Thursday, January 3, 2013

Tres Cenotes

Photo by Jan van Ee
In 2003 Ben and I spent Christmas in Merida with his parents and all his siblings. One of our favorite memories from that trip was going to Tres Cenotes in Cuzamá, about an hour drive from Merida. With three families back for this Christmas, we all knew our kids would love the "train" ride out to the cenotes. Sisal, or henequen, once covered the Yucatan Peninsula and these railroad tracks were part of the extensive infrastructure to bring sisal to central processing plants to extract the fiber. During colonial times these were centered on haciendas (estate or plantation), many of which were converted to ejidos (communal or collective farm or other business) after the Mexican revolution. With the end of government subsidies in the late 1980s and early 1990s most henequen fields were abandoned and the workers looked for work elsewhere. In some cases, these same ejidos have updated and diversified, and in the case of Hacienda Chun-Ka Anan they have established a flourishing business taking visitors to swim at these three cenotes (sink holes). Nine years ago we were the only visitors to the cenotes. We were surprised at changes we saw - many tourists, vendors, and buildings at the cenotes. 
{flatbed wagon in 2003}
{one grandchild, Grace, in 2003}
{Benji exploring a cenote in 2003}
Photo by Jan van Ee
{women from the village selling food to the tourists}
{bathrooms and changing areas}
{this stairway down to the first cenote probably dates back to the colonial times when the workers of the henequen fields used the cenotes for their water source}
Photo by Jan van Ee
{Ben and Pieter}
{headed to the next cenote}
{the stalactites were beautiful}

3 comments:

  1. Gosh, that last picture with little J is my favorite! I have got to find a way to come and visit and get to know P as a person and meet baby J and see you two! I miss you all!

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  2. I've loved following your Mexican adventure, my mom frequents Progresso! Wouldn't I love to take a journey south of the border :)

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  3. Wow, what a beautiful collection of pictures, I love the way you went back and hunted out those old ones. Before I read the caption I thought Grace was Julianna but it didn't seem quite right. There is a bit of a resemblance though. Thanks for putting this all together. Becky.

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