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5 Questions about Travel For Filmmaker Rafael Garcia

Garment-Dyed Cotton Tracksuit in Lightgray 2015Rafael Garcia started his film-making profession after graduating from the Savannah School of Artwork and Design and working within the Atlanta space on varied tasks. Research In 2006, he joined a begin-up production company that took him on diving and fishing related applications throughout Central America. During this time, Garcia met a number of extremely qualified divers and began to organize a dive staff. Mayan Blue, a function length documentary film, explores the historical past of the Yucatan and surrounding regions — often underwater in cenotes, lakes and different unique water features of the region. Mayan Blue also reveals the outstanding archaeological site of Samabaj, a pre-basic site that was flooded in a cataclysmic event on Lake Atitlan some 2000 years ago.

JOSHUA BERMAN: When did you first journey to a Mundo Maya country and the way did it affect you How did you stumble on this story of a lost underwater city

RAFAEL GARCIA: I first traveled to Mexico in November of 2007, having just established a small but elite crew of divers and securing some funding to test our underwater camera gear. As a boy, and son to a historical past-obsessed father, I had lengthy developed a fascination with the Maya civilization. I remember walking as much as el Castillo in Chichen-Itza actually shaking with pleasure. I am extraordinarily grateful for all my experiences on this film, and it has actually been a dream come true. Now, having come out the other end and looking out back on my experiences, I really feel that I gained an appreciation, not just for the previous accomplishments of the Maya individuals, however for a thriving, vibrant folks still weaving an attractive tapestry of culture.

We had originally begun filming all through Mexico and Central America with the idea of creating a kind of diving documentary or tv pilot. We began listening to rumors nearly immediately of ruins and artifacts around Lake Atitlan, and shortly tales of lost cities and a ‘Mayan Atlantis’ started to succeed in us.

While enjoyable after a day of diving at ‘The Iguana Perdida’, our dive HQ, the proprietor Deedle Ratcliffe pulled out a binder full of previous magazine clippings featuring the lake. She drew our attention to an ‘Superior Diver Journal’ article highlighting one group of dive ‘explorers’ who had emerged from the lake with luggage stuffed with artifacts and pottery. The conversation quickly turned to a local man who claimed to have discovered a set of ruins below the waters of the lake. Within the mid 1990s, Roberto Samayoa registered what he referred to as ‘an underwater city’ with the Guatemalan Ministry of Culture. His claims have been shrouded in doubt. We would finally meet with Roberto, dive on site and see first-hand that his claims were legit. Through the course of our relationship, the complete scope of Roberto’s discovery could be revealed and develop into the focus of the movie.

JB: What is critical about Samabaj
RG: There are a variety of the reason why this discovery will be thought-about vital. From an archeological perspective, it is a wholly unique site, in that it is an island site and island websites within the Maya world are extremely uncommon. Furthermore, underwater Maya sites are largely unknown. Just a few sites exist in Belize alongside the coast, however underwater sites of this scale are unheard of in the realm. It is immediately clear from the archeological proof that the island was a ceremonial middle, with massive collections of stelea and a ceremonial plaza aligned to Atitlan Volcano. Traditional Maya mythology describes the creation of the world as having occurred at the ‘Three Stone place’, a metaphor that mirrors the three volcanoes round Lake Atitlan perfectly. Lake Atitlan has long been thought-about a spiritual middle within the Mayan world, and the lake is usually referenced as ‘el umbligo del mundo’ or the axix mundi, the very spot from which the earth emerges.

In antiquity, the lake would have been a commerce hub, a vital link in a community of Pre-Traditional settlements and cities. Head archeologist of the Samabaj mission, Sonia Medrano, postulates that faced with the flood event that engulfed the sacred site of Samabaj, a legend would emerge and unfold throughout the Maya world, changing into the creation story of Traditional era mythology with Samabaj because the literal Xibalba or underworld.

JB: You bought to dive in Lake Atitlan, swim via caves, and fly in helicopters over Guatemala — what was probably the most superior journey second you had throughout production of Mayan Blue

RG: Several moments stand out from my experiences on Mayan Blue. Definitely diving in the cenotes of Yucatan is wonderful. The water is unbelievably clear and offers you the impression of soaring by way of these caves. It’s as shut as I’ll in all probability ever get to being in outer area. As a fan of all things Maya since childhood, probably the most rewarding experience was seeing firsthand these superb locations.

I’ve fond reminiscences of standing on Temple IV at Tikal, overwhelmed with the sound of howler monkeys at sunrise and watching the fog path by the jungle. I had the chance to enter the crypt inside the temple of inscriptions at Palenque. Standing in the presence of the nice Maya Lord Pakal is just not one thing you get to do on a regular basis; it is seared into my reminiscence, a psychological tattoo. Certainly we had some difficult moments too. Driving in Central America is at all times an journey, and seeing the poverty that’s rampant all through the region is hard. But these items are a part of what makes the Mundo Maya alluring.

JB: What advice do you’ve got for somebody touring to a Maya village or archeological site for the primary time

RG: Bear in mind that you are being watched, carefully. There are too many tales of some vacationer snapping an image of a photogenic youngster and paying dearly for it in violence. Ask to take pictures of people, and be ready to pay. Do not be afraid to strive one thing new so far as food, the Mayan world has much to offer on this regard, however, bear in mind of water sanitation issues. Read and put together. At an archeological site, learn the plaques, inform your self. You can keep away from quite a lot of scam artists just by being properly read and ready ahead of time.

JB: Did you come across any specific places or applications, especially neighborhood-primarily based tourism efforts, i.e. floor-up tourism ventures that empower Maya villagers

RG: One of many richest and most seen signs of indigenous Maya tradition around Lake Atitlan are the patterned Maya textiles and weaves. We had been lucky to be allowed access to the Cooperative of Girls Weavers of San Juan La Laguna with a view to movie the standard types stone island cap selfridges of textile weaving. The cooperative of twenty-two ladies are devoted to preserving their ancestral strategies of spinning, and are amongst the one individuals within the region who still spin their own thread straight from homegrown cotton. All of their dyes are pure and made from indigenous plants. Proceeds of their gross sales go immediately to numerous Maya communities. The Cooperative has created scholarships for kids, established a nutrition program and a ladies’s health program.

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Joshua Berman is the creator of MOON MAYA 2012: A Guide TO CELEBRATIONS IN MEXICO, GUATEMALA, BELIZE & HONDURAS. This text initially appeared on The Tranquilo Traveler.

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