Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Hot, Historic Mexico

The second stop on our cruise was in Mexico. We were excited to go to Mexico for the first time! After starting to learn Spanish in 7th grade to minoring in it in college, it was about time to use my Spanish in a Spanish-speaking country! The cruise had two stops in Mexico and the first one was Costa Maya, which is on the southern coast near the border of Belize.

When we got there, we took a bus an hour inland to see the Chacchoben Mayan Ruins. It was awesome to see, touch, and climb these structures that were still standing strong so many centuries after they were first built. It's fascinating to think about the people who once lived there, the lives they led, and the civilization they developed for themselves. Now all that's left are these enduring temples.

Oh, and it was HOT! It was almost 100 degrees there in mid-March! I don't know how the Mayans lived with the heat back then, or how the people who live there today without air-conditioning do it. I suppose you adapt and get used to it. I think if I tried to adapt to living like that I'd have a headache every day and would eventually just die of heat exhaustion. But that's just me.

This was the view of Costa Maya from where the ship docked as we walked down the long dock to land.

It says "Do not cross the red line." And look where he is! John was a stinker that day.

We got in line to get on a big (air-conditioned) bus to go to las ruinas ("the ruins").

This was the first of three temple pyramids we saw. There was ancient history, standing right before us!

It's pretty impressive that I was able to get the shot below with no people in it, because there were a lot of people there that day! 

You could climb the steps up to the first landing, and then it was roped off.
Sam didn't want to cooperate for the family pictures below. He was thirsty and cranky. I kind of was, too.
But it was neat to get our family picture taken here on these ancient steps. 

 I'm amazed at how the Mayans built these structures with their bare hands, and that they've stood for such a long time, since about 700 A.D. What a gifted people they must have been. The structures had to be excavated from where they lay buried underneath hills after being discovered in 1972. (I guess hills just happen as 2,000 years pass by.).

This was the second pyramid we visited.

It had a little "hut" type of thing built into the side that was neat to explore. 

John, pondering history perhaps?

Water bottles were our best friends that day!

Holy steepness!! We had to climb up a very steep stone stairway to get to the third structure. I took this picture from the top of that stairway. It's so steep that you can't even see the stairs, only people climbing up. There was another more kid-friendly way to get up, which is how Peter and Sam went. John and I tackled the steps together.

And this was the third pyramid we saw. I really wanted to get a family picture in front of this one since there weren't as many people around, but Peter was distracted by a woman who had passed out from the heat, so that didn't happen. (She was okay, but she had to be carried down. Lucky her! Well, sort of.) 

John enjoyed playing on the ruins. 
I like the combination of ancient civilization versus modern civilization in this photo: ancient Mayan ruins and a Boston Red Sox t-shirt. What a contrast! 

It was a very memorable and special experience to be able to go the Chacchoben Mayan Ruins that day. But we were hot, tired, and glad when it was time to get on that air-conditioned bus and go back to the ship. Before we walked down the dock there were these funny guys who were dressed up as ancient Mayans (one was an owl!) and we got our pictures taken with them. I talked to the owl guy in Spanish and he was surprised that this blond gringa could speak in his native tongue. How awesome is it that I got to go to Mexico and speak Spanish with a man dressed up like an ancient Mayan owl!? Very awesome indeed. The gods must have been smiling down upon me.

Sloppy-ish pictures of the shore that I took as I walked backward to the ship: 

And that sums up our first trip to Mexico. It was hot and historic! And lots of fun.