Thursday, October 11, 2007

Akil 29

On our little group went. Up steep paths, around more buildings, even more steps and eventually coming to the final pyramid. It was a steep incline of maybe 100 steps, which deposited one on a flat viewing surface. From there there was another smaller flight of steps that led to the actual smaller top platform of the structure. It was there that I wanted to go.

Nobody else was interested in climbing to the top, so off I set on my own. I climbed the steps the Mayan way, which I had learned years ago while visiting Chichen-Itza. One does not climb straight up, like we do now in modern times. Rather the path up is a zig zag one, with one’s whole foot being placed on each step. All the way to the right and then zag back up towards the left until the top is reached. Even though this way is a much easier way to climb, my legs were burning by the time I reached the first flat area. But it was worth it.

The view from up there was stupendous. After doing a quick check that the family was still waiting down below and waving to them, I scanned the horizon. Jungle as far as one could see. Here and there I could see even more buildings sticking out of the dense foliage. It was clear that they had not yet been excavated and maybe never would. The enormity of this site was overwhelming. It was hard to grasp the work that must have gone into constructing this site. From up there, I had a clear view back to the main pyramid where we came in. It was even more dramatic from a distance where I could see the entire thing silhouetted against the bright blue sky. I took a ton of pictures from that view and turned and made my way up the short distance to the top. It was very scary and a very small area up there. The view was not much different and I only took a few pictures before carefully picking my way back down to the lower platform again.

I was filled with apprehension as I looked down those steps again at the family waiting below. They were so far away and the descent was so steep! My inclination was to sit down and descend them on my butt. However, I would loose a tremendous amount of machismo if I did that. My only choice was to go down the way I had come up and hope that vertigo did not take over and send me plunging down the steps to my death! Needless to say, I safely descended, carefully keeping my eyes only on my feet and taking one step at a time. All the time saying to myself, “You can do this, you can do this!” Upon reaching the bottom and the family and after telling the totally uninterested group how fantastic the view was, we set off back to the visitor center. We found B sitting patiently there. We again all made a potty stop, had another ice cream or beverage and headed back to our respective vehicles for the journey home to Akil.

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