Tuesday, June 26, 2007

CANCUN! (more images)

As promised, here are more photos - this time with captions included. At the hotel we had lots of water activities available. Here David is selecting a kayak - paddle boats were available as well.Here David is enjoying his favorite activity - sailing - and taking me along for the ride. That's our hotel on the right. The one on the left is owned by the same company, so we could use all the amenities at either hotel.Snorkeling at the hotel beach was another activity we took advantage of.There were three different pools for us to enjoy. Here is David in his favorite.We got into some beach volleyball action. Here David is serving.I learned that although my mind still retains every volleyball instinct trained into it while on teams in my younger days and still automatically follows those instincts, my body, which is a quarter of a century beyond when it was last on a team is not so happy about this. I paid for this choice for about 4 days afterwards!Boogie boarding was another available activity, and David took that on too! The color of the water was constantly amazing and also constantly changing. There is no way to capture it on film.People who got too worn out from beach activities could just slip into the pool and float right up to the bar to order their favorite drink.We took an incredible day trip further into the Yucatan Peninsula to visit Chichen Itza - a vast complex of Mayan ruins. As with the amazing Incan city Machu Picchu, Chichen Itza was abandoned even before the Spanish conquest. No one knows why the city was abandoned. Pictured here is the outer wall surrounding the city.Here is the main "attraction," a pyramid known as "The Castle" or "The Pyramid of Kukulcan." Sadly, climbing to the top is no longer allowed (as of two years ago). The complex is far more vast than I had realized, and it sure would have been a powerful experience to have seen it all from the top of this pyramid!Here is another view of The Pyramid of Kukulcan. The Platform of Venus is in the foreground. There are two other images of The Platform of Venus in my previous post just below the pictures of the large pyramid.We experienced a jungle thunderstorm while we were here - with lightning very close, the thunder and lightning coming simultaneously. It rained very hard for about 15 minutes, and we were soaked! Locals appeared out of nowhere selling ponchos for a dollar. The problem was that by the time they got to us we were so soaked a poncho would only have served to keep the water in!! Although the rain did not last long, we remained wet all day. It was so warm and humid that as time went on we could not tell if we were wet because of the rain or because we were sweating - pretty gross!Here is the ball court. No one knows exactly how the game was played, but it is thought that the players had to get the ball through this hole 24 feet above the ground without using their hands. It's been said this is partly where J. K. Rowling got her idea for Quidditch in the Harry Potter books.This is a carving at the base of the ball court. Our tour guide, Carlos, is explaining the meaning of the carvings to us. He is indicating the snakes that are emanating from a neck from which the head has been severed; the spurting blood turned into snakes, a sacred symbol. It is thought that the best player was decapitated and his head presented to his family by the second best player. At the bottom left is a circle with a skull in it representing the head of the decapitated player. The mouth of the skull is open, and a message to the gods is coming out. (I'll stick with beach volleyball - thanks anyway.)Outside the ball court is a wall of stones depicting skulls. Each is unique and represents someone who was the best player one year and earned the privilege of being decapitated to bring a message to the gods - a wall of fame, so to speak.This is a cenote or sink hole. This is where the bodies of those who were sacrificed to the gods were "buried." Only the high class people were buried here - kings, the best ball players, the best mathematicians and astronomers, etc. This was considered a window to heaven. The bodies were purified in a building nearby, weighted with stones and thrown in. Every 52 years live animals, jaguars, snakes, deer, birds, etc. were (are?) thrown in to feed the dead. In the late 1950's Jacques Cousteau explored this cenote and found a pile of bones 10 feet deep at the bottom. The lower classes were cremated at death and used for fertilizer.This is a low circular platform on which three circular calendars once were. The Mayan people have the most accurate calendar ever developed - even more accurate than the Gregorian Calendar used in most of the world today - although the Gregorian Calendar is far simpler to use. There were many similarities between the Maya and the ancient Egyptians (pyramids, hieroglyphics and calendar). Both of those societies predicted the end of the human race on earth as December 2012. The predictions are within one day of each other, the Egyptians saying it will come on the 23rd and the Maya saying it will be the 22nd. Hmm . . .A few miles away from Chichen Itza is another cenote or sink hole. This one was used as a swimming pool for Mayan rulers. The water is 300 feet deep.Here is David swimming in the cenote - clearly having a good time! (It was a bit dark down there for the camera to get a good shot. We had to hike down quite a distance to get to water level.)
And now, back at the hotel, we relaxed with one of our favorite games, the Hunters and Gatherers version of Carcassonne. (For those of you who know the game I'll say that David got all sneaky and connected a large meadow area that I didn't notice, and he creamed me!)Here is David near the pool and . . . . . . in the pool. I figured I should throw in a picture of me too to prove I was there!Time for another side-trip. We took some great two-person boats through a lagoon and mangrove channels out to a coral reef in the ocean to do some snorkeling. The little boats were a lot of fun!
Here is one little fishy we saw.
Hey, here I am again - on the front of the boat after snorkeling. The boat trip before and after snorkeling were a real treat.A night view of our favorite pool.Yes, it really was this beautiful!

4 comments:

amy said...

what's up..I can't view your pictures?

Heidi said...

It's not just you; every so often "blogger" has this issue and my images disappear - sometimes on some random post from long ago - sometimes on a current post. Typically I redo the whole post, but I don't know why that works since the same information I put back up is already there. I sure hope they reappear on their own, because it took me a full half a day to get them up - aarrggghhh! I don't have time to redo this one!

Heidi said...

OK, I couldn't stand it and spent the evening replacing each picture! They sure better not disappear again!

amy said...

I am glad to see that you got the picture thing fixed the pictures are great! You guys looked liked you had so much fun and I got a little history lesson.