We’re heading down the road to ruin(s)

In that day will I raise up the tabernacle of David that is fallen, and close up the breaches thereof; and I will raise up his ruins, and I will build it as in the days of old. Amos 9:11

Another ‘cool’ day in Merida. Cool here means that the locals all wear jackets and the snowbirds have a couple of hours after the morning shower where they’re not bathed in sweat. Twenty-six degrees. A good day for a long walk. That was the plan.

After our visit to the Mayan ruins at Xchabel I thought we might as well visit another archeological site just down the road from our golf course. On google maps it looked to be about a 3km walk to Dzibilchaltún. There we could see the ruins and maybe go for a swim in the ‘cenote’ (sink hole). One of my new neighbour friends said the museum at the site was pretty good too — well worth the price of admission. And so we got all ready to hike out there. But just then Pepe, the neighbour, comes walking by. I tell him what our plan is and he immediately offers to take us there in his car. We oblige.

When we get there the ‘parking lot’ is empty. We are told the museum is closed on Mondays. The admission is about $15 CAD. Really? Is it worth it? Oh well, we’re here now. Might as well go in.

We enter the ‘park’ and the first thing we see is a big pyramid to our right and a long ‘step-wall’ across the big rectangular courtyard. And Dave sees colourful birds. He requisitions MaryLou’s ‘real’ Canon camera with the zoom lens and starts sneaking up on the birds. I climb up the big pyramid for a look from on high.

From there we walk through the site. Apparently the Spanish invaders broke down many of the ancient Mayan structures and used the stone to build a big fancy chapel in the middle of the site.

An ornately carved stone gate leads to the sacred pool that is the cenote — used by the ancient Maya for sacrificial offerings. I walk through the gate and there it is: a stunning blue and green pool with crystal-clear water and beautiful lily-pads in the middle. Tiny fish come to nibble on my toes when I did them in the water. There are two people swimming in the pool. MaryLou quickly changes into her swimsuit and joins them.

Next I climb up the big long wall that looks like ‘bleachers’ for the audience to sit on and watch a Mayan soccer game.

I wandered around the complex for a while. There were many smaller ruins and platforms scattered around. Presumably these were the foundations for homes of the lesser citizens of this Mayan ‘village’.

And at the far end of the park, about a kilometre down a white limestone road, is the famous Temple of the Seven Dolls, so named because of seven small effigies found at the site when the temple was discovered in the 1950s. Supposedly on the day of the vernal equinox the morning sun rises and shines through it directly to the pyramid at the other end of the road.

It was around eleven o’clock by the time we were ready to leave. And by then there were quite a few more visitors to the site. I wanted to make a little side trip to the village of Chablekal — maybe have lunch at a cafe there. It was in the opposite direction from home, but only a kilometre or two. We started walking. Luckily for us, a ‘moto taxi’ came along and we took a ride. A moto taxi is like a ‘tuk-tuk’ in Thailand — a motorcycle that’s been converted so that there is a little carriage behind the driver with a bench seat for two or three people.

We were dropped off in the centre of the village. We started looking for a cafe. We asked a few locals for directions. But we found no suitable place for lunch. Little grocery shops, and even a guy frying chicken, but no place to have a taco or tortilla and a beer. So we took another moto-taxi back to our country club.

The back entrance to our country club is quite a long way from our apartment. By now the ‘coolish’ day wasn’t so cool anymore. It was a long hot walk back. It was 12 o’clock and we had certainly earned our cold cerveza!

We hadn’t seen quite enough devastation and destruction for one day so Dave and I decided to golf nine holes and make it a complete disaster. Which we did. Right off the first tee we lost a ball and when we started looking for it the guys at the tee box behind us sent the marshal after us! So now we had to golf under pressure! By the end of nine holes I was out of all the nice new Titleist balls I brought from home. I have one faded orange Volvik and two scarred found TopFlights — I will have to buy a bag of used balls from one of the Mexicans who’s fishing them out of the quicksand in the water hazards before my next round.

After golf I had a quick shower and then it was time for supper. We Ubered to the Altabrisa neighbourhood and got dropped off at the big Plaza mall. It turned out to be the WRONG place — not the place Dave had in mind when we set off. But there were a bunch of chain restaurants and we were hungry. We got a table in a ‘Mexican’ restaurant — where a lovely young waitress who didn’t know a word of English smiled and nodded at us as we asked about each of the items pictured in the menu. I wasn’t sure what I ordered but I ate it all and it wasn’t half bad. After supper we walked to the end of the mall where there was a big supermarket. We needed a pot so Dave can make his morning porridge. Found one. Bought it. Ubered back to our place. Picked up another bag of ice at the mini-super at the front gate and walked back to our apartment in the cool of the evening by the light of a full moon.

My turn to pick the movie tonight. But here we sit, each of us busy on our own device. So many photos of ruins to look through. (If you think there are too many in today’s blog post, be thankful that I did not include all my blurry flower pictures or any of Dave’s 230 blurry bird pictures!) It was still early but evidently the activities of the day had taken their toll on each of us. Dave was snoring quietly on the couch. MaryLou’s MacBook was in danger of sliding off her lap onto the floor. I gave up and surrendered to the inevitable. I would write my journal entry tomorrow. Which I did.