Let’s take a spellbinding journey through Mexico from north to south. Hop on our little “Counting Train” and choose a seat next to the window. Press your face tightly against the window and watch the countryside dazzle and change before your eyes. Watch as hundreds of miles of lovely seacoast bask in year-round warmth. Don’t forget to see the tiny fishing villages dotted along our path. Now our train climbs mountains to green lands where spring seems to never end. Watch closely as we ascend to peaks covered with snow. Descending down the mountain and heading inland brings us to rocky deserts. Finally our trip ends in the south with thick, tropical jungle.
Did you enjoy your journey? I heard someone say that it was too short, that you really did not have time to form a clear picture or explore the contrast and diversity that one finds in Mexico. Next time our “Counting Train” will stop along the way and we will explore the exciting history of ancient civilizations, learn about an ancient legend that helped to form the national emblem, participate in a colorful Christmas fiesta, and taste some of the interesting Mexican foods.
Mexico, rich in culture, geography and history, is like a timeless train traveling across many yesterdays. Traveling throughout this country that stretches for a thousand miles, one soon becomes acutely aware that this is a large, rich and complicated country, filled with much diversity. In the large cities, many Mexicans work in modern office buildings and live in comfortable homes. However, outside the cities Indian farmers live in thatched roofed houses and still cultivate the land as they did hundreds of years ago. The past melts into the present and future as an ultra-contemporary building complex rises to form the background of the steps of an Aztec ceremonial center. Yesterdays still bring brightly colored fiestas to the streets containing half Christian and half pagan activities and practices. Sometimes, Mexican culture can only be viewed as a contradiction. It is not unusual to see an Indian couple dressed in traditional clothing lead a burro past a Volkswagen while glancing at a Japanese motorcycle.
My own excitement and love for this country and its people became apparent when I, along with my family, took a trip to Mexico several years ago. Our first stop was a few days in Mexico City where we helped a missionary deliver lunches and give children’s programs on the sidewalks of slum areas. The vastness of the city (e.g., one has to travel a day’s journey by car to go from one end of Mexico City to the other) and its contrasts were unbelievable. We found just as much contrast and diversity when we ventured into the Yucatan Peninsula of Cancun. There the vast empire of modern hotel buildings stood in sharp contrast to the thatched roofs and roaming pigs on the streets of Talum.