Photo memory 6- sometimes you don’t really know what you are seeing or learning, until later on.

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This photo makes me smile as it reminds me that sometimes i am not aware of what i have the privilege of looking at (for a while) and this has bred in me, a thirst for knowledge.

We took this picture on our first day  in Playa Del Carmen, Mexico.  As we strolled along the main streets we found ourselves at the main square, where we laid our eyes on this stunning statue.  We thought it a little odd looking, but took the shot anyway, as that is what you do when travelling.  At that time, we really had no idea what we were looking at, or what it was depicting.

It was not until we took a guided tour to Chichen Itza a couple of days later that our thirst of knowledge was quenched.

After taking a small group tour of the world heritage site, we walked on the Ball-Court Field, and learned of the ancient ball-game that took place every year in the lead up to the planting of the crops.

We learnt about the ball game played (hence the hoops), and learned about the fate of the two captains who were both playing desperately for honour (to ensure a plentiful crop to feed the masses.)

This is what this statue was showcasing with pride. A “glamorous” depiction, however, i would have to say!  You can see the two captains competing, and now you really notice the two rings.

This statue, in the centre of town, showed a much kinder depiction of the game, compared to the actual wall murals we saw at the site, as those depictions were much more realistic and brutal.

They showed what happened at the conclusion of the game- stone chiselled images of the losing captain holding up the decapitated head of the winning team’s captain with blood spurting out from his neck, like a serpent.  Yes, you read that right,  the winner was decapitated. (Apparently it was with  great pride to die as a sacrifice to ensure the entire town had food at harvest time. Anyone could die of disease in those days, but to die as a sacrifice to the God of Corn was an honour).

We only learned this a few days AFTER this photo was taken, and it was only after our day tour to Chichen Itza that we really knew what we had seen in the heart of town.

I love learning about people and places in history, and you can only learn this stuff by packing a bag and heading for unknown adventure.

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