A Travellerspoint blog

City on the Edge of Forever

Mr. George Reporting

semi-overcast 87 °F
View WOA: GANDA TRAVEL 2014 on woa's travel map.

Okay, I know what you're thinking. "There he goes again with another Star Trek reference."

Well Gosh-Golly, this time I couldn't really help it. I tried to come up with an appropriate title for this post and that one
just seemed to fit what I am writing about.

Firstly, for those who are unfamiliar with the ST reference, the title is from an episode where a 1930's city acts as a kind of
'time station' where time travelers are occasionally trapped. In this case, it's Kirk Spock and McCoy who find themselves here
via a portal or 'Gateway in Time'. Spock theorized that there are some places in the universe that utilize time quite differently
and are focal points for important, historic moments in time.
I was having a nice discussion with our new friend Carlos who told me that he knew a couple of micro-biologists who studied
Merida and found it to exist in "another dimension". Merida, to Carlos, was a place that embraced him and his wife almost
immediately so they moved here only a few years ago but felt like they lived there their entire lives. He mentioned this to
me at a New Year's eve party we were invited to and then I asked him to elaborate on it a bit more the next day at a New Year's
Day brunch we were invited to. Again the theme of "being embraced" was talked about and as then conversation involved a few
others who also felt like Merida "embraced" them in a unique way. Of course you know from our recent posts that the city
has embraced Andrea and I quite warmly and I'm a bit astonished at the level of this unique 'capturing'.
There are other aspects too that enhance the mysterious drawing power of this city and perhaps the Yucatan in general. First
and foremost are the various cenotes that dot the peninsula. We wrote earlier about our experience in the Ik Kil Cenote and
since then, we traveled with a nice woman and her two kids to a series of cenotes in Cuzama just south of here and not known by many tourists. To get to the three cenotes, you need to travel by car for about an hour then jump on a cart that is pulled by a horse for about 3 miles into the jungle. The 5 of us journeyed together in our cart to each cenote at around sunset so things were getting dark. I won't go into a lot of detail about the unique challenges each cenote offers just to get down to them. They basically range from a series of iron ladders to big tree roots that act as ladders to the water. It's really the water I wish to convey to you. Yes, there is something in the water of the cenote.
Originally, I was captured by the visual nature of being in a clear, blue pool of water inside a cave or cavern. True, they are visually appealing but I soon realized that floating and swimming in these waters did something to my skin and body that felt truly energizing. It is kind of hard to explain however I did find myself wide awake late into the night spouting poetic words to people and one person who saw me thought I "glowed". I also realized that I had no aches and pains in my joints and could drink wine without really feeling buzzed or drunk. My skin felt silky and smooth and I constantly rubbed my arms as if I had just been given a new skin via surgery.

I could go on and on about the cenote experience but I'll save it for when I actually see you in person. Then you could see my facial expressions as I tried to describe it to you.

Cenotes are simply sinkholes that are created when part of a limestone surface collapses into one of the myriad of underground rivers that exist everywhere underneath the Yucatan. You can learn about how cenotes were formed here at the very interesting Mundo Maya museum which interestingly enough resembles a Borg ship with its exposed steel grid wrapped in bright green tentacles.
BTW, did you know Merida lies within the crater that was created by the meteor that first wiped out 90% of all life (including dinosaurs) many millions of years ago? Cue 'Twilight Zone' music.

Did you know the Mayan city of Chichen Itza is considered the center of the New Age movement? Cue same music again.
Did you know that Neal Cassady, the inspiration for the main character in Jack Kerouac's novel, 'On the Road' often traveled to and from Mexico and eventually died there under mysterious circumstances? Well, maybe not so mysterious as apparently it was some kind of drug overdose.

Okay so this story has other ST references. Another aspect to that episode is the famous 'Guardian of Forever', a portal that lets others travel through time. Ancient Mayans believed that cenotes were portals to the otherworldly or another dimension and they often conducted elaborate rituals around them. Spanish conquistador Ponce De Leon search for the famous 'Fountain of Youth' may have in fact been the quest for a cenote. According to info on wikipedia, Ponce may have misunderstood what the natives were telling him and instead of looking in the Yucatan, he headed to Florida which he is credited for accidentally discovering. Ponce may have once said to himself, "Well I was looking for the fountain of youth but all I found was Florida." How disappointing is that?

The general understanding of a 'Fountain of Youth' is some kind of water filled pool that either makes you immortal or cures age-related ailments almost instantaneously. I have read stories about a few Spanish conquistadors who are still alive today secretly living in palaces who swim in their own private cenote to stay alive. Is it true or not?

Merida and the Yucatan has been a very unique experience for both of us that is a certainty. We both came here with little knowledge of the region and, little by little, we are discovering something quite mystical and timeless. Does Merida exist in some kind of other dimension? A dimension beyond that which is known to man? Is it in a dimension as vast as space and as timeless as infinity?
Or is it the middle ground between light and shadow, between science and superstition?,
And does it lie between the cenote of man's fears and the summit of his knowledge?
Okay I did start out by referencing Star Trek but ended up in the Twilight Zone!

"Loneliness is a cold sweater to the Artist."
-Said while riding through the Yucatan jungle at night under a full moon and after a cenote swim

Posted by woa 11:49 Archived in Mexico

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