Photography and Text by Naeun “Kelly” Ha
Over spring break, I had the opportunity to travel to Cancún with one of my best friends. We had been talking about this trip since last fall, and we were so excited to relax by the pool and the beach, get tan, and take a break from all the stress and drama of school. My friend and I were staying at a beautiful resort and we planned to stay there the whole time- after all, we were just there to relax. After a couple days though, we decided it would be a waste of a trip if we did not take some time to explore Mexico beyond the walls of our comfortable but touristy resort.
On a warm, sunny day we got on a bus and went on a tour of Chichen Itza, a Mayan ruin about two hours away from where we were staying. Walking around the site, I felt like even though other tourists with their selfie sticks and sunscreen surrounded me, the ruins themselves were a reminder of an ancient time. They were frozen in time, standing as evidence of a time when sacrifices and rituals were the center of the Mayan people’s lives.
Later that day, we also went swimming in a cenóte, which is an underground sinkhole. The water was deep, cold, and clear. I was struck by the massiveness of the sinkhole itself, and how there are still things on this earth that can make humans feel very small. Swimming around, I took in the beauty of this site that was hidden underground.
On our way back to the hotel that night, Dana and I were tired, but felt happy and grateful for the day that we had. For a period of time, we were able to experience (as our tour guide said) the “true Mexico.”
Photography and Text, Naeun “Kelly” Ha, Copyright 2016
About The Author: Naeun “Kelly” Ha is a senior enrolled in the College of the University of Pennsylvania, Class of 2016.