Mexico Part Seis

We’re still in Chetumal, waiting for our parcel to arrive and getting itchy feet. It’s not so bad, as we have a relatively cheap, nice hotel with free Wi-Fi and even a disco PrayStation™ on the roof (see pic below), but there’s not a great deal to do here.

Probably the most exciting event for several decades happened on Sunday night; Mexico won the Gold Cup (footy) 3-0 against the USA, which was cause for much celebration here – cars driving up and down the “strip” (7 or 8 restaurants and bars on the sea-front) with flags out of their windows and music playing, tooting their horns. These guys had got well into the spirit of things with one of them on the drum and the others dancing, waving and shouting at passing cars, joggers and dog-walkers. The fat guy with his top off reminded me of Stavros from Britain’s Got Talent…

Ise tried a local “speciality” – called a michelada, as it was listed on a restaurant menu under beers for just 8 pesos (about 40p). It did seem a bit too good to be true and that turned out to be the case… Instead of being a small/stubby cheap beer (which was what we’d thought the waiter had described), it turned out to be a normal bottled beer, mixed with something like angostura bitters and salt. Totally disgusting. What was worse, is that they charged us an over-priced 40 pesos for the beer and then an additional 8 pesos ON TOP, to make it virtually undrinkable. Ise was not happy!

On the plus side, I have found a bar here that will make a cup of tea the correct way (i.e. pouring boiling water onto the teabag, instead of bringing you the bag in a little packet along with a cup of almost hot water, or – worse still – in response to a request for a “té negro, con leche”, bringing a cup of hot milk and an accompanying teabag)!

We also visited the one tourist attraction here in Chetumal; the Museo de la Cultura Maya, which was very good and air conditioned (a big plus here, as it’s so humid).

We learnt about the ancient Mayan calendar and about their numbers and counting system (also used in trade), which made my brain hurt, but I’ll try and explain it here… The Maya use a (conch) shell to represent zero, a dot to represent 1 and a line to represent 5. So 8 would be written as /… and 16 would be ///.
Instead of working from left to right, with the units on the right, the ancient Mayans worked from top to bottom, with the units at the bottom. So far so easy, I hear you say.

The bit that made my brain hurt was this; instead of working in terms of multiples of 10, i.e. 10,000s, 1000s, 100s, 10s and 1s, the Mayans worked in multiples of 20, i.e. 160,000s, 8000s, 400s, 20s and 1s.
So, in order to write the number 21354, you would have to work from top to bottom:
8000s x2 = ..
(with 5354 remaining)
400s x13 = //…
(with 154 remaining)
20s x7 = /..
(with 14remaining)
1s x14 = //….

And to write the year 2009, you would have to work it out like this:
400s x5 = /
(with 9 remaining)
20s x0 = @ (a conch shell!)
(still with 9 remaining)
1s x9 = /….

Those Myans must have been a dab hand at their 400, 8000 and 160,000 times tables!

As I’m a bit bored, I thought I’d set a puzzle (100 kudos points to the first person who gets it right) – can you tell me what these are?

Uno Noche Mas
Dos Corazones
Amante Fácil

Love Gude

P.S. If you’re an avid blog reader/photo flicker, you can now subscribe to by entering your email address in the box on the right (near the top). You should then receive an email each time a new blog is posted, which will save you checking the blog yourself. Don’t worry, we won’t sell your email addresses to anyone. At least not until we get really desperate for cash…

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7 Comments so far

  1. NickNick on July 30th, 2009

    Crikey, I’ve been at work less than 5 minutes, and I’ve already learnt something!!  Nice work!!  Great to speak to you guys the other day, and spot on work as always with the Blog.  Looking forward to the next update!!

  2. Mum H-G on July 31st, 2009

    Hi Gude

    Chris here:Love the pics – keep ’em coming. I think ‘Uno Noche Mas’ means ‘One More Night’.

    (In case you’re out of touch with current news: Henry Allingham, who at 113 was the world’s oldest man when he died, was buried yesterday and it was announced today that Sir Bobby Robson (football legend) died this morning – thought that might cheer you up and take your mind of the ‘mozzies’ for a while!)

  3. Mum H-G on July 31st, 2009

    It’s me again: How about? ‘Two Sweethearts’ and ‘Easy Lover’?

  4. Isaac on August 1st, 2009

    why would the death of two people cheer us up??!?!  Thanks for the bulletin though!

  5. Will S on August 1st, 2009

    Guys just had a look at blog. Steve told me about it last night while we died playing squash! Loving mexico brings back some memories! How much longer you there for and whats your route. you been up into Chiapas. Palenque is a must if you get the time. Pacific coast down towards Oaxaca City great as well. There are some great ruins just outside that are toltec I think so different group to Mayans and completely different architecture. Great carvings.. Should definitely check out guatemala as well. So much to see very jealous! In middle of exams at moment while everyone at Field Day. This afternoon bladder cancer cannot wait

  6. Dad on August 1st, 2009

    All Phil Collins’ hits. (I’m ashamed to know)

  7. Gude on August 3rd, 2009

    Well done both dads – between you, you got the answer – 50 kudos points each xx