11
Apr-2013

Chichen Itza – A Mayan site

This is the day before last of my Mexican vacation.

My heart is broken thinking of my return to New York, where it’s really cold right now. I would have like to see more things, many more, but time is pressing therefore I choose to visit Chichen Itza, one of the Mayan sites in the north of Mexico. Gianluca is working today so I will be all by myself during the entire day.

I buy the ticket at a travel agency and I get to visit a cenote, have lunch, see the Mayan ruins and make a quick stop in the historical town of Valladolid, all included in the price. The van picks me up in front of the house at 7:30am. It’s not the official one though since I need to change to a different bus somewhere along the road. I’m not sure where exactly, but I will find out soon. I befriend an American couple traveling with me so I won’t feel too lonely. We are supposed to leave at 9:30am but the bus is late and we find ourselves in the middle of nowhere waiting for it. I’ve been told that this is Mexico so I should not worry too much or I will get an ulcer. We finally leave, about 30 people coming from all over the world. 

Our guide talks about the different stop we will be making. First of all: a cenote, an underground water well that is supposed to be a sacred place and where we can go for a swim. It seems that some of the scene of Blue Lagoon with Brooke Shields were shot here, and if you bathe in there, you can become like her. I asked for a reimbursement. I went in the frigid water but there was no miracle and I put myself a risk of pneumonia because of that!! Quick stop for lunch. Let’s not talk about the details but let’s just say I’ve had better food in my life. This is the only place though where I make my first and only purchase: a bottle of Mezcal with my picture on the label. $20 and no MasterCard but it’s cute!!

We arrive in Chichen Itza at last. It’s about ninety degrees in the shade, but there’s no shade at all. There’s something magic in the air. Maybe it’s because of all the stories about the Mayan prophecy, maybe it’s because the day of the prophecy has marked a new beginning for me, but I’m really fascinated by this place. The guide explains all the details of the site, the rules of the pelota games and all the mathematical and astrological calculation the Maya used to build the pyramid. The streets are filled with vendors of any sort of things, from Mayan masks to clothes, from pendants to hand-made handkerchief that are not really hand-made. They tell us to be wary of these people: if we want to buy something, we need to negotiate. If they ask us for one thousand pesos, it means they will settle for one hundred. I’ve already contributed to the Mexican economy by purchasing the liquor bottle and even if I like the masks, I really do not have any room left in my suitcase.

The day goes by fast and we need to leave in order follow the time schedule. We’ve departed late in the morning, so we only have exactly fifteen minutes to visit Valladolid.

Touch and go. Just the time to take pictures of the main church, of the people hanging out at the park across the street and I already see our guide loosing his patience as I’m the last one to board the bus. He just does not understand my creative side!!

We arrive in Cancun 10:30pm. I’m dead tired but happy about another day spent in this fantastic country.

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