mesoamerica and the maya world

Month: January 2008


Rompope is a drink made with eggs, milk, and vanilla.It is often called “Mexican eggnog.” It can be eaten with a spoon like ice cream, although men mix it with rum or brandy. It is said to have originated at the Convent of Santa Clara in Puebla in Mexico.

Gourmet Sleuth offers this recipe (but there seem to be many variations):

4 cups milk
1 cup sugar
3 inches canela (cinnamon bark)
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
12 egg yolks
1/2 cup brandy
In a medium sized saucepan over medium heat, mix together the milk, sugar, cinnamon bark and baking soda. When it begins to boil, lower the heat stand simmer for about 20 minutes. Set aside to cool, and strain to remove the cinnamon bark.

Place the egg yolks in a mixing bowl and whisk or beat with an electric mixer about 5 minutes. , until thick and lemon yellow. While still beating, slowly, pour the cool milk mixture into the yolks. Return to the saucepan and cook over low heat., stirring constantly, until the mixture thickens and lightly coast the back of a wooden spoon.

Remove from the heat and stop the cooking by pouring the rompope into a bowl (preferably metal) that is resting on ice in a larger bowl. Stir until cool. Gradually stir in the brandy and it’s ready to serve, or it can be tightly covered in the refrigerator.

The Big Apple has more rompope information and recipes.

Antigua through the back door

hippies use backdoor

Paramañana paints one of the more recognizable portraits of La Antigua, Guatemala, that I have seen in a while (of course, the best portraits are from steady bloggers like Rudy Giron, El Blogador, and Luis Figueroa).

After a little getting used to, you don’t really notice the no tap water or no electricity situation any more. After all, there are more important things to think about.

The photo is from Café No Sé.


Beyond your expectations

mexico: beyond your expectations

The Mexican Tourism Board’s campaign slogan seems a backhanded compliment to Mexico. IT seems to be saying you probably don’t expect much of Mexico, but it’s not that bad.

Funny thing is though, the campaign seems to be working. A huge display highlighting the slogan has been installed at the Miami International Airport. Mexico Premiere has the story:

“A large amount of travelers have visited the display at the airport in Miami and have expressed an enormous amount of interest in the information being provided on Mexico”, said Teresa Villareal, Director of the Mexico Tourism Board in Miami.

The Colonial style displays have been installed near gates F and G in the airport which have the highest traffic and are neighbors to airline counters with the highest impact such as: Continental, Air Canada and others. The display located in walkway G is also the entrance of the airport’s new terminal, inaugurated less than two months ago.

With its great colors and a style that reflects a traditional Mexican estate, the displays include a 42 inch plasma screen TV playing beautiful images of Mexico and are operated by friendly models who are ready to provide visitors with information. Booth guests are also receiving giveaways such as pens, caps, postcards, luggage tags and coloring books with crayons, which have been very popular among parents with traveling children and motivate them to request additional information on Mexico.

Selecting Miami International Airport was without a doubt, a huge part of the success of the operation, since the airport carries about 3 million travelers on a monthly basis, a figure that has increased 11.6 % in the past year.

Certainly, this campaign will contribute in the positioning of Mexico in the United States, targeting a key audience of high purchasing power, during the adequate high season and to establish a strong presence of Mexico that passengers will surely remember.

Dazzling temples

rosalila temple repllica, copan museum, honduras

According to Queensland University researcher Rosemary Goodall and her colleagues who have been working at the well-studied ancient Maya site of Copan in Honduras, the temples must have dazzled, literally. Goodall used infared technology to analyze paint shards. She found that tiny bit of mica were mixed with the paint.

“I discovered a green pigment and a mica pigment that would have had a lustrous effect,” Goodall, who was concentrating her research on the Rosalila Temple, reported. “I’m sure that when the sun hit it, it must have sparkled. It must have had the most amazing appearance.”


SHOWN: Rosalila Temple replica at Copan Museum, taken December 1999.


LINK: Study determines why Mayan temples dazzle


Wines of Baja

Baja’s Guadalupe Valley is an up-and-coming wine region. This January, in California’s Napa wine region, there will be a tasting of wines from the region. Vinography: A Wine Blog reports:

Most readers know that I have a strong interest in up-and-coming wine regions around the world. In particular I love exploring those that are in surprising and unknown areas. Baja Mexico clearly qualifies as the latter. I first learned of the area from a loyal Vinography reader, and then subsequently spoke with Eric Asimov after a trip he had taken a trip down there to explore for an article he was writing.

Since then I’ve had only a couple of wines from the Guadalupe Valley, which is the name of the region’s wine country, but they’ve been interesting enough to show that there’s some real potential there.

