Sunday, June 14, 2009

6/14/09 Chichen Itza and Arriving at Uxmal. 130 Miles, 3.5 Hours

Same routine as the past few days. Woke up, rode to the ruins at Chichen Itza and was blown away. Of all the Mayan ruins I've seen on this trip and in my life I have to say that architecturally these are the most stunning and well-preserved. It's no wonder they are one of the New Seven Wonders of the World. I would say that as far as the setting goes, Tulum is untouchable with the beach and the Carribean as it's background. And for wild, raw grandeur, the ruins at Tikal with it's setting deep in the jungle and all sorts of wildlife and accompanying sounds can't be beat. Also, being in Guatemala, Tikal is free of most rules and regulations like the rest of the country and this includes climbing up the pyramids for some stunning views of the buildings and surrounding jungle. You can't do this in Mexico anymore as they are trying to preserve the ruins. Anyway, I get to Chichen Itza early enough to beat the midday heat (although it got hot as hell anyway) and the tourists which are usually shuttled in by bus around 10:30am. I took plenty of photos with just myself or nobody in any of the shots. I feel especially lucky to have seen the ruins at this time because I heard they had been shut down following the swine flu outbreak and had only recently been reopened. I headed out, eat, have a coffee at the OXXO (AC!) gather my things and make my way to my last stop on the Maya Route, the ruins at Uxmal. The sky is mostly clear but there are a few big black clouds and I manage to trail any rain showers which gives me the added benefit of riding through the fresh, chill air left behind and racing along on wet pavement without actually getting wet myself. A few hours and a couple of wrong turns later and I'm a few km's from the ruins at the little hotel I planned on staying at. It's got a weird feeling like nobody is around and then a kid pulls up on a little motorcycle and says he used to work here but the place has closed it's doors 2 days earlier. The only other options nearby are a couple of spa/resort type places which is not really my thing on this trip. So I head back into the town of Muna 9 miles back, find a decent room with cable (and English channels!), fan, and private bathroom for about 12 bucks. Head out to brab some local food, watch a little Bad Boys 2 in my room and head out to an internet cafe where I'm typing this. Tomorrow, my last stop on the Mayan Route at Uxmal, and then a scenic but focused dash back to the States.

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