Tuesday, October 9, 2007

Akil 27

Back on Ruta Puuc and away we went on to Uxmal. Uxmal was founded around AD 600 and flourished until around AD 900. It was first discovered by the western world in 1929 and only about 1/3 of it is totally excavated. The major feature of Uxmal is the tremendous pyramid. It looms large and impressive over any other building on the site.

Photo courtesy of Edward Dawson, Images of Mexico http://www.dallas.net/~lalo

Being such a large ruin and popular with tourists from all over the world, Uxmal sports an impressive visitor center that one must traverse prior to actually entering the ruins. After everyone had had the opportunity for a potty break and had taken time to choose ice cream bars and consume them, we finally passed through the turnstile and were on our way to the ruins themselves.

After my experience in the cave and having suffered for days afterwards due to the amount of walking and steps involved, I was a little daunted to look ahead and see a seemingly endless amount of steps leading up to the start of the ruins site. But I had paid my money and suffered through mosquitoes, heat and delay and was not going to miss viewing Uxmal.

So, with Juan and family merrily taking the lead, off we started. B and I quickly fell behind but were not concerned. It had become typical behavior that we would somehow get separated. Upon reaching the top of the steps, we were finally able to view the pyramid. The reason we had come this far. And the only reason I had agreed to view yet another array of tumbling down buildings and more stone, stone, stone.* To say the size and grandeur of it was amazing is not enough. It is a tremendous piece of architecture, looming large above all other buildings or anything else in sight. We snapped a few pictures of it and proceeded down the path that ran to and around it. Unfortunately, or fortunately, depending upon your point of view, it is no longer open to the public. This means nobody is allowed very close to it and certainly not allowed to climb it. Erosion is fast becoming a problem.

So we continued on around the site, around and through various buildings and up even more of the dastardly small Mayan steps. Even though I was totally tired of viewing ruins by this time, I totally enjoyed this one. The architecture was similar to other Mayan ruins I have visited, and yet totally different. The designs and motifs were different and there were quite a few pointed, not rounded, arches leading from building to building.

After an hour in the blazing hot July afternoon sun, B decided he had enough and headed back to the visitor center. There were still a couple of buildings in the distance I wanted to see better. One was a smaller pyramid and in the distance I could see people on it! I wanted to climb it and get some panoramic photos of the site and surrounding jungle.

Before we could get to it, Juan, who had stayed back with me, and I decided to take a short break in the shade of a very large tree. The rest of the family was already sprawled out there anyway. After a few moments rest, we arose from the cool, grassy area and prepared to venture on deeper into the site. It was at this point that I totally lost my temper.

*Don't get me wrong. I am totally appreciative of the Mayan culture and ruins. It's just that how many of these things can you look at in one week and not get tired of it? One can't eat pheasant every day!

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