Merida and Uxmal
Trip Start Dec 21, 2009
43Trip End Jul 17, 2010
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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
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
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.
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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!