Friday, September 21, 2012

Latin American Adventures

He explored every inch of the region, even the riverbed, dragging the two iron ingots along and reciting Melquíades' incantation aloud. The only thing he succeeded in doing was to unearth a suit of fifteenth-century armor which had all of its pieces soldered together with rust and inside of which there was the hollow resonance of an enormous stone-filled gourd. When José Arcadio Buendía and the four men of his expedition managed to take the armor apart, they found inside it a calcified skeleton with a copper locket containing a woman's hair around its neck.
- Gabriel Garcia Marquez, One Hundred Years of Solitude

My devil makes me dream like no other mortal dreams
With a blank eyed corner
The only way to see him in the tunnel where he slept
By the longest tusk of corridors, numb below the neck
In my heart
Where he keeps them in a vault of devil daughters

- The Mars Volta, 'With Twilight As My Guide'

Like all men of the Library, I have traveled in my youth; I have wandered in search of a book, perhaps the catalogue of catalogues; now that my eyes can hardly decipher what I write, I am preparing to die just a few leagues from the hexagon in which I was born. Once I am dead, there will be no lack of pious hands to throw me over the railing; my grave will be the fathomless air; my body will sink endlessly and decay and dissolve in the wind generated by the fall, which is infinite.
- Jorge  Luis Borges, The Library of Babel

The people of Cozumel had long experience of accommodating outsiders who came in peace, as the island was sacred to the Maya goddess Ix Chel, and her shrine was a place of pilgrimage for the mainland Maya. A peculiarly treacherous current running in the narrow sea between mainland and island was a further barrier to violent invasion. Certainly Naum Pat and his people enjoyed immunity from the endemic Indian warfare which constituted normal relations between the mainland provinces, and saw themselves as outside the Maya political arena.
- Inga Clendinnen, Ambivalent Conquests: Maya and Spaniard in Yucatan  1517-1570

The one called Ah Chable they crucified and they nailed him to a great cross made for the purpose, and they put him on the cross alive and nailed his hands with two nails and tied his feet... And after he was crucified they raised the cross on high and the said boy was crying out, and so they held it on high, and then they lowered it, ... [and] they took out his heart. And the ah-kines gave a sermon telling them that it was good what they must do, and that through adoring those gods they would be saved, and that they should not believe that which the friars used to say to them.
- Testimony of Pedro Huhul of Kanchunup, 17 August 1562

Terrified, exhausted by her fate, Visitación recognised in those eyes the symptoms of the sickness whose threat had obliged her and her brother to exile themselves forever from an age-old kingdom where they had been prince and princess. It was the insomnia plague.
- One Hundred Years of Solitude

La Tunda is a myth of the Colombian Pacific region, and particularly in the afro-American community, about a vampire-like monster woman that lures people into the forests and keeps them there. Sometimes it appears in the form of a loved one, as the likeness of a child's mother, who would lure him into the forest and feed its victim with shrimps she has farted upon (camarones peídos) to keep her victims docile in some kind of trance. 

Tezcatlipoca, Smoking Mirror, We are his Slaves, He by whom we live, Enemy of Both Sides, Lord of the Near and the Nigh, Night, Wind, Two Reed, Possessor of the Sky and Earth
The light was so weak at noon that when Pelayo was coming back to the house after throwing away the crabs, it was hard for him to see what it was that was moving and groaning in the rear of the courtyard. He had to go very close to see that it was an old man, a very old man, lying face down in the mud, who, in spite of his tremendous efforts, couldn't get up, impeded by his enormous wings.
- Gabriel Garcia Marquez, A Very Old Man With Enormous Wings

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