Living in Xkalax 1

31 Oct

We woke up to a cloudy day. Right after breakfast Doña Modesta showed us how to start a hammock and the rist of the nine patterns that we later learnt – Maya style. She set up the frame inside their house and so we spent almost the whole day with her and the rest of the family. First days it was all about getting to know each other. I’m sure we were the first gringos (white people) ever in their village and they weren’t sure what to think of us. The easiest to make friends with was Angel. We gave them the photo of us with Victor Manuel we’d taken back at Tumbem Kuxtal.Come to think of it, this was probably the first step to make them feel more at ease. Later on that day, we showed them the wallets and earrings and because they seemed to like them a lot we let them choose a pair of earrings and a wallet. Our bikes, wallets and earrings gave other villagers and excuse to come and have a look at us. We’ve had quite a few visitors wanting to see the things. In the evening we moved the frame into our house and continued weaving until midnight.

working on our hammock

These people sem to be really poor even though they have a satellite TV and two motorbikes. Despite all that they don’t have mosquito nets on windows or doors.

Nadya posing under our mosquito net

The thing is that if we close the windows and the doors it becomes unbearably hot and if we leave them open there all sorts of creepy crawlies inside the house. Luckily, we’ve got our own mosquito net that we hang over our bed and thus sleep more or less undisturbed the whole night. First few nights I was wearing long trousers and a long sleeve T-shirt to protect myself from these little Mexican blood suckers but then I gave up – just too hot and sticky. Yesterday, I realized that if I wear thick socks, they try to bite me considerably less. It looks like the areas around angles and fet are their favourit spots. I guess evolution has played its role here. They know that it’s the hardest place to reach them at and so they only bite down there.  We arrived here on the 30th October which was only two days before the day of the dead (Dia de Muertos). In the evening of 31st we were invited to Poot’s family house to attend some kind of religious ceremony. About 10 women and a bunch of kids gathered in their house to read som prayers. Two girls had some book, on of them must have been the Holy Bible, and when they read a sentence or two the rest of them woud either repeat or say some Catholic formula. It was very similar to what happens during a mass in a Catholich church except that they did this in almost every house in the villagfe. After hatat Doña Modesta gave out caramel with grated coconut sweets that I’d seen Don Victor making few hours ago.

On our third day they finally opened up , let us see the whole house and what’s more invited us to lunch and dinner. Their house consists of two rooms and the kitchen. At the back. One room has a double bed two hammock and the TV in it. The other room looks more like a shed with three hammock hanging across the entire rooms This is the boys’ room. There’s one cupboard and a hi-fi system.  The kitchen is built of wooden stakes dug into the ground in a circular shape.

Our hosts´ kitchen

There lots of pans and other random things hanging around . There is a small table in the middle and an open fire place where Doña Modesta cooks all their food. The main component of their diet are tortillas. Tortilla is a thin unleavened pancake made from cornmeal.

tortillas baking

They also make a lot of soups. So far we’ve had a chilli soup, bean soup and letils soup. They seem to eat a lot of eggs, too. Even though they have some hens at home they don’t produce any eggs and thus they have to buy them all the time. Couple of days ago Doña Modesta made a swet pumpkin. Around here, they have these small pumpkins that she put in boiling water along with honey. It was a real delicious desert.

Few random things: I gave Angel a quick English lesson and Nadya told them that she is a hairdresser. Angel was the bravest one and asked for a haircut straight away. The whole family came out of the house to look at the process. He seemed to be happy with the result and we arranged that Enrique will get his tomorrow.  After him, Diana also wanted to have her hair cut. Nadya cut it short, just above her shoulders. One thing I noticed here is that they don’t express their feelings that much. Except for Angel none of them said whether they liked their new haircuts or not. However, they laugh a lot. Whenever they dine you hear them talking about something and every few minutes burst into a laugh. The only place that I can compare it too is my aunt Dasha’s family. It was in the past though. Now they don’t do it anymore.

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