Mayan Bloodletting at Chichen Itza: Any Worse than Ours?

Society at Chichen Itza in Yucatan, Mexico is too often remembered for the human sacrifices and not for its impressive engineering. Photo credit: M. Ciavardini

On our way from Cancun to the ancient Mayan city of Chichen Itza, our tour guide takes care to note that the Maya should not be seen as savages. That he feels obligated to say that makes me think that…

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Cancun for the Convenience

Cancún’s beaches and views appeal at any time of year. Photo credit: M. Ciavardini

When heading to a place like Cancun, Mexico, I’m not going on a jungle-trekking adventure or anticipating anything much more rugged than rough water during a snorkel.  I’m going for a getaway from the daily stress of my workaday world,…

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What I Learned at Doctor Zhivago’s Revolution

It took me a half a dozen tries to get all the way through the three-hour-long 1965 film Doctor Zhivago, a love story set amid the backdrop of the Russian revolution but filmed elsewhere. Starring Omar Sharif as a doctor-poet,…

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Our Perestroika

What’s engaging about the 2010 documentary, My Perestroika, and that was largely absent from my own visit to Russia isn’t so much the views of Moscow but the captured moments of real Russians, those not selling anything to tourists or…

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It Took Me a Lifetime to Get to the Kittle House, and Now I Need to Go Again

Despite being back in Westchester county for a good long while, I’d never gotten around to going to Crabtree’s Kittle House in Chappaqua until last evening. Now I’m regretting all the lost time. The Kittle House—a former roadhouse (oh so…

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Roads through Russia

The story in the film Roads to Koktebel, that of a widower trekking to the Black Sea with his young son in the hope of starting a new life, seems emblematic of the Russian experience. The characters are resolute, obdurate.…

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