I spent 20 minutes trying to come up with a clever title, not much rhymes with Yucatan. I thought maybe YuCAtaN DO IT! but then gave up on that. I considered making up a fictional character named “Yucatan Dan” who lives in the jungle and grants 3 wishes to lost gringos. “I wish for 20 gallons of DEET bugspray…” Perhaps “Doin our thang in the Yucatang”… I don’t know! I have spanish class in 30 minutes and need to get this post done. Focus James!
We pushed further down the Caribbean coast headed towards a concentration of Mayan ruins called “The Ruta Puuc”. The Ruta Puuc is about 25 miles of backroad that connect 6 different Mayan ruins together. In Mayan times there was actually a road of limestone running through the jungle connecting many of the large sites. Unfortunately this road is long gone and were stuck to boring ol’ tarmac.
We drove on and on through the jungle on the paved roads eventually arriving near the Mayan site of Uxmal. The Sun was setting and we needed to find a camping site quick. We pulled our usual maneuver of scoping out the surrounding areas for cutty backroads, eventually finding one that looked good and turned off into the deep jungle.
We followed this trail for miles, passing 2 small bee farms and not much else. Intrigued as to what the hell this random road in the jungle leads to we pushed on further. Slowly the road deteriorates to little more than a single track ATV trail. After 10 miles of slow going through the jungle we stumble upon a very small, very creepy camp.
Hmmm… Skulls, dirty old clothes, random stick structures, 15 miles deep in the jungle. Me thinks we should NOT camp here.
Next morning we woke up and headed to Uxmal. Uxmal is a magnificent Mayan site. Estimated to have supported over 15,000 inhabits at its height in 900 A.D. or so. The site is one of the finest examples of Mayan construction, relying on precisely cut stone blocks for the exterior of the buildings rather than plaster which wears away quickly.
The carvings here were still in great shape and easily recognizable.
The site is surrounded by dense jungle as far as the eye can see, we were driving around somewhere in that mess the day before.
They had a wonderfully intact ancient mayan ball court as well.
The “goal”. I believe the way the game is played is the players are allowed to use any part of there body aside from there hands and feet. The game is over when someone sends the ball through the hoop. Rumor has it that the captain of the losing team is sacrificed. Now that’s some team motivation!
They also had this weird shrine to penises, or is it penii?
Fractals everywhere, endlessly repeating patterns, the Mayans were definitely spacing out on something…
We spent about 1/2 of the day touring Uxmal then headed down the road towards another site named “Kabah”
Kabah is home to the “Codz Poop”…
Surprisingly enough. to me, Codz Poop is in fact not petrified Mayan doo, but in fact a hugely impressive “Palace of Masks”. The entire face of the building is compiled of hundreds of repeating “Chac Mool” (The Rain God) carvings.
Read the whole story on the blog Home on the Highway