An Utterly Canadian Experience (with a taste of Guatemala)

Donna and me ready to enter the Maya world in BC

During the past couple of months, Jorge and I have traveled about 4,000 kilometres visiting friends and family – all the way from coastal British Columbia to the heartland of the Prairies – and back again.

We attended my nephew Mitchel’s wedding to beautiful Kelsey; and afterwards, knocked back slammer-shots (YIKES!) with our young nieces and nephews at the vdG cabin on Wakaw Lake. The next day, we followed the fool-hardy escapade with my brother, John’s personalized tour of Saskatchewan’s farms and smoke-houses.

We spent the lion’s share of our time in BC at the “Kamloops apartment with the Amsterdam staircase”. We ran errands, gardened, took lots of walks along the Thompson River and enjoyed ourselves at Allison Lake, wining and dining with my sister, Barb and husband, Craig. We iced our holiday cake with two days in Vancouver, staying with friends, Ramona and Tom. They took us to Lynn Canyon Park so we could swing on the Suspension Bridge; to Cyprus Bowl for a spectacular view of Howe Sound; to Horseshoe Bay where we feasted on fish & chips; and to breathe the invigorating salty air of Stanley Park and Ambleside Beach.

With sadness, but also with gratitude, we attended the funeral of Rick Jones, the brother of my long-time friend, Marilou. Since meeting Marilou in Grade One, she and her family have been a huge part of my life; I feel bereft knowing that I will never see Rick again. And I am not alone; he will be missed by all who knew him.

Jorge returned to Merida 10 days ago, but I have stayed on for a bit longer. I wish I could see everyone I love on during this time, but I am overly-blessed with more friendships than days I have for visiting. However, while in Vancouver, I did get to stay with my friend Mary, and as always, we logged hours of walking, talking and of course, we went shopping. Mary and I met in Peru, just shy of 50 years ago. But that’s a story for another day.

From Mary’s house, I rode the ferry to Nanaimo and then drove the scenic highway to Duncan, where my mother is from. This small city is located in the Cowichan Valley, about 65 kilometres from the southern tip of Vancouver Island.

Being in Duncan always brings back so many funny and poignant memories from my childhood. I would have liked to stay longer, but my cousin Donna and I wanted to see the new exhibit at the Royal BC Museum, in Victoria, which is the capital city of British Columbia. Many tourists get confused because the name of the island and the province’s biggest city are identical.

So, to clear up any lingering doubts – Victoria, the capital city of BC, is situated on Vancouver Island, which lies slightly less than 100 kilometres, across the Strait of Georgia, from the mainland – where the city of Vancouver is located.

Now to tell you about the exhibit Donna and I wanted to see at the Royal BC Museum.

My friend Lori joined us on our outing to the exhibition of impressive Maya objects from Guatemala – more than 300 precious jade, ceramic, gold, stone and textile artefacts – reflecting classic and contemporary Maya culture.

The exhibition is called, “MAYA – The Great Jaguar Rises”. It coincides with UNESCO’s Year of Indigenous Languages and highlights the thirty Maya languages that are still spoken today, by roughly half the population of Guatemala.

It is the largest Guatemalan exhibit ever shown in Canada, and one of the aims is to demonstrate the continuity of Maya culture from its beginnings in the second and first millennium, before Christ, until the present day. It focuses on the relevance of the Indigenous languages of Guatemala, and the resilience of these languages, a topic which of course resonates in Canada.

The majority of the exhibit focuses on Maya culture between the second and ninth centuries AD. Well preserved, innovative art, jewellery and architecture are featured, and all but a few pieces are original. A portion of the exhibit also shows the culture of contemporary Maya people.

Over the years, I have seen many displays pre-Columbian cultures, especially the Maya. The exquisite design, the excellent condition of each piece and the curator’s tasteful approach to the display of such a large exhibit impressed me. If you travel to Victoria this summer, I highly recommend you go to see “MAYA – The Great Jaguar Rises”. Opened on Friday May 17th, it will run until December 31st , 2019.

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Published by Changes in our Lives

I am originally from Canada but have lived in Mexico since 1976. My husband is from Merida, Yucatan and we raised our family here. We both worked for many years at Tecnologia Turistica Total (TTT), the tourism, language and multimedia college we founded for local and international students. Now retired, we enjoy spending time with family and friends, My other interests include spending time with freinds, reading, painting, cooking and travel.

6 thoughts on “An Utterly Canadian Experience (with a taste of Guatemala)

  1. Sounds like you are taking the grand tour of Canada and loving it, Joanna! It seems like you are having a grand time from the sound of it. The Mayan antiquities are exquisite! What good luck to find them in Canada! Have a great rest-of-the-time on your vacation. Jorge is coming home to some beastly weather! xoxo


  2. Enjoyed reading about your travels, discoveries and the exhibit. We’ve been to Vancouver, Victoria Island and Horseshoe Bay. Beautiful country! Delighted to learn that Marinne and Jim were able to be with you. You just can’t get away from those “hot chilies.” Canadians do love their chilies. LOL


    1. Hi David… certainly Jorge and I had a wonderful trip and seeing Marianne and Jim in “my stomping ground” was fun. I am hoping I’ll get to see Chicago one day. We grow closer to our friends when we have the chance to see and experience the world they once lived in.


  3. Wow. I can not wait to see these places. CAN’T WAIT! I haven’t been to Canada for many years, it will be new again! How fortunate you are/were to have experienced such worlds. Thank you for sharing them. Inspiring.


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