Tropicante Massage in the Rain

We had two cruise ships on Monday, it was very busy, but it rained off and on all day. Even though it rained, it did not stop the massage girls at the Tropicante from giving good massages to the cruise ship tourists.  They were busy all day, and I talked to a couple of tourists, and they said they enjoyed their massages on the beach in the rain.

We had two ships on Monday, and no more the rest of this week. A lot of the ships are in port retooling for the winter this week, before they start their Caribbean winter runs. Next week we have ships every day I think.  High cruise ship season really gets underway next week.

2 ships on Monday, cloudy and rainy all day.

2 ships on Monday, cloudy and rainy all day.

Here are some photos of the Tropicante massage girls doing massages in the rain.20161024_122831.jpg 20161024_122818.jpg 20161024_122805.jpg 20161024_122756.jpgThanks for reading,

Stewart Rogers USA-South Carolina


Artifacts at two undisturbed Guatemala tombs reveal how Mayan empire worked

I am sharing this article today from the Yucatan Times.  I meant to post it over the weekend, but I got distracted.  Also today I don’t feel like writing much, my bike got stolen Sunday night, and now I am walking.  Today I am going to walk around and see if I can spot my bike.  I am also going to stop at a couple of places I know that buy stuff from the local thieves.  This is the first time I have had anything stolen from me here in Mexico.  I remember when I was in Belize, I had my USA phone stolen, like in a week.  So I am bummed today, and don’t feel like writing.  So here is a good article about some new Maya artifacts found.

In recent weeks, archeologists have found two tombs in Guatemala that have “miraculously” escaped the notice of looters, and the contents could well shake up everything we know about how the Mayan empire worked, according to Fox News Latino.

The tombs were found in the classical Mayan site of Holmul, about 300 miles north of Guatemala City, in the province of El Petén near the border with Belize. One of the artifacts inside – a jade necklace – bore the symbol of a distant king, suggesting that systems of vassalage and patronage spanned hundreds of miles.

“We never suspected until now how the Mayan super-state operated,” Francisco Estrada-Belli, a Tulane University research assistant professor directing excavations at Holmul, told Fox News Latino. “This gives us a unique glimpse, looking at it not from the center but from the margins.”

The tombs date to 650 to 700 A.D., some 800 years before Europeans arrived in the Americas, and a time when the Mayan culture reached its peak before its descent into a mysterious collapse.

Reconstructed view of Holmul in the final phase of the Classic Period. (Image by J. Gonzalez, PACUNAM)

Reconstructed view of Holmul in the final phase of the Classic Period. (Image by J. Gonzalez, PACUNAM)

Both tombs contained the skeletons of middle-aged people. One had jade inlays in his or her teeth – a good indicator that the person was a member of the Holmul’s royalty.

Apart from the various ceramics and other objects made of bone, shell and jade were two items that are very suggestive.

One was a human tibia that had an inscription carved into it.

“A very, very rare find,” Estrada-Belli, who grew up in Guatemala and Italy, told the Guardian. “It could be from an ancestor or a captive of war.”

Such carved human bones have been found in the area before, including one in the nearby site of Tikal, about 25 miles west of Holmul, which bore the name and image of a captured warrior, the Guardian reported.

The other tomb, which was located in a different pyramid, contained a jade necklace bearing the symbol of the “Snake King,” the ruler of a dynasty that for much of the 700s controlled a large part of the Guatemalan jungle from Dzinbache, a city a hundred miles north of Holmul, in what is today Mexico.

For the better part of two centuries, the snake kings battled with the rulers of Tikal for control of smaller kingdoms like Holmul, Naranjo and Xunantunich.

One of the tombs was found in a vaulted chamber in a pyramid that had been built around an older building, a landmark of Holmul, Estrada-Belli told FNL.

“For some reason, when they built a new edifice here, they wouldn’t destroy the older ones,” he said. “In other places, that kind of preservation isn’t typically seen.”

One of the biggest problems with excavations in Guatemala is the amount of looting that takes place at the archeological sites. Estrada-Belli said that when he first started digging at Holmul in 2000, there were six tunnels that looters had dug in the site.

“They hacked things up pretty savagely,” he said.

