Monday, December 4, 2023

Edzna, Campeche, Mexico     December 3, 2023

I was up bright and early and looking for the collectivo to go to Edzna before 7 am.  Jorge had sent me a map showing me it was very close to Ambar House where I’m staying but that seemed a rather obscure place to have a combi so I went to the main road.  The market was already hopping-

After  asking around a bit, I was directed to the spot where I should have gone to begin with, about 150 meters from where I’m staying.  I got the last seat in the van-

and at 7 sharp, we were on our way.  

The land is completely covered with vegetation whether it be fields of corn-

or trees, grasses and vines-

I bet the food is delicious-

These damn topes!  They are everywhere and add literally hours to a long trip-

I walked into the Edzna Archaeological Site with a worker who unlocked the gate and for the first 30 minutes was by myself.  Edzna was a Maya city where 25,000 people lived between 400-1000 AD.  One of the most interesting facts is they had a year round water supply.  There are many such sites throughout Mexico and Central America.  

It is very small but interesting just the same.  After paying 90 pesos ($7) it’s a bit of a walk-

to get to the site.  The first structure is stadium seating for the game of pelota which is like soccer; played with a large rubber ball and players wear protectors on the waist and knees .  The ball could be hit with any part of the body except the hands and arms. -

A recent discovery is two faces that still maintain most of their red colouring.  Usually after exposure to oxygen, the colour disappears.  The masks represent the sun god with the one on the left/east being the sunrise and the one on the right/west representing sunset.  There are also hints of black emphasizing the squint and blue/green for the earplugs-

The main attraction at Edzna is the Gran Acrópolis which simply means the highest point.  At first I didn’t realize there was a second story above the pelota field-

until I climbed a few more steps-

Here, there are 3 main buildings sitting on a reinforced base measuring 160 meters long.  The buildings average 8 meters above the level of the plaza.  The majority of the buildings are to the east of the main plaza because the Maya revered the sun because without it, they were nothing.  

To the left is the North Temple which is a conglomeration of styles built over time.  The first building, built between 300-500 AD has stairways and a couple of galleries.  Between 500-600 AD, most of the stairway was covered over and massive slopes of stone were added which is an architectural style called Puuc.  During a third renovation, the galleries were filled in and narrow stairways with balustrades (spindles) were added.  They were truly artists because they used steeped panels which were decorated with well cut stone blocks to show shading which is called chlaroscuro (light and dark).  The fourth reno was between 1000-1400 AD and it involved  adding another level-

Across from the North Temple is another structure-

I’m standing on it with the North Temple right behind me-

The main attraction is the Edificio de Los Cinco Pisos or the Five Storied Building which served as main living quarters for the rulers and religious leaders and as the name suggests, the temple has five floors with a central stairway leading to the top-

Hieroglyphics found on a bottom step say 652 AD but it’s believed construction occurred from the 4th to 14th centuries.  There are 27 rooms all with west facing entrances.  The building is 31.5 meters tall.

It’s pink shirt day!

More piles of rocks throughout the site-

I love the flat sides and wonder how they could build such places with primitive tools.  Maybe they weren’t so primitive-

The collectivo driver told me he would pick me up at 10 but I was done visiting the site by 9 so thought I might catch an earlier ride back to Campeche.  I walked to the pick up spot and luckily I could hide in the shade behind a plastic road barricade because it was very hot.  I waited and waited.  Soon, two men were dropped off to also catch the van back.  They had suitcases and said they were going  home to Ciudad, which is Mexico City.  They had been working near by, building the Tren Maya which I forgot all about.  It’s a train that will run full circle through the Yucatan and Quintana  Roo states servicing mainly tourists.  They are building the track near Edzna and there’s a station  near the ruins-

They quit their jobs because the pay was poor.  Time passed and still no collectivo so when a big truck with open sides was passing by they flagged it down and hopped in the back. They asked if I wanted to come, but I thought there was no way in hell I was going to stand in the back of a truck, in the sun and rumble for an hour back to Campeche. Right at 10 the collectivo showed up and I was lucky to get a seat –

The driver has plastic stackable stools so people can sit comfortably?? in the aisle.

We got dropped off at the pickup spot and I wandered to the market-

 down barbershop alley where there were numerous shops, all busy-

Because it is Sunday, the mercado was packed-

This so amazes me-

I ate at Antojitos Tinun and had a chicken taco and a garnacha.  It’s a mini pie with a crust filled with hamburger-

Of course there are salsas on the table-

After lunch I went home for a rest and it rained!  Once I thought the heat of the day had passed, I walked through a  residential area to a big shopping mall searching for more coffee at Starbucks. A good thing about the rain is the streets are deserted-

Galerias Campeche is huge and well decorated for Christmas –

I walked back via the Malecon-

and walked through La Puerta de Mar-

I ended up in the main square and had a chaya margarita.  It was okay but maybe what I don’t  like is the tequila-

I walked around the corner to the number one restaurant in Campeche for local food called La Maria Cocina Peninsular.  I had queso relleno which is hamburger stuffed in an Edam cheese ball served with kol (gravy) and chiltomate (tomato sauce).  It was delicious!  For an antojito they brought a bean dip.  Once the relleno was brought to the table, the mesero poured the gravy on it-

Hidden inside was the hamburger-

Other sites from the evening were a statue of an explorer-

The lit up library-

and lame dancers-

There are lots of these ugly jaguars all over Campeche.  Apparently it was an art project-

I walked home exhausted but not as tired as the corner shop tortilla maker.  He seems to always be open so I stopped to buy a couple of eggs for breakfast tomorrow.  He said he is  open from 5 am to 8 pm.  He must have been really tired because first he asked if I was married and then he told me I was beautiful. I started to laugh and said good night!

I had a great day and am looking forward to tomorrow.

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