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Published: January 26th 2013
It was time to get up early (still normal time for us) and head for Chichen Itza, one of the 7 new wonders of the world. We were both very excited about the day. We skipped having a real breakfast to be able to take full advantage of the all you can eat buffet for lunch, this meant I was bloody hungry on the way to the cenote but didn’t notice because I was looking forward to having a dip in what was essentially an underground cavern with a lake in it. We were placed in a small minibus full to the brim with fellow sightseers. It was hot on there, then too hot, then really cold because of the air con, but nothing you wouldn’t expect in terms of comfort from going on an excursion. I did have a little transport envy when I saw other people on big coaches, but our little minibus got us there quicker, every cloud and all that.
We arrived and headed down the steep steps into the darkness following a slowly moving queue of people, all excited to see what lay beneath. When we got underground and the space was there to see
it didn’t disappoint, they had “glammed” it up a little, but not too much. You were still able to appreciate its natural wonder. I’m unsure of its actual size but it was a gigantic dome shape which was similar size to an Opera house. The water was cool and there were fish in it, it was lit mainly by daylight which was coming through a big hole in the ceiling. Try to imagine a jagged natural skylight. There were a few lights dotted around to assist you as you walked around it. Heather opted to only paddle; I on the other hand was getting in there. I courageously swam to the other side ignoring my natural scepticism of swimming on the surface of things I can’t see in to (maybe more on this later). It was deep, very deep, the muddy sides were soft to touch but not sticky, I guess you could describe them as almost dusty. As I walked in they slopped away quickly but it was easy to get into. Getting out was a little different though, because I didn’t know what was under me I was cautious not catch myself on a rock or anything. This
meant I was doing a ridiculous stroke which was half treading water and half breast stroke, basically I looked stupid. It was a great sensation to be swimming in there, incredibly atmospheric and even though there were quite a lot of people about I still felt fairly secluded whilst swimming about. A bit of history..... the Mayan’s used the cenote for sacrificing people.
After my dip I was so hungry I was shaking. We got on the bus and headed to a big Mayan shop where you could buy souvenirs’ such as Mayan calendars and hammocks. One thing which caught my eye and simply fascinated me was the Obsidian stone ornaments which are black until sunlight reflects on them and then they glow a golden colour, I think it’s formed in volcanoes due to the extreme heat somehow. It is also glass and not a stone. Heather and I played around with some of the masks, she was not so taken away by the Obsidian and rightfully ensured I didn’t buy any (which was good as they were asking for 25 US dollars for a keyring). After a short time looking around we were called in to have some
food, the food was great, plenty of variety and all you wanted. The only down side was drinks weren’t included, fortunately we didn’t trust the word of the street seller and took some money. Otherwise we would have been rather parched come the end of the day.
Then it was on to the spectacle, the one and only Chichen Itza. The weather had been slightly moody all day with showers breaking through periodically, which we considered to be a bad thing at the time but on reflection it just added to the experience. When we arrived there was your typical queue of fellow sightseers at the entrance. We’d been given a great talk about the Maya and their traditions on the way and when we arrived we were led by a different guide. All the guides on these tours are fountains of knowledge and apparently have to do a course of study to become a tour guide where they are taught in a sort of tour guide school. We thought this was pretty cool, particularly as our guide mentioned he was taught by Maya people about their ways. The tour of ruins was great, far better and more informative
than I imagined. I tend to want to just see things myself. In this instance I couldn’t recommend the tour enough though. So much great knowledge, and to be shown some of the incredible feats of engineering the Mayan’s achieved at Chichen Itza. Some examples include in the contest arena they built to settle disputes they curved the walls so that someone at one end could talk to someone at the other end without raising their voice. This may not sound that impressive but the length of arena was easily a 100 metres. Another example was if you stand on the (I think East side) of the main pyramid and clapped what you hear back is bird cry which sounds like a particular bird included in a lot Mayan paintings. Architects and mathematicians alike can not explain how this works even today. There are so many more impressive things about Chichen Itza but I can’t write them all, I’d be here all day. Besides it would spoil the experience for you when you go there. Then we headed back under the cover of darkness in our very little minibus (which I suspect was built for Mayan’s) to Cancun.
It was a really great day, if your ever tempted to go to Chichen Itza don’t think about it just book it.
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