Monday, October 8, 2007

Akil 26

The next morning B and I were up at our usual 7:00 am. Today was Thursday and the last chance we would have to go visit the Mayan ruins of Uxmal. We really wanted to get an early start since it was, after all, July in the Yucatan. Temperatures were soaring above 100 degrees every day and the humidity did not help. We really did not want to trudge around hot ruins in the middle of the day. Our plan the night before was to get up and be on the road no later than 8:30 am. Of course, this being Juan and family, that time came and went with no movement anywhere in the house. We sat on the back porch, drinking coffee and chain smoking, getting more and more irritated as the morning dragged on.

Finally, about 9:30 am, movement was heard coming from the interior of the house. Maybe there was hope yet that we could get on the road before the sun turned into a blazing ball of fire on us. Everybody was up and Juan kept yelling at them to hurry up, we were late getting started. By 11:00 am, everybody was ready to go. Except for one thing. Maria’s sister, Lourdes, and her son, had not yet shown up. They were evidently going with us.

No problem. We would all just load up and drive to her house and pick her up. So off we went the several blocks to her house. Guess what? No Lourdes. So back to Juan’s we drove. Guess what again? No Lourdes. B and I remained in the Jeep and let the family discuss what to do. I have no idea what went on but in the middle of the discussion, Lourdes and son are seen strolling down the street towards us. So, with all the participants finally loaded, we head off for our last great adventure.

We turned once more onto Ruta Puuc. We again passed through Oxkutzcab, and at Ticul turned off on a small road to Santa Elena, where the mummies are. We passed many little ruins along the way, but none of any major importance. Until we reached Labna. As Juan turned into the entrance, I turned to B and said “What are we doing stopping here?” Of course, he had no more idea than did I. Labna is a lesser Mayan ruin, very interesting but not a major stopping point. At least not for us that day. But we dutifully paid our admission and followed the family down the soggy paths towards yet another set of fallen down rocks and half assembled buildings. It did not help that this whole ruin area was the most mosquito infested area of the Yucatan that we had yet encountered! We spent the better part of an hour here, and I did get some marvelous candid photos of everybody. I particularly took great glee in the one I took from behind of all the women going up some steps. They did not share in my amusement.*

By this time, it was going on 1:00 pm and B and I were growing more frustrated by the minute. And hotter. We finally left Labna and got back on the road for Uxmal. We drove past many signs directing us to turn into the jungle and visit even more Mayan ruins. Thankfully we just passed them by. Until we reached a very impressive ruin with a small parking lot on the other side of the road. Juan pulled in and we dutifully, but reluctantly, followed. There was no pyramid here but there was a very impressive building way inside. This ruin was totally surrounded by a chain link fence. Odd. We went to the entrance gate and learned that the admission for this particular place was a whopping forty pesos each ($3.80). This was way too much money for the group to pay so we gave it a pass. The group did decide to browse the gift shop that was conveniently located right by the entrance.

While the rest wandered around, B and I examined some wood carvings that were done in bas relief. They were fabulous. Each depicted a different Mayan God or a scene from Mayan life or some battle. The detail was extraordinary. While we were looking, a young man approached and started to talk to us in English and explain the work. Turns out he was the artist. He had many books containing old pictures taken at various Mayan sites when they were first excavated. Many of them were very old. But all in color. These alone were fascinating. We admired one of his pieces in particular that was probably sixteen by twenty inches. He merrily quoted us the price of 3000 pesos! Since that was almost $300, we gave it a pass. Reluctantly, but a pass nonetheless. Meanwhile Juan and group had grown weary of shopping and were very impatiently waiting for us. You could almost see them tapping their feet in unison! We took way too much pleasure in making them wait for us for a change! But finally we were back in our vehicles and heading once again for our ultimate destination....Uxmal.

* All of my pictures from this trip were downloaded onto a CD. I loaned my only copy to Juan so the family could see the pictures. Somehow it got "lost" and I have never seen the pictures again. Of course, I did not make a back up copy!

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