One of the most impressive finds he’s made recently, the frieze of a building bearing the carved image of three kings, “was a stroke of incredible luck,” he told FNL. “One of the tunnels passed less than 8 inches away. If the looters had moved one stone, they could have broken it.”

Estrada-Belli and his team are also involved in developing a new technique to search for archeological sites that, he believes, “will revolutionize the field and lead to dozens of discoveries.”

The new technology involved firing lasers at the jungle canopy in northern Guatemala from helicopters, in order to create detailed imagery of the Earth’s surface.

“We will likely see that Mayan cities were much more extensive than we realize,” he told FNL. “With broad roadways, canals, terraces cultivated with crops, temples in areas where we haven’t previously found them.”

“It’s very probable,” he said, “that we will discover large, important cities we had no idea existed before.”



Thanks for reading,

Stewart Rogers USA-South Carolina

The Grand Dame of Day of the Dead

We got two cruise ships today.  Day of the dead is coming up, so today I am sharing another blogger’s article about the Day of the Dead.  It is a good read.


Few images in Mexico are as ubiquitous or have the depth of meaning as the female grinning skeleton with a large overly-adorned hat and a gown from the late 19th century.

She is known as La Calavera Catrina (The Catrina Skull) or simply La Catrina. Her image, and those since derived from it, can not only be seen in Mexican handcrafts,  but also in Mexico graphic and fine art. In fact, it is the latter two which brought this particular figure to life.

Print sheet with skeletal imagry dedicated to Oaxaca by Posada (1903)

Catrina began as one of a number of skeletal figures created by José Guadalupe Posada, a graphic artist publishing in Mexico City newspapers in the late 19th and very early 20th centuries. His importance to the development of post Mexican Revolution culture cannot be overstated, deserving of its own article.


Originally La Catrina was only a head with the large ornate hats popular among the upper classes of late 19th century (as in the main image), when the fashion and politics were heavily influenced by European trends, so much so that many indigenous and dark-skinned women abandoned traditional clothes and even wore makeup to make their skin look lighter (something still seen today). Posada’s original name for the figure was La Calavera Garbancera, which referred to such women in those times.

Diego Rivera took this image and added a body and dress to complete the look in the mural Sueño de una tarde dominical en la Alameda Central (Dream of a Sunday afternoon in the Alameda Central).

Catrina with Diego Rivera as a boy (left). Frida Kahlo is behind Rivera.

To say that Posada invented La Catrina is not to say that he dreamt her up out of nothing. Images of skulls and skeletons for both religious and secular commentary dates back centuries in the Mexican psyche, long before the Spanish conquest. Posada and Rivera simply made a more modern version, adapted to the social and political issues of the time. One of these in particular is Mexico’s fairly rigid class structure, with La Catrina as a reminder that death equalizes all of us in the end. The reason alone may be enough to explain the figure’s continuing popularity in all Mexican arts including handcrafts and folk art.

From the Codex Tovar. Page dedicated to the god Huitzilopochlti with skull rack called a tzompantli.

Figures of La Catrina can be found in all kinds of materials, from clay, to wood, to paper mache (cartoneria) and more. Her image (with or without the full body) can be part of the decoration of any number of items including utensils, bowls, furniture, papel picado, clothing and more. She is also a quite popular image for makeup and costumes.

There are no images that approach her popularity, perhaps because no matter where she appears, even on a t-shirt, there is no danger of the image devolving into kitsch because Death’s semi-venerated status in Mexico.

There are several handcraft traditions which are strongly linked to this image. She is a major figure in Day of the Dead decorations, featured on altars and has since inspired innumerable variations of skeletons imitating the living, especially in cartoneria. While most often made and seen in October/November, La Catrina remains one of (if not the) most popular figure made in paper mache, as well as papel picado. The small town of Capula, Michoacan is famous in part for the making of Catrina figure, often with fine details from local clay. She can be accompanied by a gentlemen in dapper clothes from the same period, called El Catrino. In October, the town hosts an even exclusively dedicated to these figures.

Catrinas from Capula, Michoacán
Catrina and Catrino of cartonería at the Museo de Arte Popular in Mexico City

Skeletal images imitating the living are popular in general, and can be found in quite modern dress and settings, but none of these as of yet are close to dethoning La Catrina.