Following are the details:

Wines, Cuisine, and Art of Mexico
January 26th, 2008

11:00 AM – 12:00 PM Panel: “Is Guadalupe Valley the Napa Valley of the 1970s?”
12:00 PM – 3:00 PM Food and wine tasting
1:00 PM – Food Demo with Chef Javier Plascencia (Villa Saverios, Baja)
3:00 PM – Food Demo featuring another Baja chef TBA

COPIA Center
500 First Street
Napa, CA 94559

Admission $30

Flycatcher Inn, Santa Elena

flycatcher inn, santa elena, yucatan

This is a detail from the front porch of the Flycatcher Inn, a B&B in Santa Elena near the Maya ruins of Uxmal. The inn is on the austere side, but it is clean, offers a good breakfast, and has a natural area around it on a couple of sides, where there are many birds. The proprietress’s husband makes the wrought iron furniture such as the example shown here.

Green Belize

According to Brave New Traveler, Belize is one of the top five green travel destinations, noting that “Belize is deeply committed to eco-tourism.” Among its attractions is that it is home to the longest barrier reef in the Western Hemisphere.

Friday Roundup

Sifting through a week of digging the internet

Mexico’s oldest bar closes

cantina el nivel, mexico city

Cantina el Nivel opened its doors in 1872. It is considered one of the oldest continuously operating bars in Latin America. Located in Mexico City’s historic center, the bar will make way for expansion of the Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México., the source of this story (and photo), comments:

Es una lástima que espacios historicos terminen en el olvido así, sin que a nadie le importe mucho. Al fin y al cabo es parte de la historia colectiva que poco a poco desaparce, así en silencio.

[Too bad that historic sites end this way, without anyone much caring. So it is that our collective history disappears little by little, in silence.]

Columbus and microbial globalism

the harp and the shadowAccording to a study by Kristin Harper, an evolutionary biologist at Emory University in Atlanta, there is new support for the notion that syphilis was exported from the Americas to Europe by the conquistadors who followed in the wake of Columbus.

The study was published in the Public Library of Science Neglected Tropical Diseases. Just in case your subscription to that august journal has lapsed, I will report that the study examined the evolutionary relationships in the family of organisms (known as phylogenetics) that include syphilis. By comparing the DNA of the organism, the researchers concluded that venereal syphilis came into being fairly recently, while a related (but less severe) disease, yaws, is ancient. The study supports an American origin for the disease, which apparently developed in the sixteenth century.

Because syphilis began to spread through Europe upon the conquistadors’ return from the new world, it has long been thought to have had an American origin (years ago I read speculation that it was the result of bestiality). But there is a minority of scientists who have subscribed to the notion that syphilis is ancient in origin and predates the conquest. Some in this school criticize aspects of the new study’s methodology.

Still, the anecdotal evidence supports a New World origin, and this study gives the conjecture new support. If this is the case, then the spread of syphilis can be viewed as one of the first and most lasting consequences of globalism. (Jared Diamond’s Guns, Germs, and Steel explores similar issues).


Shown: The Harp and the Shadow, a novel of Columbus by Alejo Carpentier

Ciudad Flores Petén II , Guatemala

The city looks a bit different to me in this video from the last time I visited. Everything looks more freshly painted and cleaned up.

Kate Spade Mayan Riviera Ava Clutch

That’s the product name of this offering from Kate Spade, which “bursts with a jolt of bubblegum pink PVC that makes it ideal for a cool spring day.”

kate spade mayan riviera clutch

What do you think? Does this say Maya Riviera?


(also available from Powell’s)


Friday Roundup

Sifting through a week of digging the internet

Another Andy Palacio video

Andy Palacio

I got a CD by Garifuna artist Andy Palacio for Christmas.

Guatemalan slingshots

the guatemalan slingshot

Slingshots are remarkably effective weapons for hunters. In Guatemala, slingshots embody centuries of tradition, often including Maya or Christian imagery. They are the subject of this book by Anabella S. Paiz and Valia Garzón, which is published by La Ruta Maya Conservation Foundation, a nonprofit organization committed to preserving the cultural heritage of Central America.

I think slingshots can be purchased from the Curandero Gallery.
I couldn’t find the book at Powell’s but Amazon carries it.

Ancient pyramid found in Mexico City

The pyramid, about 36 feet high, was found in the central Tlatelolco area. The discovery pushes back the date of the founding of Tlatelolco by a couple of centuries, meaning the Aztec presence in central Mexico began earlier than previously supposed.

via Yahoo news

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