Wednesday, December 06, 2006
Chichen Itza - Not Chicken Pizza!
We LOVED our time on the beach in Mexico - but truly wanted to experience the history of the ruins inland. So we traveled westward to the Yucatan. It may seem cliche to some - but our primary destination was Chichen Itza. What an amazing spot. Spiritual, historical, international - inspirational.
The day was perfect - warm, but not too hot, incredible blue skies. We were awestruck. What a sight - a photo on a random blog just does not do it justice.
I hope that you'll click on the pictures to enlarge the images to get a closer look.
I accept the fact that I'm a lamebrain in the history department, but...c'mon....how did I graduate high school without an understanding of the history in this part of the world? It makes me angry...really. Really!! We hooked up with this great Spanish speaking docent who walked us through a small part of the ruins. This guy gave us a great, albeit cursory history lesson about Chichen Itza and its rise to power - I want to know more, though. It is all so interesting & complex.
This stone carving references the "games" played at Chichen Itza that precluded the sacrifices made to the Gods.
This is an etching that alludes to the activities surrounding the beheadings that became a part of the sacrificial aspect of life in Chichen Itza back in the day. Our guide told us that the Maya people were not "into" sacrifice until they were infiltrated by another group of people (sorry, I can't remember the name of that group). Interesting how they embraced the practice.
Love the skull pic, BTW.
Here are a couple other pics of the amazing stone etchings - It is amazing to me to think of how old this art is. Incredible. And, so damn beautiful.
One thing about Chichen Itza - it is a very huge tourist attaction. I will not call it a tourist trap, though. The "artisan marketplace" outside the area is more of a trap. Once you are inside, and this place is huge, you are in a sacred sort of place. Yes, there are loads of folk trying to sell you stuff that has likely been made in China...but, well, you move on from that. It is not like there is a McDonalds onsite. There is some sense of reverence in spite of the capitalization of the thousands of people visiting the spot daily.
Final, shadowy pic of the amazing spot:
Proof that we were here together:
A very cool, very well traveled friend of ours recommended a retreat close to Chichen Itza - well off the beaten path. This included a trip to Ek Balam, a ruins site that has only recently been excavated. That was our planned resting place...and we did end up there....eventually.
More pics of that spot and a funny culture collision story to come...........
Until then....adios muchachas/muchachos.