I didn’t think real life could get any more Tomb Raidery than the Xibalba Caves of Semuc Champey. And it can’t. However, it can be equally so- not the guns and medi packs, but the puzzles and adventure parts. For many years I didn’t think there was anything left to explore. Humans exist in as many places as mosquitos. And they come with plastic bags and unsustainable food systems.
Tikal, like many other ancient sites eaten by the jungle, has been only partially uncovered. The moment we realized the hill we were standing on, with a temple placed at the top and strangely even slopes, was actually more buried building was a moment our minds opened to the mystery.
What was life like when those temples, houses, and buildings of various other purposes used? What were they used for? How has clothing fashions changed? How old are the current fashions? We noticed the styles women tended to wear were more flowing in the northern areas of Guatemala, and many women wore lacy overshirts that we hadn’t seen in Antigua or around Lake Atitlan. Do the expansive planes between mountains have anything to do with it? Were the recently uncovered trails we walked along placed similarly to those that people walked thousands of years ago? Was it all uncovered with only a few trees here and there, like too many modern places, or was it awesome? Did they grow flowers outside the doors to their houses? I heard a part of Mayan religion (there are over 20 different languages now, so were there or are there still as many variants in religious practices, I wonder, and how widepread were the calanders, as I also read that only two or three of the languages developed writing) was that if you’re good in life, your spirit becomes or embues a tree. One of the reasons Tikal suffered was deforestation. If your loved ones became trees, which trees were they, and which ones did you cut down for firewood? The point is, there is much to wonder, and much to uncover, and my questions pile up.