Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Ancient History, Volume XXXI

Previously, Cancun is the tackiest place on earth. Even worse than Vegas.

The next day, we were up bright and early and heading to the bus station. On foot. Let me tell you, walking for 20 minutes at break neck speed across a Mexican city in PEAK HOUR TRAFFIC carrying a 20kg pack? Not even remotely fun.

Eventually, we made it to the bus station and got our luggage checked in. While waiting for the bus, Sara and I decided that what we desperately needed was snacks, which is how we discovered Pinguinos.

I'm pretty sure these have a different name in the US, and they're not available in Australia, but I can vouch for the fact that the Mexican version is DELICIOUS. Anyway, we finally boarded the bus and got underway. And let me tell you - bus rides in the Yucatan are REALLY FREAKING BORING. We're talking nothing-to-look-at-but-hedgerow-for-four-hours kind of boring.

We finally arrived at Chichen Itza at around lunchtime. We had plenty of time to get lunch before we met our guide for the day, but due to the amounts of junk we'd eaten on the bus, Sara and I decided that what we didn't need proper lunch, and so had Magnums for lunch instead. Responsible adulthood FTW!!

Eventually, we headed into Chichen Itza (or It's A Chicken as I still can't help but call it) and Archaeology Nerd Kirsti almost exploded with excitement. Our guide for the day, Julian, gave us a background of the site and the people who lived there, and asked us a few questions to see if we knew anything about the site. I got them all right and was promptly appointed Queen of the Nerds became super smug got bonus points from Julian.We started out at the Pyramid of Kukulkan and OH MY GOD I JUST REMEMBERED THAT I USED TO HAVE AN X-FILES NOVEL THAT INVOLVED KUKULKAN. It was freaking terrible. See????

ANYWAY. Pyramid of Kukulkan, otherwise known as El Castillo. It's awesome. And it has this weird prehistoric megaphone thing built into it so that the priests could be all "HEY, Y'ALL. THIS IS KUKULKAN SPEAKING . YOU WILL WORSHIP ME." and con everyone into belief. Sneaky, no?

From there, we headed over to the ballcourt and got the lowdown on the infamous ballgame. It's not the losers who got sacrificed to the gods - it was the WINNERS. And the losers had to do the sacrificing. a) EW, b) that is one hell of a lose-lose sport.

Then it was over to the Wall of Skulls:

To some of the smaller temples:

To the Temple of the Warriors and Chac Mool:

And to the Warrior's Baths, and the Thousand Columns:

Then it was over to the Observatory, which is pretty unique in a Mesoamerican site, because it's rounded. Archaeologists think it was to observe the stars and their movements. Uh, AWESOME. (Before I realised it involved learning physics as well as archaeology, I had a huge secret desire to be an archaeoastronomer. Because ZOMG FASCINATING)

After that, we had free time to wander around some of the other buildings. Sara and I took a quick look around, and then decided we were going to go and look at the cenote. Let me tell you, the cenote at Chichen Itza is GROSS. Being sacrificed to the gods in there? Would not be enjoyable. If it had been me, I would have taken great delight if the people who sacrificed me ended up dying of some horrible disease thanks to bits of my rotting corpse getting into the water supply.
I'm sorry I said 'rotting corpse'.

From there, it was back to the bus station for another delightful four hours trapped in a metal box on wheels with nothing to look at but 3m high hedges on both sides. But eventually, we arrived in the lovely town of Merida, where Sara and I discovered that the bathroom in our hotel room was so small that you had to lift the toilet seat to be able to open or close the door - apparently they'd worked out what could fit in there based on a seatless toilet! - which made every trip to the bathroom a little adventure.

We ended up having dinner that night on the roof of the hotel to say goodbye to Suit Pants, who was leaving us the next day to head back to Guatemala and lead his very own tour group. And then I went crazy and decided that what I really needed to do - when in Mexico, and all that - was drink Corona. And it was gross.
Please ignore my residual sunburn from Belize.

Next up, my best and worst days ever. Plot twist: IT'S THE SAME DAY.

K xx


  1. Well, what do you know, that ballgame is the STUFF OF NIGHTMARES.



    Pinguinos? Om nom nom nom!

    Queen of the Nerds, go you! (Reminds me of a post-Duff-Gardens-water-drinkage Lisa exclaiming, "I am a lizard QUEEN!")

    Chichen Itza/It's a Chicken = hahahah. Zing!

    Archaeoastronomer...yeah, I can see how the physics part would deter you. ::shudder:: Back in the day I wanted to become a neurosurgeon until I...didn't want to anymore. Ha!


    1. The ballgame really IS the stuff of nightmares. I mean, being sacrificed to the gods was a huge honour, blah blah blah. You still had to have your head cut off/heart ripped out/some other really unpleasant death all because of sporting results. Which, EW.

  2. Yeah. I sleep on buses. Or critique their roadworks. And I think u were in the same hotel in Merida as us! One of the group members described their bathroom just like that! Ours was bigger but the only "external" windows overlooked the hallway or the ventilation shaft that stank of sewage. And the air con was SOOOOO LOOOUUUDDDD!!!

    1. All our bus trips were during the day, and were freezing cold, so the likelihood of getting any sleep was nonexistent! I don't remember if our hotel in Merida smelled of sewage or had loud air conditioning. Mostly I remember the tiny bathroom of hilariousness and the fact that it had a roof garden/courtyard/thing!

  3. Not to wax philosophical - but I think the worst and best days are most often the same day :)

    1. Hmmm, interesting thought... Technically, my worst day ever would be the whole Ness Ending Up In A Peruvian Intensive Care Unit debacle. But this was a close second, due my ridiculous and extensive phobias...


    Yep, called something else in the States. We're so creative with our naming that it's just a damned CupCake. WOOHOO.

    I love Chicken Eatsa (as my family has always called it). It's so much fun. Especially when they let you run up one of the pyramids (which I don't know if they still do).

    1. Nope, they don't let you run up the pyramids any more. A fat American either fell down the stairs or had a heart attack from the exertion of walking up a flight of stairs, and ruined the fun for everyone. RUUUUUUUUUUUUUUDE.

  5. At first I thought Pinguinos were basically Ding Dongs, but now I realize they are, in fact, Cupcakes, which are quite similar things really. Check out the Wikipedia page though: I find it highly suspicious that they put the word chocolate in quotes when talking about the chocolate glaze. Also, I need to go there someday. So many cool things! I love the look of old ruins and ancient civilizations, but have never visited any. (Horrid wording unless I'm an actual time traveler, but sadly, no.)


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