Chichen Itza

Chichen Itza means, in Maya, at the mouth of the water sorcerer’s well. There’s a big natural well into which they threw sacrifices. Since it was a source for the city’s water, I doubt they did that right away. I’m guessing at the end they ran out of water and through those folks in to give more power to the gods.

It was a two hour bus ride from the ship, which wasn’t too bad. But we left our rooms at 7:30 in the morning and were given tuna sandwiches at 9 am. I don’t know about you, but when I got back on the bus at 1 pm, I didn’t want to eat those tuna sandwiches. I did eat the Quaker Oats chocolate chip granola bar and both sets of saltine crackers. I drank the water they gave us before I got off the bus. We had brought big bottles of water and had those to drink, too. I think I finished half of that one in addition to the smaller bottle they gave us when we arrived at Chichen Itza.

They’ve closed the pyramids so that you can’t walk up them any more. Both my sisters and my father have walked up the pyramids.

I did take advantage of the given opportunity to walk up part of the observatory. I actually walked up two different parts. They weren’t connected, so you couldn’t cross over.

Then we went to another place which had amazing geometrical designs. It was called the convent by the Spanish because it looked like a convent. The guide said it was a palace, probably. It had beautiful latticework cut into stone on lots of the bottom floor.

There was also a small shrine, called a church, which was two real stories and one false front story. Inside, it had a Maya vault and places where beams would go across. If you put beams in the places where the holes were, there was really only one story, very tall, and two short attics. We went into that as well. I enjoyed it.

Then our guide took us to an example of a Maya vault which was an early one and a later example of an attempt to make a vault bigger, that collapsed.

The main place that we were allowed to go was the ball game area. There are walls, maybe thirty feet high, with sideways circles to throw a ball through. Was it a game? Maybe in its distant past. More recently, it is believed, it became a sacred reenactment of good triumphing over evil. The losers of the game were killed.

I don’t know about you, but I would not have wanted to live in a society where the death of a person was required to commemorate special occasions or to plead with the gods. It wasn’t just slaves and prisoners who were killed. Young men and women and older ones too were sacrificed.

On the way back I went into a round hut, much like the Eastern Indians in the US lived in. There were wooden stools (?) that had a hand grip on the end. It looked like you could turn them upside down and grind corn, except that they were made of wood and that wouldn’t work for the wood.