Tima among the Maya: Travels in Beliza, Guatemala and Mexico Paperback – 18 Aug 2000
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Top Customer Reviews
The story follows the travels of Ronald Wright starting in Belize, then taking a circular route through the Yucatan and Chiapas areas of Mexico, and Guatamala.
Along the way, the author describes the people he meets, the local customs, and the often turbulent history. There is plenty of detail about the Mayan buildings and their complex constructions of calenders and measures of time.
A most absorbing book.
The book this most reminds me of is Bruce Chatwin's Songlines, travelogue being mixed with an attempt at a much larger theme: the history and fate of the Maya, one of the most advanced peoples of the Americas whose civilisation mysteriously imploded even before the Conquistadors arrived. Compared with Songlines, the plus side is that the two elements are much better integrated. The minus is that neither of them is really strong enough. Truthfully, his journeys are fairly uneventful; whilst of the Maya, however much you extol them, little is known and there is therefore little to say. The most interesting aspect is the portrayal of modern day Latin America - a subject on which I can never read any book without congratulating myself that I don't live there.
Still, you'll be relieved to hear that the world is not going to end on 21.12.12: that is a misconception based on a misunderstanding of the Mayan calendar. Okay, if I'm wrong come back and tell me on the 22nd...
Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
This is a charming travelogue, particularly if you have experienced travel to some of the Maya Indian sites. Ronald Wright has given us an insight that could only be possible from someone who has spent considerable time and research into the politics and plight of the Maya people. There are some helpful maps for orientation. The writing is like a daily journal, which is charming in its observations and the attempts at a phonetic impression of the speech of the various populations that he encounters in his journey. There are references to some of the masterworks of more early explorers, such as John L. Stephens, with excellent drawings by Catherwood (Dover Publications), and the helpful translation of Popol Vuh by Dennis Tedlock. Ronald Wright gives us "food for thought" about the terrible things that have occurred in Belize, Guatemala, and Mexico, as various political factions have battled for control.
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