Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Chichen Itza

This morning I went to the most famous Mayan site in Mexico. The bus arrived at the gate just in time for the opening. The words Chichen Itza means 'Mouth of the well of the water sorcerer'. The site was built in the late classic times (AD600-900). It was abandoned by end of 10th century. The architecture was heavily influenced by Toltec of Central Mexico. There were very few tourists at the opening, most of the Group tourist bus don't arrive until 10.

The site is not as big as some of the sites I visited, but the main building El Castillo is very impressive. It has 91 stairs on all 4 side to get to the top, unfortunately all the building here are closed for climbing because some tourist fell to her death climbing on of them - it was not that steep, the Tikal is steeper.

Then there is the ball court with grandstand and towering walls. Each set with a projecting ring of stone high up, at eye level is a relief showing the decapitation of the winning capital, but that was debatable as some says it was the losing captain. I think this is the largest ball court in Mesoamerica.

At the Group of thousand columns and market, you almost think that you're in Greek time. All those columns.....

There are couple cenotes at the site, the main one Cenote Sagrado (the well of Sacrifice), contained objects like animals and human sacrifices, pottery, jade, copper, gold, beads, lump of copal resins, small bells.

By 10:30 or so I finished all the sights, and it has become very hot and touristy. So decided to just seat at a cafe/store for 3 plus hours to wait for the afternoon sun to die down a bit. In additional to tons of tourists, there are also tons of vendors selling souvenirs. I bought couple small stone carving - my backpack is slowing gaining weight and size.

I started my afternoon walk around 2:30, which was still hot. I took my time, and try to staying in shade as much as possible. But it was still too hot, even my water got hot.

After get back in town, I went to get more money fearing that the coming 4-5 day Easter holiday will cause ATM to run dry. I think I am set for 5 and more days.

I am not sure what my plan will be tomorrow morning, I can head to Merida early or try to visit another ruin/cenote that you can rappel into - no bus, so it will be costly to get to it.

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