Chichen Itza

Trip Start Sep 18, 2011
Trip End Oct 31, 2011

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Flag of Mexico  , Yucatan Peninsula,
Wednesday, October 19, 2011

No sign of Irene this morning although we both woke up from the heat around 8.
The room has air conditioning but it is too cold. We had to choose whether to go humid comfortable temperature room or freezing non humid room. We ended up switching the air conditioning off.
At 9:30 I called the tour company for the third time about our return transfer to the airport on Friday. After 10 minutes of being on hold they said they couldn't even find my booking.
We booked through a website called Viator. They have tours all over the world, all the information is clear and you can install an app on your phone to track what's upcoming.
The problem with Mexico is that Viator uses a Mexican company called E-Motion. E-motion is using a company called Best Day Travel.
Best Day Travel has no idea who I am; E-Motion has some idea but keeps telling me to call Best Day. In the end I just gave up and hung up on them when they asked for my name the third time in 10 minutes.
We went down to the lobby and waited at 9:45 on time for our pickup.
10am no sign.
10:10 no sign, the doorman joked that we were on "Mexican Time". I called E-Motion and they said the bus was 5-7 minutes away.
I was still angry at this stage so I called Viator direct and got a lovely American lady. I explained to her how E-motion and Best Day Travel have no idea. She asked to put me on hold and called them; a minute later she apologized for the problems and said they would be calling the hotel presently.
At 10:20 still no bus for Chichen Itza but I was told to there was a phone call for me. It was Best Day Travel, our pickup for the airport was locked in for 12:15 on Friday, success! I only had to make 4 phone calls...
At 10:30 the bus finally arrived and after picking up a few more people we were on our way.
Cancun is near the coast, Chichen Itza is inland 200kms, around 2.5 hours journey.
On the way we stopped at a small town which is probably the most 'normal' town we've seen at Mexico. No fancy Audi's or Ferraris, no beach resort, just normal dressed people, cars and streets and shops that aren't falling apart. 

Town on the way to Chichen Itza Town on the way to Chichen Itza
After learning about the history of Mexico we had 15 minutes to use the bathroom and take some photos before getting back on the bus.
Around 35 minutes later we stopped at a massive tourist shop next to the jungle. It had toilets and snack shop but was 99% souvenirs.
One of the things they sell tourists is a pendant for a necklace that either has your name in Mayan or your Zodiac sign. I got my name in Mayan. Well not my whole name as they charge per letter, just Don, well really Dn as that's what they tell me my name would be.
The base is premade but they heat it up to stick the letters on then melt the gold to the letters. The final step is to polish it all up.
They tried to then sell me a rubber necklace with two obsidian beads to go with it but it was $80 USD so I politely said no.
This was the final stop before Chichen Itza so after another hour or so on the bus we arrived just after 2.

We finally arrived El Castillo at Chichen Itza El Castillo at Chichen Itza

The pyramid itself was amazing; I was excited as I've always wanted to see one. The temples and pictures on the walls were very detailed. There was even a ball pit we they had the sport of using your hips to hit a ball through a ring (you might have seen it on the cartoon “Road to Eldorado”). Unfortunately you couldn't look in the ballpit though.

Chichen Itza Skull wall at Chichen Itza The ball court
There were stalls all over Chichen Itza down both sides of all the paths. Lots of beautiful wood carvings of masks and jaguars etc plus jewelry and models on the pyramid. The merchants make the sound of a jaguar as you walk past. Lezah and I believe this is to get our attention and make us look at their wares but also to tell the merchants down the path that another group of tourists are coming. It was actually quite off putting.

 All the merchants on the paths at Chichen Itza Temple at Chichen Itza Temple of the warriors

Our tour guide led us to a larger group and left us with them telling us to be back on the bus at 5. Because we were late this tour we joined had already started and we missed the part about the main pyramid. We had to ask the people in the group what he said afterwards.
After free time we met back at the bus and headed to a grotto which is a natural formed cave were you can swim in the beaurtiful water. We didn' go for a swim but the water was very clear.

Steps down to the grotto Grotto on the way home from Chichen Itza Lezah waiting patiently for me to come back

We then headed to a local restaurant for dinner which was included in the tour price. It was buffet all you can eat but there wasn’t much choice. The restaurant would have fit about 200 people but it only had the 12 from our bus.
Towards the end of dinner a man and woman came out on a small stage wearing traditional Mexican clothes and danced. They then did a similar dance balancing bottles on their head and a third dance with a whole serving tray, 4 glasses and a bottle. I suspect they were glued to the tray though. The last dance they were dressed like Mayans. 

The dancers at our dinner

We headed back to Chichen Itza and sat down for the light and sound show. They have different lights hooked up over the temples and pyramid and tell a story about the Mayans, about the Toltec’s invading and about the city eventually being abandoned. It was all in Spanish through loudspeakers echoing through the Forrest and was very eerie.

The light and sound show at Chichen Itza

Luckily Lezah had read reviews on the tour the night before and we had picked up the English headsets. It was on a slight delay to the Spanish speaking but without it we would have sat there confused for 60 minutes.
The show finished at 9:30pm and we headed back to the bus. The tour guide said at the very end we could give him or the driver tips but seeing he dumped us on another tour guide at the pyramids we didn't give anything.
We got to the hotel at after midnight and collapsed in bed.
We have a 7:00am pickup tomorrow morning to see the Coba Ruins. Let's hope the bus is on time.
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