Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Akil 9

The final climb was actually steps. Stone steps with higher than normal risers, but steps with a handrail none the less. There were over 100 of them that formed a switchback leading one back up and into the light. After many rest stops, and in much pain, I was the last one of our group to finally reach the top. B, Juan and Lizzie were waiting and we gratefully found our way to the conveniently located snack bar and sat down. Totally drenched in sweat, hurting, but glad to have had the experience. I highly recommend this site to anybody who ventures to that area of the Yucatan. Our group had gotten ahead of the Spanish language group and we patiently waited for the rest of the crew to join us.

After everyone had enjoyed the drink of their choice, we made our way back to the parking lot. Slowly, very slowly. I had not stopped to think that if we made our way underground for 1.25 miles, we were going to have to walk that far to get back to our cars! My back felt as badly as it had prior to my fusion surgery and I was worried and hurting and concerned. There was no place to stop and sit on the hard red mud and stone path and we were exposed to the blazing mid-day sun the entire way. But the trip was accomplished. Along the way, Juan announced that we were now on to Santa Elena to see the mummies that had been discovered in the church there. I thought that this one adventure was plenty for the day, but kept my silence. So back onto Ruta Puuc and the awaiting mummies.

We were greatly disappointed and a bit grossed out by the so called mummies. Evidently way back when, the church at Santa Elena decided to put on an addition. While they were digging next door, they uncovered an unknown gravesite. Amongst the rotting and rotted corpses were twelve children. For some reason, they had not fully decomposed but had mummified instead. This is what was on display. As a side note here, Mexicans do not embalm. One is buried and then nature takes her course with you. The children ranged in age from infant to about four years old. I took a quick glance at them and decided my stomach would be better off if I just stepped outside. So B and I exited and waited for the family outside while enjoying a smoke.

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