Sunday, March 16, 2008

Chichen Itza

Joanne and I were able to go to Cancun, Mexico, at the end of January. On one of our excursions, we were able to go to Chichen Itza.

We boarded a bus and began our travels toward Chichen Itza, the former Mayan capital. We stopped at the Cenote Azul, which was a huge water well for the Mayan. Joanne and I walked down to the well and watched people jumping in. It was beautiful. It was a huge pool about 100 meters deep. Long vines hung from the ceiling throughout the cenote. Water sprayed from the top from somewhere. Apparently, these cenotes were everywhere in the Yucatan, and they supplied the water for huge numbers of people—upwards of 100,000 just in Chichen Itza. As Joanne and I were walking around the top of the cenote, a little breeze came up and blew my new Stetson straw hat over the edge. Since it was so deep, I couldn’t just crawl over the wall and try to retrieve the hat. I rushed back down into the cenote to see if it might have dropped into the water. But, alas, it hadn’t. Because of the hot day and begin out in the sun, I had to buy another hat, which wasn’t as wonderful as my Stetson, for about 20 bucks. Ouch! I didn’t want to pay that much for a hat, which I probably could have purchased downtown Cancún for a ton cheaper.

Huge vines hung down from the ceiling in several different areas. From the top of the cenote to the bottom, it was probably 100 plus feet. It was just stunning. Many people were swimming in it, diving, and just having a good time. The rest of us were on the sidelines, taking pictures and just looking around in awe at the magnificence of everything.

The bus then drove us through Valladolid and then on to the place where we had a buffet lunch. After lunch, we finally made it to Chichen Itza. Wow! Wow! Wow! I couldn’t believe the huge buildings, the temples, and the castle. We had only three hours to tour. Our tour guide talked to us about many of the ruins. Finally, we had time to ourselves. Joanne didn’t want to walk up and down the stairs; so, I walked over to the observatory and looked at what was there. Amazingly, the Mayans were experts in predicting weather by using stars, the moon, and other things. Their calendar is probably the best in the world, and others use it even today.

I took many pictures of the Temple of the Warriors (El Templo de Los Guerreros), El Castillo del KuKulkan, and other buildings. It was amazing to me the design and the actual building. The rocks were close together. When I asked the guide what happened to the people who lived there. She said that over time they just disappeared, and no one knows why they left. I find that to be very interesting. I need to do more research. I continue to walk around and take some pictures, but I had to hurry because there wasn’t much time left. Joanne and I did a bit of negotiating. We purchased a couple of carvings and two replicas of the Castle of Kukulkan. I was totally fascinated by what I saw.