Uxmal & Rebecca Heats UpSaturday, July 28, 2007
In comparison to Chichén Itzá Uxmal was a welcome and wonderful experience. Part of it was the fact that by driving we got there at 8:30 and there was nobody there. The entrance is modern, extremely clean and civilized. The guides (we didn't use one) all seemed learned. Rebecca objected to all the talk of our Juan Jara in Chichén so we saw the ruins without any explanation. Except for not being allowed to climb the extremely steep steps (I did so when I took the pictures you see here about 27 years ago) we were able to explore the ruins with all their intersting ups and downs.
Rebecca was more interested in the many iguanas of the site and decided that she did not need a hat to run around trying to follow the lizards. A few hours later she felt faint in our air conditioned Nissan (that drove like a truck as it had no power steering). She sort of recovered when we arrived at the cenotes I wrote about yesterday. A few hours later Rebecca figured out she had suffered from heat stroke.
The stone colour of the Uxmal ruins is an attractive pink unlike the bluish cast of Chichén. There was little in Uxmal to remind us of death and war. The ruins are inhabited by thousands of swallows that fly in and out from the corbled arches.
Even Rosemary managed to smile and enjoy Uxmal. But the smiles were even more plentiful when we feasted on some Mexican lemon (sort of like a lime) slush drinks. The cold went up Rebecc'a nose but she still finished her drink.
While I cannot post here the picture, I took a photograph of the Palacio de los Gobernadores which included (using an extreme wide angle) a reproduction of Catherwood's exact version of the same scene but done around 1842.
Perhaps tomorrow I will find the time to recount how it was that we swam in three cenotes and that the experience is one that is almost impossible to explain. It felt like we were in another time almost as if were were followind the footsteps of Stephens and Catherwood. It was in the cenotes that I accidentally discovered that the night scene setting of Rebecca's pink Samsung digital camera was the one that managed to capture the extreme contrast of the scene from the bright hole to the cenote to the darker (but crystal clear) waters below.
While driving back to Mérida (7pm), in roads so narrow that we had to slow down to a crawl to make sure the incoming vehicle did not side swipe us, we remembered we had not eaten anything since our 7am breakfast at the hotel. We bathed at the hotel and walked to Los Almendros (in Parque de la Mejorada). While I never really drink I have been enjoying one bottle of Yucatecan, Cerveza Montejo. As soon as we had demolished our Poc Chuk (flattened and grilled pork smothered in red onions) Rebecca was nodding off. We walked home in the hot evening and I mentioned to Rosemary that it all was similar to our walks, 38 years ago, in Veracruz. We could smell the salt air of a port even though Merida is not a port.