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  • Annmarie Throckmorton, M.A.

Routed By Iguanas

I recently built an iguana suit on Avakin Life, Amazon's online 3D Virtual World. I am pleased, and slightly disappointed, that other players relate to me in an iguana suit with equanimity, just as they are unfazed by my spiky turquoise alien costume, my ferocious bear head, or my chocolate and pink pixie outfit with tutu and wings. What a hoot to play Avakin Life as girl, boy, alternative ethnicity, fantasy figure, or beast. Such fun! It is interesting to speculate as to whether or not people treat me differently depending on how I manifest. Most of the people playing this virtual game seem to be teens and twenties, and are located all over the world, in the USA, Saudi Arabia, Australia, Austria, Spain, Switzerland, Norway, Germany, England, Korea, Vietnam, France, and more. It is 'Massive Multiplayer Online', played by a very large number of people simultaneously everywhere.

I recognize that I myself chat slightly differently depending on my external game image, and I am still exploring that to learn what it means to me. I know exactly what being shy about my extreme age of seventy means, but I tell the truth anyone who asks, and most do sooner than later. They are always shocked to hear, "Yes, seriously 70."

Anyway, when I first put on my new 3D iguana suit, I remembered my confrontation decades ago with a lounge of iguanas at Chichen Itza, which is the ruins of a megalithic pyramid complex in the Yucatan, Mexico.

Iguanas are docile, herbivorous lizards native to the jungles of central and south America, and the Caribbean. When I first encountered them behind one of the pyramids at Chichen Itza I did not even know that iguanas existed on the planet, all I knew was that one moment I was walking along a dusty little path off to a quieter side of the pyramid complex when suddenly ten or twenty sturdy-looking, thigh-thigh green lizards with sharp teeth in hard gums materialized in the brush and the entire group of them ran flat out for me. I turned tail and ran, as that is my standard response when pursued by predators. I did not know until years later that the iguanas were probably used to being fed tidbits by tourists and each had wanted to be first to reach me for a bit, a bite.

While I enjoyed meeting Mexicans in the city of Mérida, Yucatán, Mexico where I was staying, the Chichen Itza pyramid complex was quite frightening to me. I saw families, groups of school children, and even nuns in full, flowing black habits run past me up the stairs to the summit of Kukulkan, but I turned around after only a few steps up those high, narrow stairs of ancient mystery. I felt very bad vibes there, shades of heads being loped off, hearts being carved out.

Then the bus back to town left without me, and I was all alone on the vast Chichen Itza pyramid complex (this was before there were vendors and staff on site.) I became quite frightened until a Mexican boy of about nine years old came and sat beside me on the ground where the bus had been. He did not speak English and he could not understand my broken Spanish, but he stayed with me for several hours until just at dusk a small bus returned and took me into Mérida.

Caption (above): Iguana Suit Brings Back Memories From Forty Years Ago, 2019.

Caption (below): Kukulkan Pyramid at Chichen Itza, located near Mérida, Yucatán, Mexico.

Source: screen capture Brien Foerster | Ancient Origins

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