Work hard, play hard is an old saying that I firmly believe in. The balance between work and recreation is important and the lines are often blurred. Ideally, one can do both at all times. In other words, enjoying your work and learning from your recreation is a worthwhile goal. I find myself becoming bored easily if I’m not enjoying and learning. Sharing this enjoyment with friends and family makes it even more rewarding.
Each winter for the past 11 years, Diane, our two daughters and I have been migrating to the Yucatán Peninsula of Mexico for a few weeks. This area offers a tremendous variety of activities and a beautiful culture. The Mayan civilization spans centuries and is now combined with other cultures from around the world, especially the Spanish. The ancient ruins throughout the area are absolutely phenomenal with many clues to the lifestyle and advanced civilization of these peoples.
This year we revisited the beautiful ruins at Tulum, the only ancient Mayan site built on the ocean. I was fascinated to discover that the observatory building there had a feature built into it that would create a loud whistling sound when hurricane force winds were approaching – an automatic Aeolian storm warning.The Mayans were and still are extremely artistic and musical. At the much larger ruins at Chichen Itza, there are large pillars that were used as musical percussion instruments. The Mayan culture was also quite advanced in many other areas including sports, mathematics and astronomy.
We always go back to the eco water park known as Xel-Ha where we enjoy swimming with the resident fish, floating down the river, hiking the jungles and enjoying the all-you-can-eat buffets while listening to Mexican marimba music bands. Last year I actually had the nerve to sit in and play one of the few Mexican marimba pieces I know by memory with the band in front of the café there:
We stay in a small fishing village known for its large turtle refuge. One can snorkel among these friendly creatures right from the shore. In addition to snorkeling, I have been SCUBA diving ever since our first visit to this area. The coral reef along the coast is second in size only to the great barrier reef of Australia. Each year we see large barracuda, many turtles, eels, sharks and oodles of colorful tropical varieties such as parrotfish.
The inhabitants of this wonderful area have done a marvelous job in balancing ecology, sustainability and entertainment. Long live the Mayans.