Today we went to see the Mayan ruins at Chichen Itza. It was a 2 1/2 hour ride to get there and we arranged a private van for the 10 of us. The ride was not bad. The van was cozy, water was plentiful, and the kids enjoyed themselves with DS games and “MadLibs”. The level of crudeness and giggles were about what I expected based on my own childhood…so the torch has been passed.
Our kids had been looking forward to seeing the ruins from pictures I pulled up on Wikipedia and from some books we have. Unfortunately for us, all the pictures showed people climbing the pyramid and touching the ruins, all of which was not to be. Apparently an 85 year old woman fell off the pyramid and died and so it is now closed to visitors. Crap! Basically, we drove for 2 1/2 hours to go on a tour with a 5 and a 7 year old who were not allowed to touch or climb on anything and had to hurry to keep up with the group so we could hear our tour guide with a thick accent, all the while going down paths lined with vendors on both sides trying hard to sell us shiny, interesting things. Would not have been my first choice. In fact I may have muttered some things about layers of hell while we were there. To make it more fun, my son had sunscreen in his eye from the go, followed by dirt that was blowing at us the rest of the time. It was also very, very hot. We tried to make the best of it, but it was difficult. I took lots of pictures trying to capture the good parts and I bought a cool book while there hoping to catch more of the history of the place. It has overlays of what it probably looked like in the past which you lift up to see today’s remains.
We left earlier than the other grown-ups would have liked and I am sorry that our family was the main cause for that. If I would have known what we in for, maybe I would have made a different choice.
Running toward the pyramid before it became clear we couldn’t climb it.
My son wanting to look like he was destroying one of the ruins.
Actually a really cool shot of a wall because we learned that the Yucatan Peninsula is basically flat. The entire city complex and all the roads were built up from the ground and then covered with white dust when it was built. The immense amount of stone and labor amazed me. That amount of rock is under the whole site.
A “Cenote”. Long ago, bubbles of gas formed within the earth and when they grew large enough and close to the surface, the weight of the trees would cause them to collapse inward, exposing a waterhole. These were sacred to the Mayans because there are no rivers or lakes in this region, only underground waterways. They relied on the waters for life. This one has a 3 foot layer of algae on top.
The wall of skulls.
Did I catch them looking kinda happy?
Tha ball court, which was awesome in size. You can see the ring way up on the side for the ritualized ball game that would have taken place. I thought this place would be impressive to my son as he has seen it in lots of shows and knows about the winning team’s captain being the one sacrificed.
Where the priests would have been seated. The acoustics in the place were amazing and my son did go try out shouting and making echoes with the guide.
J. and my son.
Tourist postcard pic.