Mexico Day 11

We are in the rain forest near Chichen Itza. Our hotel is called “Mayaland and we are staying in a thatched hut that has a private bathroom and shower. The beds have mosquito nets and you can understand why. Internet does not exist so I am writing this blog on my IPad and will then copy and paste when I get a good connection.

We left Merida and drove to the archeological site of “Ek Balam”. Of course, I fell asleep as soon as we left the hotel. Had about six cups of coffee for breakfast but that didn’t stop me. It was so enjoyable having breakfast in this beautiful courtyard surrounded by amazing tropical trees and flowers. After two and one half hours we made our pit stop and I bought a large strong cappuccino for the remainder of the ride.

We finally arrived in Ek Balam where our local guide met us at the entrance. We then started to walk through the jungle to ruins that were quite beautiful. Each site has its own different style. We then walked by vendors selling their craft until we came upon a large pyramid. There were at least one hundred old stone steps to the top. Of course, I climbed up. When I got to the top I saw a beautiful site. The other part of the exposed site was sticking out of the canopy of the rain forest. Having already been told that most of this Mayan village is still covered by the jungle, I looked around and started to envision where some of the structures could be. You could see mounds covered by the jungle and visualize what is underneath and what beauty and treasures those buried structures may hold.

It was back down this massive pyramid. The key to going down is to go down sideways and be careful. You do not want to fall climbing up and down these ruins. I then walked back to the local vendors. Lindsay, my daughter had sent us an email that three major snow storms were heading into the New York area over the next week. I decided to buy a Mexican poncho to help me keep warm when we get back. I found a very colorful and beautiful poncho and jumped on it for 350 pesos or a little over $17. As I was leaving, I saw a beautiful t-shirt with a depiction of Frida Kahlo on it. Mexican people are obsessed with Frida Kahlo. She was a great Mexican painter and was married to Diego Rivera twice. The more I read about her, the more I want to find and read a book about her life. She was an interesting person. Olivia has a big book on her drawings. Google her to find out more about this extraordinary person. It would be worth it learning about her. Of course, I bought the t-shirt.

It was now time for lunch. We went to a converted plantation for lunch. Of course, there was a cenote. Lunch was a buffet of local specialties and then Olivia and myself went to see the cenote. The cenote was very large and the water did not seem to be clean. There was a large and high platform for people to jump in and water was running down into the cenote. Of course, long natural ropes were hanging down from the top. Olivia warmed me that the water did not look clean, so I decided to not make the jump. We then ran into our tour guide who told us that the water was very clean, but the cenote was very deep and that’s why the water did not look clean. I turned around and bought a towel. I put on my bathing suit and decided to make the plunge. I got to the platform and looked down. It was a long drop for a seventy year old man, but I am not your normal seventy year old. The tour guide got his cell phone ready and I dove off the platform. The water was beautiful and so crisp and refreshing. My head hurt from the dive, but another member of the group told me that I did a perfect dive. I swam around and was so happy that I decided to take the plunge. I knew that if I did not do it, I would regret it later. The tour guide promises to email me the picture.

We then drove to a very Mexican town named “Valladolid”. Valladolid has a beautiful plaza with some interesting stores selling local goods. Mexicans love chocolate and we found a chocolate store. The store had many products made with chocolate. One item that I found interesting was chocolate soap. Bought a few bars to see what it feels like when I get back.

It was then back to the bus to check into “Mayaland”. The grounds are so beautiful. We checked in and had a long walk to our hut. Dinner was served buffet style. When we were walking back to our hut, we heard some strange noises coming from the trees

Tomorrow we wake up at 4:30 for a morning hike into Chichen Itza and to take pictures of the site as the sun rises. Olivia just said there is a bug in here while she is laying under her mosquito net. That’s what you get in the rain forest.

Tomorrow is wrap up day and then it’s back to stormy New York to do battle with the snow.