Friday, March 18, 2005

Hola, yo soy un tourista

Got in to the hotel late last night, after a minor travel adventure. Both Shana and my planes were late, so we took a little while to find each other, and then we had to convince a shuttle driver to give use a ride to the bus terminal.

We showed up a little before 8PM, and the girl at the counter looked at us a little funny when we said we wanted a 2nd-class bus ticket to Chichen Itza – she asked “Manana?”

We've noticed that drivers here tend to have the A/C cranked, all the time. Had to put on my fleece for the bus ride here.

Woke up late enough this morning to miss breakfast, so we had to hang around until they started serving lunch (noon). After that we caught the hotel shuttle to the ruins of Chichen Itza.

We walked in past a couple hotels right next to the park entrance, a long a trail leading to the main pyramid. The pyramid itself is pretty impressive. We climbed the 91 steps to the top, which is the first challenge – the steps are fairly high, and very narrow. Each step is only slightly wider than my foot – maybe 6” - which makes the pyramid fairly steep. Enough so that while climbing up was merely strenuous, getting back down is more of a challenge.

The park has fixed a knotted rope that runs down the middle3 of the steps, and many people were either clinging to the rope, or going down on butt-and-hands. Shana and I ended up walking down sideways. We deduced that the Mayans must have had small feet.

After seeing the pyramid, we visited the rest of the site. There were a number of temples, and a very large ball court. The ball game was some variant of putting a ball through a hoop, called “pelota.” We also say the “temple of a thousand columns,” the bath house, a “cenote” called “the well of sacrifice,” and the observatory – which looks very much like a modern observatory.

Had dinner at the hotel (after cocktails, of course). The hotel has a respectable kitchen; I had thinly-sliced pepper steak, and Shana had fish which she guesses was cod. Both were served with potatoes which must have been at least half butter.

Plan for tomorrow is to get up early, breakfast, have a quick dip in the pool, and head in to Merida to do some shopping.

No comments: