Random notes from Chichen Itza and other parts:
- So yes, we made it. We stayed at Mayaland! A very nice resort-type place that I picked because the hotel property is adjacent to Chichen Itza.
- My intention was that was be able to get up, eat breakfast, and enter the park through the rear entrance (a minute walk from the hotel) at 8am – a couple of hours before the tour groups arrive, a good bit of time before the vendors set up, and, of course, also a bit before it gets really hot.
- GREAT IDEA!
- Except for the cold, hard facts that: 1) When getting money out of the ATM at Cancun airport, I really could not remember the whole pesos/dollars thing,and didn’t get enough. Clearly. 2)I handed over a bunch in the whole PLEASE GET ME GAS SO I AM NOT STRANDED ON A MEXICAN TOLL ROAD IN THE DARK WITH MY CHILDREN thing and 3)the Chichen Itza ticket office takes cash only and 4) the atm at the hotel didn’t open until 9.
- So there was a bit of disappointment on that score, but we got over it. We just chilled, then went ahead and checked out of the hotel, stored the luggage and studied the peacocks until 9.
- It’s an interesting site. I’ll not have anything to compare it to until we go to Uxmal, so I should probably withhold judgment till then.
- One thing Chichen Itza is famed for are the souvenir vendors. They are permitted to be all over the site – the only one of the main archaeological sites in which this is so. The purveyors of Mayan calendars, huipil, hats, statuary, magnets…jaguar “whistles” which are sounded the minute a child comes in sight…all “almost free!” AMAZING!
- I must confess, though, that while the place would certainly be more authentic without guys alternating fake jaguar cries and checking their cel phones and telling me it was all “almost free!” it didn’t bother me that much. The street vendors in Rome and Paris are far more aggressive with their “Un Euro Un Euro Un Euro” for their little Eiffel Towers and light necklaces, their scarves and umbrellas
- And yes, it was hot. Everything they say about the hotness of Chichen Itza is true – it is largely unshaded, flat, and by noon, I was ready to go….and I enjoy the heat.
- Also at the hotel was a large group of French tourists.
- Dinner last night? I’m going to trust that you are uninterested in the boys’ dinners, because they are not much different from what they have north of the border. Yet. I’m working on it. I had a Chiles Rellenos dish, which was okay. Tonight (in a different place), I had Poc Chuc, which was DELICIOUS.
- In driving through this part of Mexico (I am careful not to generalize, because I am only in the Yucatan, so I can’t say, “in Mexico”…even though it might be true. I don’t know.)….speed bumps are a constant feature. Serious speed bumps, forcing you to drastically slow down as you pass through towns. What impressed me were the enteriprising purveyors of items like roasted corn and tamales who stationed themselves at those speed bumps, knowing that drivers would have to almost stop in order to preserve their undercarriage. I didn’t get anything today because of the uncertainties of our destination, but I will, I hope, before we leave.
- The people are lovely. Don’t be a skinflint with your tips, and they will be even lovelier Just sayin’.
- I had warned the boys that there might be police stops on the road, and yes, the police might be carrying machine guns, and to not be alarmed. Indeed, on our travels today, there were four brief stops (but only once were they sporting machine guns) – we were waved through every time, although every time, a car in front of us was motioned to stop and pull over. I don’t know what the criterea were.
- Oh, and for those of you who haven’t followed us for the past few years. This isn’t our first time in Mexico. The first substantive time was a few years ago when we went on a parish mission trip led by the Family Missions Company to General Cepeda, Mexico, a bit west of Monterrey and Saltillo.
Quote of the day from the middle of the Yucatan:
Me: “Are you American?”
Guy I’m asking advice from: “No, I’m Estonian.”