Friday, June 27, 2008

Worth 520 pesos

One of my goals during my family's fun under Cancun's sun was to buy some books. My parents have always been able to pick some CD's on past vacations, but they never seemed to be able to find books. I don't know enough Spanish to do the language justice, but a book in both Spanish and English would be both great and helpful. Anyway, I got hunting in the resort's gift shop for books, and I turned up an English copy of 'Popol Vuh'; it's a book that contains the creation story of the Quiché Maya. Their Bible, for lack of a better word. As the title suggests, the book costed 520 pesos, or $52.00 U.S. The high price kept me wavering on whether or not I wanted to buy it. I wouldn't buy a book in Canada or in the U.S. at that price, but I've never come across such a find and I wanted something special from my trip. I could not find anything like it in Playa del Carmen or at the little shops just beyond the resort, so I went ahead and bought it.
The other day, I finally got around to reading this book. Sometime in the 16th Century, a unnamed member of the Quiché Maya wrote down as many oral legends as he knew and eventually, this book reached an open-minded parish priest who translated the manuscript from Latin into Spanish. This book goes through the creation story and recounts legends that really would have come in handy during that tour we took of that newly excavated palace two hours or so from our resort. Anyway, the story is similar in some ways to the one found in the Bible, but because it is a new experience, I am finding it a great story. The creator gods of the Maya tried several times to create humanity, and destroyed their mistakes and false starts. This proves that not all gods are perfect.
To my folly, I must say that I am not yet done reading this really fascinating book, but I am close. Most of the book's space is taken up by the Introduction, but the narration is pretty easy to follow. I admire Fr. Francisco Ximénez for being so open-minded and respectful of the Quiché Maya. Most of those priests tried to drive anything not Christian out of the world. Take that, small-minded fools! This book is definitely worth 520 pesos.

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