Image credits:

José Guadalupe Posada, José Guadalupe Posada,  Diego Rivera, author known, Cristina Zapata Pérez, Leigh Thelmadatter, Friends of Oaxacan Folk Art, Friends of Oaxacan Folk Art, Mah9426, Kar Rajme, Norma Ps, Tonc ec, Guillerminargp, Veltresnas, Alejandro Linares Garcia, El Comandante, Merystef


Thanks for reading,

Stewart Rogers USA-South Carolina

I Need a Falcons Hat, Cubs Hat, or Something

First of all, I am having a terrible football season.  The Gamecocks are bad, the Panthers suck this year, and the Packers are not looking good.  I have nobody to pull for much this season.  I think it is time I picked some new teams, because mine are not going anywhere this year.  Yesterday I watched the Gamecocks barely beat a bad Massachusetts, and that is about all I had to pull for.  Clemson was off, so I could not pull for whoever they were playing, so slow college football day for me.

I did go to Padrino’s last night and watch the Cubs make it to the World Series.  Just a note, Padrino’s will be open for the World Series if anyone wants to watch.  I checked last night, and they will have all World Series games on.  I had chicken fingers, and watched Cubs game, and also the Penn State-Ohio State game.  I like watching two games at one time.

So I was there sitting there thinking last night, I need some new teams to pull for this year.  I grew up being a Atlanta Falcons fan, they are good this year, maybe I should jump on that band wagon.  I have always been a Cubs fan, so I will stick to that.  I also was thinking I need some more college football and pro football hats.

So today I am announcing, I can be bought for a hat.  If you are coming down, bring me a hat from your favorite university or pro team, and I will wear it, and become a fan.  I will do a photo and post, and put on this blog.  I collect hats from every college and university, except Clemson.  I will not wear a Clemson hat under no circumstances.  I would love to have a North Dakota State, or a Coastal Carolina hat, but I will take any college or team. Some teams I like are Louisville, NC State, FSU, Ole Miss, and other colleges like that.  I also like small unique universities like Furman or James Madison, and would like hats from some of these schools.

I do have some Gamecock hats, and several others like LSU, Ill. State, Indiana, Kentucky, Va. Tech, Wisconsin, Southern Mississippi, and Oregon which people have brought down for me.  I would like to have some more to add to my collection.  Like I said I will take anything but Clemson, I don’t look good in orange.

Melissa and Francisco Carranza brought me down this cool Illinois State hat.

Melissa and Francisco Carranza brought me down this cool Illinois State hat.

I like the SEC conference so any school from the SEC, or even a SEC hat will be cool. I also like anything from out west.  I do not have any NFL hats hardly, except for a Packer and Panther hat, so any team from the NFL would be good.  Also any MLB hats would be greatly appreciated.

So if you are coming to Mahahual for vacation, to spend the winter, or on a cruise ship, and you want your favorite college or pro team represented here in Mahahual.  Just bring me a hat or shirt from your team, and I will wear it around Mahahual, and on cruise ship day.  I need some teams to pull for because mine are no good this year.

Please someone bring me down a Cubs hat, only team I got to pull for now.  Go Cubs.

Thanks for reading,

Stewart Rogers USA-South Carolina


Today is Saturday, so time for some Mexican culture and humor.  Here is another article I found on the Matador Network.

1. Mexicans eat tacos all the time.

Yes, we love them, but we also have a rich and colorful variety of foods depending on what zone of our country you’re in. Like mole, (a sauce of peppers and chocolate which we love to pour over chicken and rice), chiles rellenos (big peppers that are not very spicy, but filled up with cheese or meat), barbacoa(roasted lamb), cochinita (traditional pork where the meat is marinated in strongly acidic citrus juice, seasoning it with “achiote” annatto seed which imparts a vivid burnt orange color, and roasting the meat while it’s wrapped in banana leaf).

2. “Tex-Mex” is just like Mexican food.

When I was working as an au pair in Germany I found it pretty offensive that the man of the house asked me if I knew how to make beef chili. I clarified that this was a dish from Texas not Mexico.

And, it’s important to say that taco shells do not exist here, toasted tortillas are that, toasted tortillas not bended and we call them tostadas.

3. Mexico City isn’t a legitimate city.

Most foreign people don’t know that Mexico City hosts more people with 8.84 million people (versus the 8.24 million people who live in New York). You can find any kind of environment you want here: Coyoacan is perfect for hipsters or La Condesa will be your perfect choice if you’re looking for a nice restaurant.

