Saturday, December 9, 2023

Mérida to Uxmal,Yucatan, Mexico         December 9, 2023

I was awake at 4 a.m. partly because I’d shut off my light at 8 p.m!  I couldn’t keep my eyes open any longer. Is that a loser or what?  Once I woke up thinking it must be morning and it was 9:45!  Frick!  I guess it’s expected if you’re up at 4 because you’ve got 4+ hours in before a normal person even thinks about getting up.  This is a huge reason why I don’t like sleeping in dorms.  My timetable is different so I am awakened continuously as people settle in for the night and then I have to tiptoe around not to wake anyone up so early.

My goal today was to get to Uxmal to see the ruins-

I walked to the ADO bus terminal which is about 10 minutes away and stood in line for 15 minutes to get my ticket.  I was glad I went early.  I got a front seat which I like because I watch the road-

Along the way there were a lot of groups celebrating La Virgen de Guadalupe- or Mary.  Her day is December 12 so people are celebrating all weekend with signs and they run/walk along the highway.  This group was just heading out-

In about 1.5 hours, we arrived and I was touring by 10:30.  It’s expensive, costing $39, nothing was marked and there was only one explanation board.  

Uxmal is a Mayan town in the Puuc region of the Yucatan.  It was founded in 700 A.D. and survived until about 1000.  25,000 people lived here.  The way the buildings are aligned shows they understood astronomy.

Puuc architecture divides the façade of a building into two horizontal elements.  The lower level is plain - block after block with rounded corners and the upper level is richly decorated with motifs, serpents, lattice, pillars and mosaics.  There are sculptures above the doorways and the head of Chaac, the rain god is on the corners.  They were smart too because they used concrete to secure the bottom stones instead of plaster for longevity.  This also allowed for larger and more stable interior rooms.

The Pyramid of the Soothsayer/Magician is also called the Adivino Pyramid and is 115 feet tall.  It faces east in reverance to the sun- 

The south and west sides of the Magician’s Pyramid-

The Quadrangle of the Nuns (Monja’s) has 74 rooms facing into the courtyard and buildings on 4 sides.  It wasn’t a nunnery at all, but that’s what it reminded the Spaniards of so that’s what they called it.  The west and north buildings-

The north side-

The west building-

The building to the east-

The corners with the face of Chaac the rain god-

Fancy lattice work-

This tablet used to have hieroglyphics on it but they have disappeared because of exposure to the elements.  It was found in one of the rooms-

The Governor’s Palace is 320 feet long with 103 stone masks of Chaac the rain god.  It also has a large, long plumed head-dress centered in the middle of the building-

The Palace of the Turtles has carved turtles on its cornice and is so named because turtles suffer like humans without rain.  There were no cenotes here so they had to rely on the weather-

The Grand Pyramid apparently offers a great view from the top but since COVID, it can no longer be climbed.  That’s it in the distance-

There are other foundations around the site-

and other unnamed buildings-

There were lots of iguanas enjoying the sun-

There’s a Pok Ta Tok field-

with a ring required for scoring-

By noon I had seen it all but I knew there was only one bus back and it would come by around 3, mas o menos.  I had no desire to sit on a cement bench and wait so I caught a cab to Muna a neighbouring town for 50 pesos.  From there I caught a collectivo for 40 pesos.  90 pesos is what it cost to come on the bus and I was back at Saint Juan Square for lunch by 1:30!  I was very proud of myself because what  kills a person is the waiting for transportation.  It’s so much easier with a car but…..

San Juan church is lovely-

It is never open when I am around but there are a lot of restaurants in the park.  I had horchata to drink which is a rice flavoured water.  It was really good - sort of tasted like vanilla pudding but in liquid form.  I also had an el pastor taco- on the right and an asado taco which means roasted, on the left.  They tasted similar but I think today I preferred the asado-

Tonight at 8 p.m. there was supposed to be a game of Pok Ta Tok in front of the Cathedral but it was cancelled because there was a Christmas market happening in a different square.  Walking there-

and finally one of the many churches I’ve only seen closed was hosting a wedding-

At the market there were lots of booths selling everything you don’t need and there were lots of lights-

as well as dancers-

Tonight is my last night at Garra Charrua but I’m staying in Merida another day but moving to a different hotel, a “fancier?” one for the same money just for a different experience.  I hope to go to Celestun tomorrow as well to see the flamingoes.  I hope getting there and back will be as simple and quick as today.  

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