Yucatec Maya: cowboy

I met Cowboy Willy at ranch Emanuel, in the jungle near the colonial town of Tizimín. This is where he works, looking after 70 cows and 30 bulls. He has worked as a cowboy all his life. His full name is Gilberto Tzincab Maya and he is from the village of Tixcancal. He rides a bike to the ranch, every day, which takes him an hour (and then the same back). All for a salary of 700 pesos a week, about 35 USD.

Apart from the work with the cattle, he is currently also custodian of the ruins called Kulubá, as they sit on the land of the ranch (the owner of the ranch lives in Playa del Carmen). These ruins have been renovated but are not formally open because the road has not been built yet (apparently the relevant officer from the Mérida Council put the money in his pocket). So Cowboy Willy will open the gate for you and take you around. He will ask you to sign in the INAH guest book; they are in charge of ruins in Mexico. I met Billy twice, visiting the ruins, and always share a picnic with him on his ranch, after viewing the ruins. We have become pals.

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Rhodri JonesComment