As I sat down and became engrossed in sewing some buttons on my dress in San Diego a friend I made earlier sat next to me and informed me that the best time to get wild, weird and wonderful life stories was in the evening. The night before she had asked a guy in the hostel for a lift to downtown and had been informed about the world of illegal organ donation trading. He said he had participated, paid hundreds of thousands of dollars and been given several organ transplants. He was addicted to them and believed they improved his health in some way. Now, I know this story was being retold to me and it may have been miss communicated along the way but it was horrific. It sounded like a fictional horror story. Where do these organs come from? I thought there was supposed to be a shortage. The fact that this man had been given them for no apparent medical reason baffled me. I took the story with a pinch of salt and reacted as anyone would – shocked.
Nonetheless, now I am reminded of my friends piece of advice – the best stories are told in the evening. As you you can imagine I have met all kinds of folk these past five months, some more like myself than others. Regardless, I have learnt a little something from everyone.
The other night, in the bustling hostel in Bacalar, there seemed to be two major cliques forming – Spanish speakers and Europeans (speaking English). I sat with both, the Europeans were playing drinking games, being loud and raucous. Whereas the Latin American’s were sitting around chilling, chatting and being somewhat more calm. Both ambiences, while different were enjoyable enough.
However, for some reason I was drawn towards walking down the wooden platform out onto the lagoon into the darkness, watching the pitch black water softly sway in the night. I fancied a bit of quiet reflection. As I approached the hut, I saw an ominous shadow, I soon realised it was someone propped up against the hut pillar. There was someone else treading water in the lagoon. They clearly had the same idea as me.
I sat down and began talking to these two Mexicans, who had a very interesting take on life, inspired by the Mayan culture. The Mayans saw death as the ultimate blessing and goal. They used to do human sacrifices as they believed the afterlife was were you could progress and reach a holy place. These two Mexicans spoke with passion about the importance of not fearing death but embracing it. They claimed westerners to be so fearful of death, in such a way that it becomes a hinder and danger to present life. They said when you die it’s either nothing or something amazing like the Mayans believed. Either option to them was positive. I thought it was a good way to think, not to be scared or stressed by death. However, this is so much easier said than done. How can you tell someone who is about to die that it’s okay, there is no problem?
I love hearing different people perspectives, stories and life lessons. Some are better than others. I particularly like what these Mexicans friends had to say. They were on their travels to find some life answers and seemed not to be scared of anything. I hope that with a bit more contemplation and traveling, I will be able to see death as a positive thing and not as a terrifying unknown. It is true that it is ingrained in our culture to fear death and it was nice to hear the Mexican perspective on the topic. It is pretty British not to talk about these things, maybe we would benefit from being more open.
Nonetheless, my friend from San Diego was correct, night time is when the stories and life philosophy flows.