Wednesday, December 13, 2023

 Chichén Itzá, Yucatán,  Mexico        December 13, 2023

I was awakened at 5 when traffic picked up.  It was none too early as I had to leave at 6:30 to catch a 7 a.m. collectivo.  How lucky am I?  I got the last spot!

In no time we were on our way and I visited with a man from the U.K. whom I later learned is named Julian.  We got to Chichén Itzá at 7:20 and it doesn’t open until 8.  Julian and I were second in line and soon we were in.

The first thing you see is the Kukulkan Temple, also known as El Castillo (the castle).  It’s dedicated to Kukulkan the feathered serpent god-

It’s 100 feet tall and each of the four sides has 91 steps which equals 364 and with the top platform, that’s 365 steps which is how many days there are in a year.  Each side aligns perfectly with a cardinal point.  It’s built on 2 former temples and that’s probably the most interesting thing for me- what else is hidden here?  We will never know!

The Great Ball Court is where Pok Ta Pok was played.  It measures 229 feet wide and 551 feet long which makes it the longest playing field in Mesoamerica-

The  side walls are 39 feet high and the hoops are 26 feet off the ground-

They played with a rubber ball that could have weighed up to 4 kg.  To score, the ball couldn’t touch the ground, nor could players use their hands or feet.  Sounds pretty much impossible to me which is maybe why the stands are decorated with beheaded players as well as other things-

At the north end is Temple of the Bearded Man which was where important people sat to watch-

At the southeast corner is the Temple of Jaguars-

Julian is in front of the Platform of Venus where there are carvings of feathered serpents, jaguars and eagles-

Nearby is the Platform of Skulls whose purpose was to exhibit the corpses of the human sacrifices as well as prisoners.  It emphasized the power of the city.  There are a lot of easy to see carvings-


More skulls-

The Temple of Warrior’s columns would have supported a roof-

The Group of a Thousand Columns is really only about 200 columns, some of which are circular and others square.  They are carved and were once colourful-

The Observatory or El Caracol (the snail) is an odd building.  There’s a dome that has a staircase decorated with snails and there are holes in the roof which would have allowed the people to track the stars and planets, especially Venus.  These people were not dummies-

The Nunnery is so called because it reminded the Spaniards of convents.  No one truly has a clue what any of these places were actually called-

Next to it is the Church which has the best carvings and is dedicated to Chaac the Mayan god of rain-

The back-

Next to it is the end of the nunnery-

with more great carvings-

 Chaac, the god of rain sits above the entrance-

I spent my morning with Julian and we really had a good time.  We pointed a lot of things out to each other and being with him made me slow down and enjoy the site which was good because it cost $51 to enter!

After seeing all there was to see we split up and I wandered the markets, eventually buying an obsidian necklace.  Soon I exited and caught a collectivo back to Valladolid.  Also waiting for the ADO bus was the poor American couple with enough luggage for a family of 6.  I visited with a young Moroccan couple who are both doctors currently studying in France.  I suggested they come to Saskatchewan once finished their studies.  They each speak 3 languages and enough Spanish to get by.  So lucky!  

About 30 coaches show up each day but luckily in the afternoon.  When we arrived this morning the parking lot was empty-

so practically was the site but not by noon-

spent the afternoon enjoying my balcony, then joined Julian for supper-

I had a great day and am glad I spent the morning at one of the 7 wonders of the world.  Tomorrow my bus leaves at 10:10 for Bacalar! 

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