The great day of trip to MexicoThat morning we would go from excursion to Chinchen Itzá star of the Mexican Mayan ruins and one of the new wonders of the world. After the visit, we move to the beautiful colonial city of Mérida.
Six in the morning, the mobile alarm went off. Our intention was to be at eight o'clock at the door of Chichen Itza, because it is the time when the lockers open, and thus visit the new wonder of the world with few people and little heat. While we were having breakfast, we debated whether to go there in a bus or on a route bus, and a waiter informed us that both means passed every half hour. What time? That is a mystery because, as in Italy and Spain, it happens when it happens. While I was eating a plate of fresh fruit, I saw two buses and a route bus parading in front of me minutes apart ... Well, you have to go by taxi. We called a taxi and, while we waited for him, we watched as several more buses passed by. Pass ... pass, more than one every half hour, sure. When? Another of the innumerable Mayan mysteries that remain to be deciphered.
At eight o'clock we arrived at the door, we left our bags in the locker Free and we bought the ticket (having attended the night before the light and sound show, we only had to pay the difference). At the entrance we were approached by a guide who offered us his services, but we told him that we had met a guide the day before to visit him. We waited for about 10 minutes and the other guide told us that he was coming later or not coming ... pressing very professionally so we would not waste time. As I did not have the credential hanging around my neck, I told him to please show it to me because I did not want to hire a pirate guide and, being all in order, we decided to do the guided tour with him without further delay.
Felipe was in his sixties and he told us many stories about Chichen Itza and the Mayan culture. Chichen Itza are the most famous and best restored Mayan ruins of the Yucatan and I would say that of Mexico. Since 2007, and after a popular vote, it was declared a new wonder of the world. «The castle» or pyramid of Kukulkan It is the most famous and most representative building of the entire site. The visit started there. Felipe explained that if we took out a machete and went into the jungle we could still discover some ruin, since the city stretched many kilometers around (about 35? I don't remember it well), of which only a few had been restored few.
What Felipe insisted on was all that had to do with human sacrifices. For the Maya, human sacrifices were a way of venerating the gods, so for the sacrificed it was also an honor. Of course, the vision of Hollywood is always more sensational and, despite the fact that human sacrifices were made, they were not made every day, but on special occasions.
The castle It was originally built by the Toltecs and later, in the year 800, the current one was erected on top of it. Actually, the pyramid is a representation of the Mayan calendar 25 meters high. Each of the four stairs has 91 steps and if you add them together with the upper platform it gives a total of 365. Besides, it has an impressive acoustics, so when the maximum leader or priest wanted to address the masses, He could do from the top of the pyramid without having to lose heart in the attempt. Currently you can not climb the pyramid because a few years ago someone fell and is said to be killed. But it does not surprise me, each step is half a foot wide, so you had to do it on your side to get off. If we add to this difficulty fatigue, heat and the hundreds of people who had to climb there, the misfortune was more than guaranteed.
After visiting «the castle» we went to another of the mythical places: The great ball game. This game was a competition and at the same time a ritual to honor the gods. The most important god in Chichen Itza was Chaak or Tlaloc, god of rain. It is believed that the ball game was varying according to the years, but basically what they had to do was to pass the ball through the stone ring after it bounced off the wall. The one who scored, won, and normally when it was marked the game was over since scoring was extremely difficult. When the ball game was done as a ritual, it is not clear whether the captain of the winning team or the defeated team was sacrificed. Those who participated in the game were strong warriors, so it is understood that only one of the two would be sacrificed on "special" occasions, because if it were done every day, they would soon be left unprotected.
The court of the great ball game also had incredible acoustics, and the noise that the ball should make when it collided with the wall should have been deafening.
After the ball game, we walked 300 meters to the sacred Cenote. This cenote has a diameter of 60 meters and 35 deep, and there also sacrifices were made. In fact, Felipe explained to us that the selected person was chosen and prepared for months for the "event." Normally they selected people of great faith so as not to make the high priest look bad, but even so, not to take risks, hours before they used to enjoy and luxuriously dress the above, they gave him a “happy trip” with some opioid and, if it weren't enough, they put him in a sauna for a little while. Anyway, that the poor unhappy, who apart could not swim, was thrown into the water and died drowned without offering any resistance. Years ago the bottom of the cenote was explored and many bones and gold jewelry were found.
As there was little time left, we went directly to the other end of the archaeological park to see «El Caracol» and the «building of the nuns». "The snail" is believed to be an observatory and the "nun building" (they gave it that name because the stone was carved as if it were a lattice) a palace.
As at 10.30 our first bus passed, at 10.15 we ran towards the exit to collect our bags and get on the bus. We thought that we would have plenty of time, and in the end we had to run to the entrance. Felipe called from his cell phone to ask if it had already happened, and that if he arrived they would notify us that we had the tickets, but when we arrived at the parking lot (there is no bus stop in Chichen Itza) they told us that it had happened before the time and that had gone. Nor did we have much time to complain, since at that precise moment a second bus arrived and one of the ADO workers there was arranged with the bus of the other company so that we could go on it. What happens is that the price and the duration of the journey to Merida were not exactly the same.
The second or route buses are less comfortable than the first ones, but they are still very comfortable and have air conditioning. What happens is that they usually take longer because, as one can get on and off with just making a signal, stop everywhere. We went through typical villages of low houses and painted with bright colors that stretched along the road. From time to time, a street food vendor went up selling supplies to passengers and, when finished, got off to wait for another bus. Two hours later we arrive at Merida.
The feelings I had when getting off the bus in Mérida is something I would not know how to explain. An employee of the station asked us where we were going and the truth is that we were so disoriented, that we told him to indicate the way to the town hall. In the end, a few meters later we reconsidered and asked how the hotel was reached. In Mérida, the streets instead of name are numbered. From north to south they are odd and from east to west even. While we were dragging our suitcases, we walked through a crowded shopping streets of people who came and went in all directions, with cars everywhere sounding their horns and shops of all kinds with music at full volume and heat, very hot. As we made our way through the crowd, I felt like Dr. Marcus Brody in Indiana Jones and the last crusade, lost and shouting, "Does anyone speak my language?" But everyone did it and yet I felt disoriented in the face of so much human chaos. "Welcome to Mexico!" I said with a smile from ear to ear to my partner, we have finally arrived! 🙂