General News · 27th November 2009
Richard & Carol
We checked the weather, purchased first class bus tickets and headed on our way at 9:15 in the morning. Despite the reports the day was mostly cloudy with a few down pours. Chichén Itzá was the most crowded of sites we have been to by far, with thousands of people there of various tours and nationalities, most with a guide speaking to them in their native tongue.
As our friend, Ian LeCheminant said to us in an email, “It's a bit surreal... you can look at it but cannot touch. It's like you are almost there but not quite.” Yes the ropes and restrictions were unpleasant but we could understand it after seeing the thousands of people. If you want to walk amongst ruins more freely, then The Ruta Puuc and Uxmal are it.
The friezes, carvings and decorations to the buildings are fabulous. They are more baroque and show the macabre depiction of “blood and gore” , with eagles and jaguars eating human hearts, the skulls of the many captured, and the decapitation of the loosing captain of the ball team.
The last picture is the sacred cenote (water hole) after walking down a 1000 foot sacbe, (white raised roadway). On dredging this in the first part of the 20th century, they found many skeletons, human and others, as well as trinkets and pottery. In the book, MAYA by Charles Gallenkamp, there is an account from Diego Sarmiento de Figueroa in 1579,
“The Lord and principal personages of the land had the custom after 60 days of abstinence and fasting, of arriving by daybreak at the mouth of the cenote and throwing into it Indian women belonging to each of these lords and personages, at the same time telling these women to ask for their masters a year favorable to his particular needs and desires.”
“The women, being thrown in unbound, fell into the water with great force and noise. At high noon those that could cry out loudly ropes were let down to them. After the women came up half dead, fires were lit around them and copal incense burned before them. When they recovered their senses, they said that below there were many people of their nation, men and women, and that they received them. When they tried to raise their heads to look at them, heavy blows were given to them on the head, and when their heads wwere inclined downward beneath the water, they seemed to see many deeps and hollows, and they, the people, responded to their queries concerning the good or the bad year that was insotre for their masters.”
Chichén Itzá has been called one of the new 7 Wonders of the World. I would like to add an ‘8th Wonder’. Out of all the 7 sites we have visited, and Uxmal, rivals this one in size, none had the vendors within its walkways. There were literally hundred of them occupying both sides of the paths that led to all the features and sites. There were ones that roamed about, not attached to a table and approached you while walking the fields. Most if not all had the same “made in China” stuff.
It was like walking through a shark’s alley. You couldn’t relax or look about for fear of one shouting at you to buy his goods. All in all, it spoiled the experience of Chichén Itzá We wonder WHY the Mexican authorities allow this?
To quote the article in the Yucatan Today free tourist guide about Chichén Itzá,
“Inside the zone you will see many vendors. We specifically recommend you do not purchase anything from them. They are pirates saying they are Mayas. The outdoor market was specifically built for them with bathrooms and electricity and they don’t use it.”
Clicking on the link below will take you to a slide show. Click on a thumbnail, then on the word “next” to see them all.
jaguars and eagles eating human hearts
the wall of skulls
the nunnery residence
the sacred water hole