Saturday, 28 January 2012

Day 3 of Mexico

This day (Jan. 17) had an early start. We had to be up and ready to leave because our tour guide for the Mayan ruins was coming to get us. His name is Helaman and he does LDS tours without doing any of the weirdo Mormon stuff. Mr. Mitchell and I both thought he did a great job and would recommend him.

Our gaggle plus one other guy made up the tour group. The other guy in our group we have decided to refer to as 'Captain Wow-that's-amazing!' At first Mr. Mitchell was incredibly annoyed with this guy and then we realized that he truly was just...nooot smart...but very sincere. Every single thing our tour guide said was responded to with an 'Ahhhhhhhhh!' or a 'Wooooow!' or a 'That's amazing!' We've decided that his life must rock because everything in it is eye-opening and awesome. When he figured out that Mr. Mitchell studies ancient crap he started following him around to ask him questions like, "Do you think this is made out of stolen Mayan temple rocks?" even though the building is five years old and those rocks were stolen hundreds of years ago. Like I said, not smart, but very sincere.

Our first stop was Ek' Balam.

The entry rock. Ahhhhhh! 

These are some of the only ruins in the Yucatan that still let you climb on them. Their big temple was a little scary to climb down, but the view at the top made it totally worth it. Captain Wow-that's-amazing! made the tour interesting, but it was still very good. 

These dogs had claimed these parking spots. Wooow!

 The inner city wall.  That's amazing!

The arch into the inner city. Wooow!

This is where the priests' wives would live. Ahhhhh!

One of the little temples. Ahhhhhh!

The crew climbing up for pictures. Ahhhhhh!

The view from the little temple. That's amazing!

Mr. Mitchell and I on the little temple. Wooow!

I tarried behind the group and had to run to catch up. I later discovered 
the room I had stayed behind to check out is where the human 
sacrifice would sit and contemplate before the priest came to get him.

The view of the stairs to get up the big temple. Ahhhh!

The entryway into the temple is through a jaguar's mouth. 
That's amazing!

People carved onto the outside of the temple.

Another view of the jaguar mouth.

Depiction of teaching on the temple doorway. That's amazing!

The view from halfway up the big temple. Ahhhhhh!

Another view from halfway up the big temple at a different angle. That's amazing!
Mr. Mitchell and I at the very top of the big temple. Wooow!

The way down from the very top. Ahhhh!

It was a steep climb either way; we were told to serpentine.  Ahhhhh!

They ran out of money and so they couldn't finish excavating and reconstructing the buildings.

Panorama of the Mayan ball court and Helaman. That's amazing!

What we believe Mayan ball to look like:

Angela and her hot Mayan man.  Ahhhh!

As we were waiting for people this little dog became our friend. I loved her ears.

The first step of eating coconut: cut it in half. That's amazing!

Second step: scrape out pieces. Ahhhhh!

Third step: flavor it. I don't care for coconut, but that day I 
discovered I like it if it has lime juice and salt on it. Woow!

After Ek' Balam we hopped back in our van with Captain Wow-that's-awesome! and Helaman and went to a buffet. (This is where Captain Wow-that's-awesome! wanted to know if they stole rocks from the Mayans to build it.) The food wasn't great and there was a huge line for it, but we got to watch fun dancers. Our meal included a drink (the buffet came with the tour) and then our waiter tried to get us to pay for our drinks before we left. Helaman had already left the buffet and so we all sat at the table until he noticed we weren't following and then he came and sorted things out. Sneaky waiter!

The courtyard of the buffet. Ahhhhh!

The dancers. Ahhhhhh!

Our table right next to the food. That's amazing!

They used dolls to inform you which bathroom to use. Ahhhhh!

A taste of what our entertainment was like:

After we ate we sojourned to Chichen Itza. 
Self-explanatory. Ahhhhh!

Since we were there during the off-season it wasn't very crowded. There were lots of souvenir stalls set-up along the walkways and they were very eager for business. We frequently heard, "Almost free! Only $1! Almost free!" The stall where we checked this statement at the lady did indeed have things for only $1. At a table near us the tourist wasn't having as much luck. We heard her say, "You just went from $1 to $50!" Garrison went and followed up with a guy advertising for 5 pesos and the guy said, "5 hundred pesos!!"  Tricky, tricky. One of my favorite things I heard one of the vendors yell was, "Blue light special!" I doubt he knows what he's saying. Paul and I were also offered "free" things for our "honeymoon." Free....riiiiiiiiiight.
A lot of the pathways were lined with stalls like this.  Wooow!!

Chichen Itza is huge and they don't let you climb on the ruins, but it was amazing!

Helaman with the map. Ahhhh!

One of the completed sides of the ruins. Ahhhh!

The "hoop" for Mayan ball. Ahhhhh!

A Mayan ball team is depicted on this wall. Ahhhh!

This guy was the captain of the winning team so he was sacrificed.
 He has no head, but rather spurts of blood snakes shooting 
out of his neck.  Ahhhhhh!!

These skulls represent people they defeated - trophies, if you will. Ahhhh!

Snake mouths at the top and bottom and the railings 
are their intertwining bodies. That's amazing!!!

The fam in front of the big temple.  Ahhhh!

While excavating they found remains of another city under the ground.

Another angle...woooow!

We're modeling by the font. That's amazing!

I'm sure we were listening... ... Wooow!

Chac-mool waiting for a heart to be placed on his hands. Ahhhh!!

My turn for a picture with the big 'un. That's amazing!

Mr. Mitchell's turn with the big 'un.  Woooow!

There were iguanas everywhere! Ahhhh!

Chaac's noses, apparently. Ahhhhh!

Ryan's Mayan face. That's amazing!

Garrison's Mayan face. Ahhhhh!

Mr. Mitchell's Mayan face. That's amazing! 

Best for last: My dad's Mayan face. Wooow!

Paul at their deep cenote. Ahhhh!

We learned about Chac-mool, who is the messenger of sacrificed hearts; Chaac, who is their rain God; that they built cities by cenotes for the fresh water; and that they had a thing with penises because they symbolized fertility. That explained the pipe we found in Tulum (which is what Ryan is holding in that picture). 

It was an exhausting, fantastic day. When we got dropped off at Villa Gummerson we just chilled at the amazing beach house.

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