06-Marzo-2020, Viernes. Mérida, Yucatán
Vamonos. (Let’s go) We took a taxi for an all day joy ride. (1,500 pesos approx. $75 USD). We had met Cesar, our taxi driver, on our taxi ride to the Gran Museo Del Mundo Maya two days ago. We told him we wanted to see Uxmal and the Museo del chocolate plus any suggestions he had. He had a couple of great suggestions.
Cesar email: firstname.lastname@example.org Ph: +52 9992 69 84 87
The Hacienda Yaxcopoil can be dated back to the 17th century. Yaxcopoil in the Mayan language means ‘place of the green alamo trees’. Alamo trees??? At its time it was 22,000 acres of land and considered one of the most magnificent in the Yucatán due to both its size and grandeur, among both the cattle and the henequén plantations. This hacienda has been used as a backdrop for a lot of movies.
The walls are not wall papered. They are painted. The design is first drawn on the walls then hand painted.
Here, the raw fibers from the henequén cactus was shredded, pulled, wound together made into rope that varied in size from fine strands used for making hammocks, twine for baling hay, to hawsers the size of a man’s torso that tie ocean freighters to docks around the world. Individual strands could sewn together to make burlap bags.
The German diesel 100 HP engine Dale is looking below at was built in 1913 by Korting (Hannover).It was used til 1984 when the henequén shredding plant closed down after over 100 years of existence.
The name Uxmal comes from the Mayan Óoxmáal and means “three times built” or “three harvests”. It is considered one of the most important archaeological sites in the Mayan Peninsula. It is built in the Puk architecture style. Uxmal flourished between the 6th and 10th centuries AD.
Uxmal is unique among Mayan cities as it depended on rain and chultunes(cisterns) for water, not cenotes (fresh water source). Chac was the Mayan god of rain, and the honored god at Uxmal due to the lack of natural water supplies in the city.
Pyramid of the Magician
There’s a legend that says that the main building in Uxmal, the Pyramid of the Magician, was originally built in a single night by a dwarf that was born in an egg. It has been modified 4 times over a period of 400 years and now has four layer of 4 substructures
Clapping your hands about 100 feet from the Pyramid of the Magician echos back an eeking sound. clap clap clap eek eek eek
The mosaic façade on the Governor’s Palace is one of the longest in pre-Columbian Mesoamerica, with more than 100 stone masks of the rain god Chac. Still, it was like looking for Waldo trying to find Chac among the warriors, snakes, planets, and macaws, and other deities. The Governor’s power was based on divine right (a direct link to the gods). He could remain as the Governor as long as he had the power to make it rain. (In prolonged dry seasons or years of drought he go voted out).
The central doorway, which is larger than the others, is in perfect alignment with Venus.
Casa de la Tortuga
It was believed that turtles suffered with man at times of drought and would also pray to Chac for rain.
Great Temple (or Great Pyramid)
Dovecote. The Spaniards gave it the name because they thought it looked like a pigeon loft complex.
Juego de Pelota (ballgame)
The Nunnery Quadrangle
The Nunnery Quadrangle was given its name by the 16th-century Spanish historian Fray Diego López de Cogullado because it reminded him of a Spanish convent. It may have been a military academy or a training school for Mayan princes, who would have lived in the 74 rooms.
The North Building of the Nunnery is the highest and has a many-chambered terrace accessible via a second wide staircase leading from the courtyard. This structure has 13 doorways representation of the 13 levels of the Maya heavens. Opposite, the South Building has nine doorways, imitating the nine levels of the Maya Underworld (Xibalba). The West Building has seven doorways, this time reflecting the Maya mystic number of the earth. Mosaics on the East Building suggest this structure may represent the point in the Middleworld where the sun rises.
The rain good is all over the west building facade above with his trusty rainmaking tools (axe and snakes). One snake runs the entire length of the facade. The snakes head and tail start and end here at the rightmost panel of the building.
Rounding the corner on the west side of the Nunnery, between buildings, is a view of the Pyramid of the Magician.
Museo del chocolate (Chocolate Museum) Duh, yes. Of course I had to go.
This Museo del chocolate is one of four owned by Eddy Van Belle, a Belgian chocolate business owner who decided to dedicate his life to chocolate at the age of 12. The others are in Brussels, Paris, and Prague.
The Museo del chocolate is located in a botanical garden, which includes several varieties of cacao trees. It also houses and cares for native animals that can not be returned to the wild for various reasons.
Through out our walk we heard ceremony drums a conch horns. One section of the museum had been sectioned off for a private Mayan ceremony.
Lunch at a local restaurant where they make their own Cochinita pibil in the traditional way. Cochinita pibil is a marinated pork dish that is made with achiote, a reddish spice with a distinctive flavor and peppery smell. The pork is wrapped in banana leaves and baked in an underground oven.
Chicxulub meteorite ridge
I think this was the highlight of our day’s trip. It was mind blowing to see the Chicxulub meteorite ridge. Imagine the impact.
For a few more pesos we took a tour with Pedro, a Mayan who lives here that is studying to become a shaman. First stop was his workshop where he makes traditional Mayan items like drums and vessels. He also had two types of stingless meliponini hives.
Guided by dreams, Pedro 15 years ago first found the cave 15. It scared him so badly he said it took him 7 years before he would return to the cave. He said people have come from around the world who have dreamt of this place and sought him out.
Pedro doesn’t want the government to know about the cave because he is afraid they will take it away from the Mayan people. I seriously doubt you could find this place in any tourism literature.
Surprisingly it was like a sweat bath inside the cave. Mayan wedding ceremonies are held in the cave and people from around the world come for multi-day spiritual retreats.
It is possible to splunk into other sections of the cave. We didn’t go.
Agriculture. There are small sections of land immediately outside the Chicxulub meteorite ridge where agriculture is possible. Other than that it’s lots and lots of rock.
Weapons and drugs checkpoint Coming and going between Merida and Tabasco there are weapons and drugs checkpoint. We were asked to roll down the windows so they could look at us. Apparently we looked liked harmless senior citizens.
Out for our last night in Mérida.
Muchas Gracias to La Casa Carmita for a wonderful stay!!!!
Hechos Graciosos (Fun facts)
Mexican words sure have a lot of Xs in them.
Many of the Mexican words are not in Spanish, but in Nahuatl, the language spoken by the ancient Mexicans and still in use in modern Mexico mixed with the Spanish.
The sound of the “X” in Nahuatl was closer to the modern “sh” (like in the original pronunciation of Mexico “Me-shee-ko”) and because the Spaniards could not pronounce the names properly they re-codified them for phonetic pronunciation.
Pronunciation ‘X’, ‘Z’ and ‘J’ is really goofy in the Mexican language.
‘X’ is used in a lot of Mayan design. I haven’t found out the reason why yet. Let me know if you know.