Chichen Itza

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Chichen Itza

We took off today for our excursion to Valladolid and surrounding archaeological sites.  It took us about two and a half hours to drive from Chunchucmil to Chichen Itza.  Bruce ,Dylan, chris, Emily, Lisa, Bill and I went.  The site is a far cry from Oxkintok.  The parking lot was filled with tour buses and the outside was lined with souvenir shops.  We arrived around 11:30am and it was already packed.  The entrance cost 85 pesos (35 to INAH, 50 to CULTUR). 

The site is impressive.  The main pyramid, El Castillo, is the first and most imposing building viewed upon entering.  To the left is the ball court, the largest known in Mesoamerica.

Chichen Itza
  The sides of the court are lined with glyphs depicting the game being played.  From there we walked to seethe Tzompantli or "Wall of Skulls".  It was amazing to see it in person after seeing so many potos and drawings of it.  From there we walked to the Kukulc'an, or Great Pyramid.  It was quite a site to see all the Cancun tourists in bikinis and sandals ascending the pyramid steps on their asses.  the steps are very narrow and steep.  From the top you could get a great view of the site and the surrounding countryside.  At the top there is a temple with the remains of stone and wood carvings.  After climbing down I went into the inner chamber where the famous jade studded jaguar is housed.  From there I went to the temple of the Warriors and te adjacent Group of a THousand Columns.
Chichen Itza
  South of this is where the marketplace has been identified. From tere we walked over to the Sacred Cenote.  It was impressive, but the snack/gift shop took away from the atmosphere.  After that I went over to "Old Chichen" to see the Caracol, Nunnery, High Priest's Grave and the other smaller buildings.  The site is beautiful and very impressive, but the tourists and vendors really take away from the atmosphere and make it difficult to really enjoy the visit. 

After the site, Bruce really wanted to go to "Puebla Maya," a pseudo Maya village/restaurant that was listed in my guidebook.  We drove around for 45  minutes trying to find it only to discover that the name had been changed to La casa del Mayab.  Apparently the food was awful, the dancing was unenthusiastic, there were no craft demonstrations and te "craft vendors" were just more junk shops that you were forced to walk through to leave.

Chichen Itza
 

After the meal, we took off for Valladolid, about a half hour driving.  Lisa and I decided to stay in the Hosteling International place Alberque la Calendaria.  It is an amazing place.  The dorm beds were 88 pesos.  The people in the room with us were great.  There were two recently graduated guys from Oxford adn two girls doing grad work at Berkeley.  We went to dinner at the restaurant in Chris's hotel, which was good and not too expensive.  We ran into Scott and his girlfriend's site crew there.  We bought Lisa a flan for her birthday. 

After dinner, Bruce and Bill walked to the beer store and bought three six packs plus a bottle of tequila which we proceeded to drink in the courtyard of their hotel.  The discussion, aided by booze, was very political.  Lisa and I got back to the hostel around 1:30am and sat up talking with our roommates until almost 3am.

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Chichen Itza
Chichen Itza
Chichen Itza
Chichen Itza
Chichen Itza
Chichen Itza
Chichen Itza
Chichen Itza
Chichen Itza
Chichen Itza
Chichen Itza
Chichen Itza
Piste
photo by: pacovera