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Monday, October 8, 2007

Our Day at Chichen-Itza

On Thursday of our trip we took a 2 1/2 hour ride through the jungle to get to Chichen-Itza. This is a huge ruins site that includes the pyramid. I was really looking forward to going here, even though I knew we were in for a long hot day.

There is so much to see here - this place is amazing! This is the big pyramid that is always shown in photographs. It is HUGE! I didn't know this, but inside of this pyramid is a smaller pyramid that they just built right over. The grounds here are very spacious. Our tour guide showed us something pretty cool - if you go stand in the middle of the field on the side of the pyramid and clap your hands, then listen, the echo that comes back sounds exactly like a bird chirping. It's the way they made the inside of the building that it does that. Also, you can hear everything there because of the echo. He was telling us that they think it's possible that they would have someone stand at the top of the pyramid to speak to the crowd because you can hear everything so well. If someone is talking from up there, you can hear it everywhere below.

Here you can see just how big it really is! We are standing on the back side of the pyramid. This is how it looked when they found the ruins. The steps on the front 2 sides have been reconstructed.

This door at the bottom leads to the inside of the pyramid. They don't let you go in there anymore. What a bummer! I would have loved to see the inside and also to get out of the heat!

These stones that are all stacked up are thought to be some sort of music makers. They are all slightly different lengths and give off different tones when you strike them.

Of course these ruins also have all kinds of symbolism and things that coincide with the equinoxes and important dates and times. In this building there is a statue of a jaguar at the bottom. At the top of the building on each of the 4 sides there are 8 jaguars carved into the walls. So, there are 32 jaguars around the top of the building, and one down in the bottom to make 33 jaguars. I thought it was really neat on the inside of this building we could still see paint from where they had decorated it and painted the carvings.

The next pictures are some of the carvings on the jaguar building. Everything here was carved so much. They sure do put a lot of work into their buildings! Much more than we do today. Unbelievable.

I call this staircase the "Samuel the Lamanite stairs" because when I first saw them, it reminded me of that picture from the church where he is standing on the wall preaching and the crowd is shooting arrows at him and climbing up that staircase. On the sides of the staircase is petrified wood. Those are actually logs lining it.

This is a very long path we walked down to go see the water source that the people used so long ago. In Mexico there are a ton of cenotes - they are sinkholes made from the underground water and rivers that run through. It's a place where the water is accessible. The Mayans used these as their water sources. I was quite disappointed that this whole walk was lined with people trying to sell souveniers. I would have much preferred a nice, quiet walk through the trees. Oh well.

Here is what we walked all that way to see. I can't believe this was their water source! I hope it was cleaner back then cause it sure grossed me out! From different expeditions that have been done, in this cenote they have found 43 skulls, and thousands of pieces of jewelry.

I like this building and I really wonder what it looked like in its prime. It is huge and it goes way back behind what you see here. It has all of those columns that you see below plus a lot more, in fact, there are exactly 2000 perfectly straight columns in front of and around the whole building. They are also in perfectly straight rows so that when you stand next to one and look side to side you can't see any others in the row.

This is a great big field, like a sports arena and the building at the end is where they think the king would sit to watch the proceedings.

OK. That is a lot of Chichen-Itza pictures, so if you want to see more, refer to my photo album at home or my big stack of photos that didn't fit in the album. :)

On the way to and from Chichen-Itza we passed several small villages and lots of little huts that people live in. I can't believe people really live like that! One little huff and the house would be in shambles. We tried to take a few pictures as we were driving. Here is one:

We also went through a Mayan village and our driver told us that the Mayan people who still live out in the jungle are completely self sufficient. He said they don't go to the store for anything. Wow! People still can do that? I didn't know.

And last but not least . . .

We just had to take a picture of this! A real-life Nacho Libre bike! There were tons of them down there and they were all yellow! Apparently this is a very functional Mexican vehicle. :)

We really did have a great day driving out to see Chichen-Itza and all the other things we saw there. The only downside to this trip was that I suffered a little from heat exhaustion and was really "out of it" when we reached the hotel. I made a quick recovery once I got into our air-conditioned room and took a shower. It was worth the trip, though, and I would recommend to anyone who is in the area to stop off at this amazing location!

1 comment:

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