4. Mexican men are “machos.”

The stereotype goes that all our men have moustaches and treat us women with disrespect. And we all fall for their charming, macho attitude.

I have never had a boyfriend with a moustache and none of my friends will pay attention to a guy with a macho attitude. The truth is that you can find gentlemen here just as in any other country.

5. We only listen to Ranchera and folk music.

We enjoy Taylor Swift as much as anyone else. In Mexico City, you can always find big pop and rock artists performing a show like Katy Perry, Maroon 5, Garbage, and more, and all in fully crowded stadiums.

6. Every area of Mexico is dangerous.

Certainly we cannot deny the wave of crime hitting this country because of drug cartels. But travelers often don’t understand that this only happens in certain zones in the north of Mexico, especially on the border. Mexico is very big, and it’s easy to visit and not have violence affect your trip.

The World’s Second Largest Reef Is in Danger

Belize is trying to drill for oil on their barrier reef.  Here is an article about the outcry currently going on.  This would also affect the reef system here in Costa Maya and Mahahual also.

by Ali Wunderman October 19, 2016
Belize barrier reef system being mined

Image result for belize barrier reef photos


The Belize government has announced that its barrier reef system is a potential site for oil mining.

Update 10/20: The government of Belize has agreed to suspend seismic operations for the time being after public outcry. They plan to consult with stakeholders to review whether operations should continue. In the meantime, Oceana Belize plans to create both a moratorium on offshore drilling and a referendum to better showcase the Belizean peoples’ opinion on the matter. Our original story is below.

Last week, a preliminary obituary for the Great Barrier Reef went viral. This week brings the news that the world’s second largest reef system, located off the shores of Belize, will be the new site for seismic oil exploration, and ultimately, drilling. In a country known for its natural beauty and eco-tourism, this could irreparably change local lives and the future of tourism.

Teachers across the country have gone on strike to call for a reduction in government corruption. Despite this, Prime Minister Dean Barrow and the government of Belize have decided to move forward with a plan that, according to the World Wildlife Fund, “involves using airguns to blast shock waves through the water that are powerful enough to penetrate the seafloor” less than one mile from the UNESCO Heritage site of the Belize Barrier Reef Reserve System.

Belize’s Reef System Is in Imminent Danger
courtesy of Oceana Belize

Image result for belize barrier reef photos

Because of its natural beauty and biodiversity, Belize attracts a tremendous amount of ecotourism. Yet this controversial method of oil exploration has the ability to send shockwaves thousands of miles, causing irreparable damage to marine wildlife like whales, dolphins, and manatees, while reducing the catch rate in fishing, a major source of income for many of the nation’s people. It is estimated that 190,000 out of Belize’s total population of 332,000 will have their jobs negatively affected by the exploration.
T+L spoke with Janelle Chanona, Vice President for Oceana Belize, who told us the decision came as a shock. “It’s disrespectful that Belizean stakeholders that depend on this shared natural resource for their lives are not being meaningfully engaged,” she told Travel + Leisure, explaining that the government hid this deal behind closed doors for three years, until it was too late to stop it.

Chanona says that in a public poll conducted by Belize Coalition to Save Our Natural Heritage in 2012, “more than 96 percent of Belizeans said no, we do not want offshore oil,” leading to the current outcry from the public. Hundreds of outraged locals are organizing their boats to create blockades against contracted surveyor Seabird Exploration’s survey ship the Northern Explorer and its auxiliary vessel the Campeche.

Testing was supposed to begin tomorrow, Oct. 20, but reporters from both the San Pedro Sun and the San Pedro Scoop have observed the Northern Explorer beginning explorations ahead of schedule, fueling the widespread belief that corruption is at the root of this situation.

Belize’s Reef System Is in Imminent DangerOceana and the environmental community are urging the government of Belize to stay their decision until the proper assessments can be performed, while encouraging anyone who is bothered by this to speak out. To protect the Belize Barrier Reef, the World Wildlife Fund has organized a petition directed at the Prime Minister—it’s been signed by more than 161,000 people have signed as of publication time.


Thanks for reading,

Stewart Rogers USA-South Carolina