While the San Lorenzo Olmecs had ignored the then sparsely populated Mayan lands, their successors at La Venta significantly influenced the subsequent rise of the Maya.[xxiii] Olmec artifacts from La Venta have been found in the oldest layers of some of the earliest Mayan sites.[xxiv] The oldest known Mayan mural depicts an Olmec deity. And some of the earliest images of Mayan kings are found on the backs of reused Olmec jade artifacts and show these Mayan kings wearing Olmec attire.[xxv]
In contrast to most Mexican states whose people can trace some portion of their racial roots to Spanish colonization, nearly half the native population of Chiapas claim to be pure descendants of the ancient Mayans. As a result, local culture, including its customs and timeless traditions, has changed very little over the centuries.
Understanding that Mexico City, one of the world’s largest urban centers, is also the epicenter of Mexican history and culture” is quite remarkable in and of itself. But you wouldn’t know (in the biblical sense) that such a statement were true if you had never actually set foot in Mexico City.
Like every other trip outside one’s own culture and comfort zone, the point is to have fun. Don’t worry about making mistakes. Everyone does. Sometimes, the ‘discomfort’ of being unfamiliar with local customs and language can actually be a benefit. Learning and trying new phrases in new situations is exciting. And sometimes even amusing.
A Short Language Lesson on the Meaning of ‘Cognates’ Language is tricky. Words and their meanings change through time, from culture to culture. The origin of most words in the English language is the German language. But many other English words can trace their roots (another word for ‘cognates’) to the Latin, French and Greek languages (among others). [...]