Friday, June 26, 2009

Celebration Weekend

We went to Agua Blanca this past weekend, where I used to work, to celebrate the solstice, Steve´s Birthday, and Father´s Day. It was really nice being able to see old friends and also to introduce the family to the place where I spent so much time.

For the first time ever, the community arranged a huge solstice celebration this year on Saturday. They had a shaman come in who did a sweat lodge and ceremony the night before the solstice, with the idea of waking up an watching the sun rise up on the site at the building that aligns with the summer solstice. There was a guy there who does an outdoor/adventuring program who really seemed to be calling the shots in terms of staging the ceremony, and that was quite weird. The whole thing was very new agey and American Indian-esque, but people kept claiming that they were reviving practices that died out 500 years ago when the Spanish came. As an archaeologist, I was quite put out by that, and the fact that people were camping on top of the ruins. But the thing that bothered me the most was the fact that the community members seemed to be incidental to the whole thing.

The sweat tent where the ceremony took place, and the sacred precinct outside of it. Don Isidro is adding more hot stones (abuelos) to the sauna inside.

Your intrepid explorer, emerging from the tent after three rounds (I couldn´t take the super heated sulphur water any more) and being interviewed by one of the many camera crews that were swarming the ceremony.

On Sunday we did the tour of the site and I think Taylor and Steve were impressed. It was also good for me to see it and remind myself how different the materials at Dos Mangas are. After touring the site we relaxed in the laguna, and Steve and Baby Girl had a ton of fun splashing around. I think it was the highlight of his Father´s Day.

I promise to post pictures soon! Internet speeds can be prohibitively slow, and I don´t have my flash drive with me to add more, but I´m hoping to get a little more internet time this weekend.

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