Tuesday, October 7, 2014

Taking Time To Celebrate

Celebration Time

 Time to take a day and go exploring with our Mayan dear friend Russel, a tour guide, our Spanish teacher and interpreter and all around hard worker with us on the catamaran, GM.  We had our choice of several options, certainly more than we could accomplish in one day. We are off to celebrate our 34th Wedding Anniversary and Russel set out to spoil us with a day of swimming, exploring, education and eating.

First stop, a Cenote for a swim. Cenote: a freshwater spring in a limestone sinkhole or sometimes, a swimming hole inside a limestone cave. We visited a cenote that is "open to the sky" in Mayan terminology.
 This one, located in a remote Mayan village, not accessible to tourists and can only be found with a guide such as Russel. We had the place to ourselves for an hour or so, then cautiously a few locals arrived quizzing Russel about the gringos and his connection to us. Russel explained we were his friends from the United States cruising on a sailboat that was docked in Progreso. They asked if we were like the people on Gilligan's Island. Russel started laughing and translating at the same time and we all then had a good laugh replying, "We have cruised for more than three hours."

Charlie and Russel opted to dive from the platform.

I chose the stairs 

Russel visitng with the locals.


Mayan Ruins at Uxmal in the Yucatan Region of Mexico

Here is a link to the Site Map
This site has photos that were taken at key spots. Select a green arrow and the photo and description will come up.

The tallest pyramid on the site - Pyramid of the Magician

Can you see the face at the top? The mouth is an entrance.

Zoom view of the face. The nose is missing. Visitors are not allowed to climb this pyramid.

The patterns in this stonework are used in just about all the buildings at this site.

The iguana was hanging out quite a way up the pyramid.....

The iguana is in the lower right corner of the picture below.

All the facets of this pyramid make an intriguing study in architecture and the manpower for such construction. Russel says the pyramid is round on the ends to mirror the planet. Mayan homes are also built with round ends.

Exterior walls are curved outward at the top to make it difficult for intruders to scale.
An arch just about fully restored

Several columns of stone carved to resemble bamboo is another reoccurring motif

Strolling around inside the quadrangle, a set of four buildings used for assorted purposes. An education wing, town hall, science and observatory wing and the Chief's residence.  The buildings are placed just so, for tracking the solstices and equinoxes as well as the daily tracking of the sun and any change in the winds.

Close up of the snake face

Pillar remains - Located in the center of the quadrangle, it was used to track the sun.

A powerful creature for the Maya. Name went right out of our heads. More questions for Russell.

Russell taking a picture of us taking a picture of him at the top of one of the Grand Pyramid

Long way down. We failed to count the steps. 

Grand view of the site. You can see the top of the pyramid we first visited in the center of this photo

Another snake face in the room at the top of the pyramid we climbed

An Ancestor in the mouth of a snake symbolizes a message brought from that ancestor

Close up details of the carved patterns

We received a great deal of information from Russell, more than we can remember.  As I sit here now and write I realize I have several more questions for Russell. However he did recommend a book which we now have, titled:

A Forest Of Kings - The Untold Story of the Ancient Maya
By Linda Schele and David Freidel

We have some reading to do.

Next stop the hacienda for a late lunch

We were the last table of the afternoon. Our waiter was gracious and the food excellent.
A buffet of traditional Mayan dishes prepared by Mayans, all superb. 

Entrance to the amphitheater and cenote on the grounds of the hacienda

The cenote entrance is at the far end of the crescent pool, through the mouth of a cave.

View around the grounds

Closing time 

Next blog post will be after our first trip with Gregg, one of the owners of the Gloriamaris.
So back to the marina and projects to get ready for sailing to Arrecife Alacranes Nacional Parque.