November 15, 2012
A good thing about Yucatan peninsula, maybe the best thing is that there are so many cenotes. So first thing in the morning we did what – ran to Zaci cenote that we already knew from last time – it is in the middle of Valladolid – engulfed into its super pleasant waters, refreshed and re energized ourselves and then drove towards Koba. Though the feeling was – isn’t it too many pyramids in a week? But I was eager to climb the tallest pyramid there, which I heard was still permitted. On the way the girls were walking to school:
We saw some ruins:
and some mansions with rabits:
It took us only 45 min to reach Koba. Andrei gave up, he already saw too many pyramids. But I didn’t , so went to see Koba alone:
Koba is in a jungle forest, unlike many others are in the open. It was a big Mayan city wit lots of structures, a very few of them are restored or preserved:
They would make sheds on remaining sculptures or reliefs. There is some rain there and plenty of humidity, so pyramids are dark form moss. And here is how Mayas built their arches and tunnels:
The paths there are straight and white. I heard guides telling that they made them white on purpose, for the climate is so hot and humid, poor pyramid builders could work only at night. So they would see better while walking on white paths. But i also noticed that there is almost no soil in those areas, mostly while little stones and rocks. So how could they make the roads that would not be white…
The distances between structures or pyramids are long. maybe it takes 20 min, to half hour to an hour to walk from one to another. Some rent bikes. Some enjoy walking. As every Maya city,. this one also had a stadium, a smaller one.but with prominent rings for their ball game , the prototype of football, where they pushed a ball into the ring with their shoulders, as if…
Some more pyramids on the way to my goal:
And here is the tallest one and the one which is permitted to climb!
As you can see -there was a thick rope where people could hold on. Very good! it was scary climb it though from the bottom it doesn’t seem steep:
Flat jungle underneath, very few other pyramids seen around. And here the the temple on the top of it:
And then going down:
From Oxkutzcab we drove more than half of the day, with stops, until we reached Valladolid. There were those 2 cenotes -one across the road from the other, but their ticket offices are side by side – you have to be careful which window you are buying from – you may end up buying to the wrong cenote. I mean – the one you have already seen/ So we caught this catch in time and went to see the cenote Samui:
This cenote had no stalactites as Dzitnup, but had the roots of a tree extending all the way to the water and a bigger hole into the air. But I prefer Dzitnup. Here we had to descend down the stairs quite some flights, and as the water was the same – clear, pleasant and blue, the ambiance in Dzitnup is much better. Couple more of Samui:
That night we stayed in Valladolid in the same La Aurora hotel that we liked from last time:
And walked around the city till late at night. It is a very pleasant city, colonial streets, a big cathedral, a big Franciscan Monastery, lots of nice restaurants and shops. One of them is established in maybe a previous monastery:
and has its own outdoor chapel that is seen at the end of this passage way.
St. Mary is dressed in Maya clothes and the altar is made from little tiles and not little ceramic vases. A mango tree growing in the yard:
a Day of the Dead character greeting and offering you some vodka everyone at the souvenir store:
I even visited a small chocolate factory where they tell you stories of how chocolate was discovered and introduced to human usage. It used to be an energy drink for Maya kings, took a while until general population could get enough of it. The guide in that little museum was very informative and spoke good English, she told me how patriotic she was about her country and how good it was to live there, their social medical system and support for those who have no jobs. I wonder- why is the Right wing of US blaming Europe for its socialism, Mexico is so much closer and easier to be blamed .
The English speaking guide is in orange. the Spanish speaking guide is in Maya dress, both very beautiful girls, but both from different Indian tribes. The guide even explained how their face bone structure differs, so it would be easy for me to distinguish Maya and Acteks in the future … . I ended up buying their handmade chocolate.Sorry girls, i forgot your names…
Have to finish to describe the Mexico trip. It was a busy summer here, with lots of fruits, vegetables, usual high temperatures and drought. Then it was a busy September -October with guests. So the date on top the blog is definitely not the date when we were there. The right date is in the name of each posting.
