Xtolocaturday

The entire universe in blog form
April 9 2011 7:10 AM

Xtolocaturday

I took a family vacation recently (as those who follow me on Twitter already know; see also here, and here). I haven't talked about it at all, but we were visiting friends in Mexico. We took a day to visit the Mayan ruins at Chichen Itza -- the day after the Equinox, thankfully; it's massively crowded there due to a light show on the Temple of Kukulkan, the great ziggurat there -- and it was spectacular. I promise I will write about that at some point, for what I hope are obvious reasons.

But in the meantime, since it's Caturday, and I've chosen to expand that to any animal, here is a little fella we saw while we were there:

Phil Plait Phil Plait

Phil Plait writes Slate’s Bad Astronomy blog and is an astronomer, public speaker, science evangelizer, and author of Death From the Skies!  

Advertisement

[Click to iguananate.]

We actually saw dozens of iguanas, and my brother-in-law Chris took lots of excellent pictures of them (like this one, too).

We learned the Mayan word for iguana is xtoloc, pronounced SHTO-lok. This is my new favorite word in the whole world (ironically, taking the spot previously held by "Quetzlcoatl"). Whenever we see a lizard on TV, I turn to The Little Astronomer and say, knowingly, "Xtoloc", and it always gets a smile from her.

If I ever write a Star Trek story, I will name a Vulcan character Xtoloc.

I actually learned many Mayan words while down there, and it's just about the coolest spoken language I've ever heard. Plus, they start lots of words with X, which is really just inherently cool as well.



Related posts:


TODAY IN SLATE

Politics

Meet the New Bosses

How the Republicans would run the Senate.

The Government Is Giving Millions of Dollars in Electric-Car Subsidies to the Wrong Drivers

Scotland Is Just the Beginning. Expect More Political Earthquakes in Europe.

Cheez-Its. Ritz. Triscuits.

Why all cracker names sound alike.

Friends Was the Last Purely Pleasurable Sitcom

The Eye

This Whimsical Driverless Car Imagines Transportation in 2059

Medical Examiner

Did America Get Fat by Drinking Diet Soda?  

A high-profile study points the finger at artificial sweeteners.

The Afghan Town With a Legitimately Good Tourism Pitch

A Futurama Writer on How the Vietnam War Shaped the Series

  News & Politics
Photography
Sept. 21 2014 11:34 PM People’s Climate March in Photos Hundreds of thousands of marchers took to the streets of NYC in the largest climate rally in history.
  Business
Business Insider
Sept. 20 2014 6:30 AM The Man Making Bill Gates Richer
  Life
Quora
Sept. 22 2014 8:07 AM Why Haven’t the Philadelphia Eagles Ever Won a Super Bowl?
  Double X
The XX Factor
Sept. 19 2014 4:58 PM Steubenville Gets the Lifetime Treatment (And a Cheerleader Erupts Into Flames)
  Slate Plus
Science
Sept. 22 2014 8:08 AM Slate Voice: “Why Is So Much Honey Clover Honey?” Mike Vuolo shares the story of your honey.
  Arts
Television
Sept. 21 2014 9:00 PM Attractive People Being Funny While Doing Amusing and Sometimes Romantic Things Don’t dismiss it. Friends was a truly great show.
  Technology
Future Tense
Sept. 22 2014 7:47 AM Predicting the Future for the U.S. Government The strange but satisfying work of creating the National Intelligence Council’s Global Trends report.
  Health & Science
Bad Astronomy
Sept. 22 2014 5:30 AM MAVEN Arrives at Mars
  Sports
Sports Nut
Sept. 18 2014 11:42 AM Grandmaster Clash One of the most amazing feats in chess history just happened, and no one noticed.