Merida and Uxmal

Trip Start Dec 21, 2009
Trip End Jul 17, 2010

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Flag of Mexico  , Yucatan Peninsula,
Wednesday, January 6, 2010

We were up early for our 8 hour bus ride to Merida. Nothing much happened the first day we were there, we just walked around getting to know the city. The city has a system of numbers for their streets, evens going one way and odds going perpendicular to the evens. It's a little disorientating when you first start because they’re all numbers and more than once, we found ourselves walking one way then changing and having to walk in the exact opposite direction.

The next day, we were heading to see more Maya ruins Uxmal (pronounced oosh-mal) where we had a very knowledgeable guide. We got there nice and early and the crowds were very sparse. Uxmal is a very, very cool place. The place is well looked after and photographically, it’s quite something else. The other cool thing is that we can still climb up the ruins and have a good look around. Unlike some of the other sites, there aren’t that many trees around so you get these nice long shots that are totally uninterrupted. There are some other ruins around that have blocked access to some of the steeper complexes because some uncoordinated person fell down and killed themselves. Very inconsiderate of them. I guess human sacrifice is not so trendy in this day and age.

The Mayans who lived at Uxmal lived in a very dry area so during the dry season they dug these large reservoirs (chultunes) then lined the walls and floor with mortar, then covered them with a special roof that provided surface area to collect the rains when they came and funnelled them to the chultunes. The dryness of the region meant that Chac (pronounced cha-ak) the rain God was worshipped and was supremely important to them.

When you walk up to the main temple and stand in front of the steps, you can clap your hands and there is a rebounding sound that resembles the call of the Quetzal, which is a beautiful bird that was held sacred by the Mayans. They ar eveyr rare these days and are only found in this region of the world.

We’ve seen a few ruins before Uxmal and since Uxmal, but this place is still my favourite. We just found walking here to be supremely peaceful and calm. Oh yeah, Uxmal also has some of the best toilets we’ve ever seen in Mexico, and that’s even taking into account the hotels that we’ve stayed in. I am talking about the public toilets at the actual ruins. Sorry, no pictures, thought that might be a little weird.

On the way back, we had a good chat to our guide and he was telling us about some of the corruption that the locals have to put up with. The amount that you have to bribe a cop depends on their level. It starts at the municipal level, then the state level, then the federal level. The federal cops get the fattest bribes. It’s kinda cool to know that you could pay your way out of something if you’ve ACTUALLY done something wrong. But it would suck to have to pay your way out of something when you’ve done NOTHING wrong. Our guide was also telling us about drunk driving. The cops don’t really use the breathalyser to test for drunkenness. You get pulled up, they talk to you and smell your breath and if you smell like alcohol, you’re done. Then you pull your wallet out and pay some cash. Where it gets interesting is that in Australia, if you crash your car and you’re found to be over the limit, then all bets are off and you’re not covered by insurance. In Mexico, you can buy insurance that covers you if you’re drunk. True story.

A quick apology: I'm sorry if the titles for the pictures are unimaginative. I would leave them blank but travelpod insists on tiles so to save time, most of the titles will be cut and paste jobs. If you want to know more about a certain picture, then post a question or send us an email and I would be glad to elaborate.

In our next blog entry, we get to tick off another one of the Seven Modern Wonders of the World from our travel list. Chichen Itza!
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mwpart on

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