World Travelblog

Travel info, diary, and travel links from all over the world..

After staying on Isla Mujeres a couple of days, we met a nice couple from Estados Unidos (Usa) and have been hanging out with them the last couple of days here..

We went snorkelling on Saturday, but it was a little windy, and the currents were a little edgy, so the trip was cut short because of that, but the 2 or so hours we were in the water we saw some cool colourful fish, lots of corals, and I even caught a glimpse of some Barracudas lurking about..

We have «one time» underwater camera, but we`re saving those pictures for later, so stop by, and they may be out! :)

On sunday we thought it would be a good idea to see what the mainland had to offer, and took the ferry to Cancùn to go sightseeing..

My first impression of Cancùn was not the best, as we have become a little more adjusted to the laidback island of Isla Mujeres.. Cancùn is made for tourists, and people who want to spend a years salary in a couple of weeks! There are shops everywhere, Gucci, Rolex, fancy jewelry, expensive food, drinks and even the cabs are expensive compared to any other place in Mexico..

It`s crazyprices everywhere, and in they eyes of a backpacker, it`s terrible! But on the other hand, the people that usually stay in Cancùn are the people that don`t mind spending a lot on vacation, visiting with their yachts, living in ritzy hotels with all inclusive, and paying extra for VIP entrance to discos and bars.. It`s not my thing as I feel I miss out a lot on what is really happening around. I prefer walking around looking at how the locals make their living or relaxing in a hammock at the beach, buying directly from the locals help contribute to their wellbeing.. Buying rolexes at the gigantic malls in Cancùn is probably just helping some big company give more money to their stockholders..

Anyway.. Cancùn is a crazy place, with flashy lights, lots of people everywhere, huge shops, huge restaurants, and people offering trips to this and that on every corner.. We even fell for one of their packages at the end of the day.. We wanted to go visit Chichen Itza, and were thinking about renting a car for a day, drive up to the pyramids, and maybe spend the night close by, that way we could see the sound/light show..

But as we walked around in Cancùn, we found a guy offering a full day trip with a guide to Chichen Itza, the Cenotes, and showing Valladolid, including buffèt and a dance show.. He charged 440 pesos (220,- NOK) per person for this.. To rent a car would cost 440,- for a day too, but this would not be including food, highway tolls, gas, or a guide, so we went for the easy alternative... Relaxing on a airconditioned bus..

I would recommend this to anyone not known in the area, as it is a much easier and cheaper alternative to doing stuff yourself.. :)

We were picked up early the next morning and the busride took about 2.5 hours.. after 1.5 hours we stopped by the Cenote, and this was an incredible sight..

It was a huge hole in the ground, and stairs had been made for easy access to the gigantic underground well..

Roots hanging down from the top of it all the way down to the water, and the water was several hundred meters deep, connecting with other cenotes several miles away.. Looks like something from a paradise movie, and absolutely a sight!

It was a little bit crowded, as this was a very popular place to go with the tourbuses..

But people were jumping in the Cenote all the time! Just look at the pictures and you`ll see what I mean..

After the Cenotes, it was off to get some grub, and we drove for 10min before arriving at the buffèt..

Here they had great food, and the locals showed us some of their dances, they balanced bottles and serving trays on their heads while dancing, and showed some real skill balancing this.. Must have had a lot of practice!

Then it was off to the main attraction, the pyramid and ruins of Chichen Itza:

The guide brought us around to all the attractions and told us a lot of how things were done here back in the days of the Maya and the Toltecs.

He told us how the real human offerings were done, not by cutting open the chest to see the beating hearts, but by cutting open the stomachs of the poor victims, then reaching in under the ribs to grab the heart and pull it out, still beating and pumping out blood while they had it in their hands.. Terrible stuff! He also told us about how the pyramids were built using a mix of rubber, clay and water to make the cement water resistant and last until our days..

He showed us how that if you stood directly in front of the stairs to the pyramid and clapped your hands, the echo sounded like an eagle screeching, and as eagles were a big deal for the mayans, they had calculated exactly how to get this effect.

The same with the ball park.. Here there were 7 players on each team, dressed in heavy armour, beautiful feathers, and trying to get a heavy compact rubber ball through the «hoops» which was an almost impossible achievement, as throwing the ball directly through the hoop was not possible.. It was not allowed touching the ball with your hands, they had wooden sticks.

They had to use geometry to find the perfect spot for the ball to bounce off the wall, then through the hoop. If you stand in front of the hoops, and clap, the clap will echo 7 times back an forth, symbolizing the 7 players on each team.

In the game, one goal and the game was over. The captain of the winning team was honoured by decapitation, this giving him direct access to the heavens and the gods. This was a great honour for the Mayan people.

Death was not seen as a punishment or a bad thing, it was a way to the next life and to glory.

Human sacrifice was done daily to send «messengers» to the gods asking for rain or sun.

The priests were astrologers, and using the stars calculated exactly when the sun would get blocked by other planets, down to the minute/second. The huge pyramid is actually a mayan calendar, and is incredibly complex.

According to the Mayan calendar, december 2012 is going to be the end of a 26 000 year circle, where the earth`s «wobble» will come full circle. There are many theories about what will happen, some say the poles of the earth will turn upside down, others the world will end, and some that there will be huge changes to climate and the way we live. I guess the only way to find out is by waiting for it.. :)

People also said the world would end in 2000, but we`re still here, messing it up!

When you are at the site, you will be guaranteed to be asked a couple hundred times if you want to buy stuff, there is lots and lots of beautiful artwork for sale, and the locals make their living of the tourists buying stuff.. Some give you good prices, others have found out that some «gringos» pay whatever they say so they charge higher.. I would recommend asking around the different places for prices, and haggle as much as you want.. you can find many similar works around so don`t worry if one guy is expensive.

I bought a ceremonial offering knife for 150 pesos (75,- NOK) but they charged a lot more other places for this.. Just use your head when buying.. If you are happy with the price, and they are happy with the price, buy it! Remember you are helping the locals in most of the cases here.. And these are not rich people..

The guide told us how the Mayan people still live in the areas, living off the forests, hunting meat, fishing, and growing what they need. We were told that the Mayans today aren`t even registered in the «system» as they have to pay to get a birth certificate, and if they pay for this they have to pay taxes.. And as most of their system is built up around them living of their own natural land, not the commercialized world «we» live in they do not want this..

Even the women who give birth, do not go to hospitals or anything. Giving birth is done by sitting on the knees tying a sheet around their belly, and as the first retractions come they tie the sheet harder and harder, helping the baby out.. They have no social aid, no benefits and noone else than their families to help them if anything goes wrong.

I gotta say I am impressed.. But this is they way they have done it since 1000`s of years ago..

After a long day walking around the area, we were happy to get back on the bus again, getting a little shut-eye before coming back to Cancùn doing some last minute shopping and then taking the ferry back to laidback and quiet Isla Mujeres..

Life is good on Isla Mujeres... and we`re not leaving here until the end of January..

Aah! Paradise!

2 kommentarer:

Albert said...

I like your detail description and great pictures of your mexico visit. I'm in the middle of planning a big 5 day trip to Mexico with a group of 6 o 7 friends myself. I would love to get your opinion on some stuff if you wouldn't mind me emailing you.

PhunkyPhreak said...

Thanks! :)
Yeah, just mail me if you want! Where in Mexico are you going?