Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Honeymoon: Day 2 Chichén Itzá!

 (Day 2 of our very delayed recap of our Honeymoon, in honor of Jessica.) 

Jordan’s mother had scared the bejesus out of us telling us about how his aunt was kidnapped in Mexico, so prior to going I had planned out a bunch of touristy trips before hand. I also made a very detailed agenda of our trip which everyone made fun of me for.

Our first trip was to Xichen Mayan Ruins, to Chichén Itzá (pronounced like chicken pizza). We did all of our tours through and did the 3 tour bundle, it was definitely worth it if you are considering doing to Mexico in the Playa del Carmen/ Cancun region.

Our first stop (which by the way, was a LONG ride ~2 hours, so if you go you might consider bringing a book which I neglected to do!)  was the Mayan Ruins! I admittedly did not know too much about them before hand so it was very interesting to get the guided tour.

They used to let people climb the ruins and go inside, but apparently people were doing graffiti inside. Inside sounded very cool and complex, apparently the more famous the person, the higher levels they got to go to. For example the priests were numero uno and got to go to the tippity top!

Along the side are these cool snake heads, that when the shadow hits them just right was a sign that it was time to plant the crops and harvest the crops. It was also a time for human sacrifice.

Along the walls were lines and lines of skulls, representing all of the human sacrifices made for the gods.
 They have a huge arena with these hoops on either side. The players hit a ball with a bat type of object in order to get the ball through the hole. At the end of the game one of the teams was sacrificed, it was unclear if it was the winning or losing team! It may have been considered a big honor to be sacrificed so it is hypothesized that the winners were sacrificed.  Those hoops were high up so I have no idea how anyone could get a ball up there.
Arena Hoops 

 While the ancient Mayans were not sacrificing people or playing games, they had some very well organized market places where most business would occur. There were pillars like this organized around in the market place where people used to gather to do their shopping.

In modern times, everyone now tries to sell the tourists stuff! Specifically masks and obsidian rock noted to have healing properties (think those rocks they put on people during a massage!) 

Beer was complimentary on the tour as well, also a great selling point.

We then went to Zací Mayan cenote, a natural swimming hole in a cave. It was gorgeous. There were some people swimming in the hole, but we were only given 30 minutes to explore so we did not have the chance. We almost got left behind by the tour bus as it was!

I was pretending to dive off the edge, but since you cannot see the edge it was less dramatic. Let us also note how red my arm was and this is only day 2!! They joked that in Yucatan, you can tan! I apparently could burn :x

An alter where some people worship
Entrance to the cave
 Our final stop of the day was Valladolid, Yucatan. We had lunch there and then got to wander around the city a little bit (Since Jordan and I had just almost gotten left behind at the sink hole we were very tentative to wander too far!) The town was very interesting. It used to also contain Mayan Ruins, but they were torn down and the town was built, but interestingly they used some of the same rocks that had been in the pyramids to make the new buildings.

 We mostly just checked out the local cathedral. There were a lot of people begging here and really showed the poverty of this particular area.

The end of the evening was us returning on our 2+ hour bus ride, after complimentary beers all day, so we once again hit the hay pretty early!  

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