Mittwoch, 24. Dezember 2008

Into the heart of México

Tulúm ruins

Tulúm marked the turn of the journey. Here would begin a series of extreme Mayan ruin sighting...

The trick with these sights is to come early in the morning. At some point during late morning the day tour buses from Cancún arrive and by then you want to be out of the way.

The ruins in Tulúm are right by the ocean. This city was built during the post Classic Period for the higher classes and served as a trading post due to its geographical position. Here the first Spanish concistadores landed.

The site is mostly excavated and features smaller buildings and structures rather then the typical Mayan pyramids and temples.

We got out of the site just in time for the "trains" to arrive. A pathetic sight.

Of course, such an exhausting walk through the heat calls for new energy and what could refresh Mexicans more than some meat and a cool cerveza? Grilled chicken is the cheapest and one of the most delicious foods and it is prepared before your eyes at places like this along the streets. Vegetarians on the other hand have a hard stand in this meat driven country.

In the hope that my fellows would join me on the trip into the land, I left my stuff in tulúm and went to the ruins of Cobá in the jungle on a day trip.
In Cobá I was welcomed by the house lake's alligators that sunbath about 3 meters from the road/sidewalk in the shallow water.

The site itself is rather hidden. There are three different places with ruins all spread throughout the jungle. There are two kinds of trails that lead there. The large ones are used to bring tourists to the ruins in rikschas and on bikes and foot. The others are quite small and rather untreaded... and not recommended to walk on without a guide, as I was informed later.

Needless to say, I got a little lost. However, I found a little lagoon with interesting animals and saw all kinds of butterflies and crawling creatures that I would never have seen on the "elephant trail". One of them was this fellow, who seemed to enjoy the attention of the lens. Supposedly, my little friend's tail was poisonous as a Mexican doctor whom I shoed the pictures told me later.

Eventually I came upon one of the ruins and decided to take the more treaded path from then on. It brought me to one of the attractions, the ball game. In the ancient ball game two teams made of 7 players battled each other, trying to bring the ball through this loop. Historians believe that the captain of the winning team was honored by being sacrificed to the gods by decapitation.

Another attraction at Cobá is the big pyramid. With 44 meters in hight, it is the highest Mayan pyramid.

and it is quite a steep climb.
Of course it was no problem for me though, since my magical Indiana Jones straw hat gave me the power I needed.
The following day, we went on a snorcheling tour in the nearby Cenotes. Cenotes are caves that have filled with water.
The caves are home to fish and the incoming sunlight provides for beautiful colors in the water. The underground system is more than 70 miles long along the coast.
When I had finally gotten myself out of the wetsuit and started to feel like a human instead of a penguin, I got my bagpack and hopped on the bus to continue my travels by myself. My companions would stay in Tulúm to enjoy the white beach.

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