Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Yucatan adventure : Wednesday

After another brill breaky - which was so good that some wasps were trying to steal some of it - we headed across to see the anthropology museum, located in a nouvelle epoque building just a couple of blocks walk from the hotel - since we got in too late yesterday. it was well worth the visit, some fabulous examples of all the Mayan time periods with jade pieces as well as pottery and huge carvings, its was great to learn about the Mayan counting system and calendar, the later being rather complicated and I must admit I didn't get it fully! The exhibit was very informative and we saw some very interesting pieces

Then we headed to Uxmal to see our first maya temple. Today we have a much better map so we got to the right highway directly. We had our first (and hopefully last) encounter with the police. After a bit of conversation with the policeman it was quite clear that he just wanted a bribe, even though he was threatening to put us in jail because we didn't have our passport and we could be illegal Immigrant. Even though this place is very nice we would not become illegal immigrants in mexico thank you very much! We gave him a bottle of water and he let us go.

We found Uxmal without any problems and once parked we headed for our first mayan complex. It was located in a luscious jungle- very Lara Croft according to D.

We started by looking at the pyramid of the Magician. It's a beautiful pyramid with an elliptical shape which makes it very elegant. Unfortunately we can't climb it anymore. We then headed to the Nunnery Quadrangle. It is a huge courtyard bounded on each side by long buildings. We observed our first details of the Mayan architecture and how they decorated their buildings. Unfortunately, limestone is a bit like gruyere and the stones didn't resist the time.

On the way to the Governor's palace, we pass by the ball court. This one is actually fairly small. The biggest one is in chichen itza. The ball court is surrounded by two walls on which people stand to watch the game. They had to put a rubber ball through the small hoop located way above the ground. It's like the quiddich game of Harry Potter but without the broomsticks!

The Governor's palace is quite an important structure. It's built on a platform and has a temple at the top where you have an impressive view of the pyramid of the Magician. It is guarded by a double jaguar throne. The person that discovered it didn't take it because it was to heavy to transport but he didn't look below it where there was a cache full of jade and ceramics! On the platform we saw the temple of the turtles. It is quite small with an open courtyard but was nicely decorated with little turtles.

next stop was the Great pyramid that looks like a typical Mayan pyramid. It's about 30m high and it's one pyramid that we can still climb. It took a bit of effort to get to the top but the view from the top was totally worth it. We were almost the only one there and we could really enjoy the view as long as we wanted.

Our final stop at Uxmal was the Dovecote. It derives its name from the patchwork of niches in the roof comb of the high wall. It was very well made and a bit of a shame that we could not get any closer. We went back to the entrance via the Quadrangle of the birds, located just behind the pyramid of the magician to observe the pyramid once more before heading out. The first site was absolutely incredible.

We made it to Merida fairly quickly and decided to go for a quick caffeine fix at Cafe Chocolate which was about a block from our hotel. D had a treat: cappuccino con nutella. It was super good. After such a hard day, walking around, we went for a quick dip in the swimming pool -quite cold at first- but it felt really good.

Diner was on the main plaza with a local band playing the guitar, very good music - besa me besame much lalalalala!

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