We next stayed at a Club Med (a Mexican village style of one that is) only a 10 minute walk
to the Mayan ruins of Chichen Itza. When we first arrived we did not have our check in information
printed out (and the hotel did not have internet) so we had to drive into town to have this done before we could return and
check in (all these minor details)!
It was all worth it as we stayed in a
lovely bungalow – such a colorful place with a straw-thatched outdoor dining area next to the pool. Whenever we dined
we would have to track down a server which took awhile (as we were here in a slower season).
We then walked over to Chichen Itza with remains from the range of 900-1500 AD
amidst vendors in every corner and along each path, hawking, begging, and even pleading. We learned a new gimmick. The vendors
come up to you and say, “It is only one dollar.” The catch you learn later is it is one Mayan Dollar (which is
about 20 or 30 dollars in U.S. monies)! They also yelled repeatedly, “Almost Free. Come buy from me.”
Ok – enough already!
We’re here to see the ruins not shop. (Though we did buy
a great mask and t-shirts….)
The ruins were remarkable – so well
intact, strong, sculpted and in perfect dimensions. The Mayans had been such an advanced culture, they even built an observatory.
50,000 Mayans formerly lived here – quite the community. We were bummed though that no one is allowed to climb the pyramid
anymore. Though our legs probably appreciated the break.
so inspiring to grace the same grounds as these ancient people with lifestyles we couldn’t fathom. Sacrificial rituals
dominated the villagers’ lives. Legend has it that to make favor with the Rain God so the crops would flourish –
or as a gift to enjoy a more peaceful after-life; they would sacrifice either one of their children or an adult would volunteer.
and basketball games were allegedly brutal. They played to the death and the loser would be decapitated and head placed on
a shrine of heads and hearts placed on a special alter. Talk about sore losers….
stayed until closing time as the guards blew whistles and rounded us about. In about 5 hours we had taken it all in—though
we could have used a couple of more hours. At this time of year the crowds weren’t so bad (early November). We returned
to our hotel to have a drink at the bar whilst on the way some magnificent peacocks strode by us. How graceful.
We then returned to the Mayan Park for the laser show (all in Spanish
though). The brilliant colors dazzled the Mayan relics……though we didn’t quite understand the back up
dialogue (I did get some of it)….
The next day we drove back to the Playa
del Carmen area for our final night along the Caribbean
Sea. On the way we stopped to see the Twin Cenotes
caverns…what a sight. Cenotes are water-filled limestone sinkholes which only exist in the Yucatan
area. Outside light shone through the hole at the top, bats encircled, mounds of stalagtites and stalagmites stood out while
small black fish swam through a pool of still water. It is possible to swim in the waters though we chose to photograph it
instead. I placed my hand in the water and it sure didn’t feel like the warmth of the Caribbean…more
like the Pacific Ocean near our home in San Diego – too icy for me.
We left early because we had a hankering to have lunch over at Oscar and Laila’s, a famous spot where
one can dine and then hang out in hammocks and snorkel along a private beach. Hours later we pulled down a very “holey”
road and there was nothing at the end of it. We drove back (so slowly) and across the street (not near the ocean) was Oscar
and Laila’s. We found out that the hurricane had taken the establishment along with her sad to say. So the legend of
snorkeling and hammocking with your lunch is no more. We still enjoyed a delicious seafood lunch (next to the freeway) and
chatted with the owner (an American who has a home in Los
Angeles). She invited us to their grand opening
on Sunday (the day we were bussing down to Chetamal, Mexico
We spent our final night in Playa del Carmen. Quite the hip, trendy spot
for anyone who must be seen in the scene. This isn’t quite our style though our bed and breakfast oozed with charm and
‘hipness.’ The crowds meandering at night resemble New Orleans
during the Mardi Gras so we decided we won’t return to this section of the Yucatan on any return