Driving from Tikul we searched for a town with hotels. Oxkutzcab was the one. But the hotel we found on the internet didn’t appeal to us/ So we came back to where we entered the town and settled fast into a motel that looked a little strange, but had a very spacious room, bathroom, good tile work everywhere, big yard and a garage! That was the strange part. Here is the exit of the mote (the entrance was the same style picture but different wording):
Seems kind of normal. And here is the yard – each room has an entrance only through it’s two car garage:
Seems very innocent - flower bushes growing by each window, everything looks neat. But the requirement- to close the garage door once you drive in seemed unusual to us. And then we looked around our room and understood. There was a price list behind the door- prices were per hour…We payed as if we were supposed to stay in the room for 2 hours…obviously we stayed the whole night . But we were different customers. Gringos turistos….Otherwise – nobody can see anybody’s car, nobody knows who is closed in the room…Crazy. But that what life is. Evidently – a very intriguing life in that remote provincial town of Mexico… It was too late to change anything knowing that in Mexico there are very few hotels or motels to choose from once you are ways away from the beaten path. So we stayed, after checking the bed we had to ask to change our sheets, etc. Not so much fun. But woke up safe and sound and parted with very smiling pleasant owners. There was a cemetery on the way, so I couldn’t resist to walk there and take its pictures:
Mexicans are really into pruning their trees in nice shapes and forms. They seem to enjoy doing that.
There are no giraffes living in Mexico, unless in a zoo. Why did this person want then on his or her tomb?..
Here is the evening view of the town wholesale market (it seemed) of citrus fruits:
An entrance to public toilets in town:
This is where we ate our dinner, it was tasty .
July 10, 2012
After visiting Museo Archeologico (in San Miguel Fuertes) in Campeche in the morning, we left it at noon, drove North on a wide new highway, still not a toll road for the woks were going on, and then turned towards Uxmal, passed it and reached Tikul. The first what we saw by the road were those Maya ruins:
With some sculptures and decorated walls, with a bunker type structure inside the walls:
And right there we saw this gallery and stopped to figure out what is it supposed to be. There were lots of seemingly old Maya statues and planks all over in the yard:
To tell the truth I was shocked- to steal the ancient artifacts from pyramids and to sell them so openly…But I was wrong. We met there the artist himself, his name is Lois Echeveverrio:
His calling is to copy as many of ancient Maya artifacts as possible and to make them look exactly as they look now in the museums. So all the sculptures in his yard are his work. And then inside the gallery there were shelve sand shelves of pots and plates and sculptures and even frescoes. He showed us a vase or a figurine in a book about Maya culture and then his creation – they looked exactly the same! Even the crevices or cracks in the pottery were in the same place and looked very old…it was amazing! Here is some of his art:
He said it takes him about two months to complete such and “ancient” vase and they are priced accordingly. The least expensive we saw there was $200, but I don’t consider it to be expensive having in mind their quality and the fact that collectors would not deprive some museums of their stuff, they can acquire the stuff at Louises gallery. He said that only him and his wife are making all those beautiful things.
Then we stopped for a little walk in Tikul’s center:
And here is the Town Hall and the main square, which are so similar in the small towns of Yucatan:
Because we still had some daylight, we drove some half and hour to Oxkutzkab where we found a very strange hotel…and slept there.
July 9, 2012
It is close to 70 km from Campeche to Edzna. We started late in the day, way after lunch and expected to reach the pyramids in an hour but it took a little more, the road is not so good. but what a bonus – we were in the whole pyramid complex ALONE! That is more one can expect. At first we thought maybe they are closed – only our car in the parking. So we stayed for the full 2 hours till they close at 5 pm. It was amazing! Here is a path from the parking that leads to the ancient city:
And here is what we saw once we got out of the forest, one after another ruins, pyramids, town squares started unfolding:
And again I mention -there was nobody except for one bird, a woodpecker, disturbing the silence.
The main pyramid is the most impressive. Though there was a sign telling not to climb the stairs, I have to confess – I couldn’t stop myself from this sin…On the other hand – there was nobody to see me climbing, except for Andrei. So I climbed, the stairs were not well restored, it was a little scary, but the most disturbing was the feeling that came from the very top of the pyramid, the temple. I guess I wasn’t worth yet to reach the top, the spirits who guard it didn’t want to let me in and I stopped:
This pic is done by Andrei from below, I am the little white dot on the stairs, close to the top, but not yet. And here are the views I saw from there:
Andrei is a little blue dot in the field or main square.
There were more pyramids to climb which was permitted, so I did some yoga on one of them, it was fantastic:
Some of the stones of these stairs have images, or glyphs:
A jaguar here. there is pretty ruined pyramid with some very elaborate sculpture work,but it is at the bottom of it. So you have to bend down very low to see the images of the gods of East and West:
Here is a new structure they are building, I mean – restoring. In makes me imagine how beautiful those pyramids looked freshly built, like a white city form a fairy tail.
In conclusion – the feeling is amazing, I already want to go back…