived around Veracruz, believed in a primordial woman-jaguar union that resulted in a divine were-jaguar. Some of the greatest Olmec rulers were depicted with jaguar features or wearing jaguar costumes. It's obvious that these people feared and revered the feline."
But it was Darcy who got the last word: "If these guys [Bush, Fox, and Harper] think they can steal some mojo from my jaguar cousins, it's not going to work."
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