Tuesday, April 19, 2011

The Ruins in Yucatan

Most states have attractions that draw tourists or field trips or become vacation destinations.  The state of Yucatan is no exception. In fact, it is a fairly well known tourist attraction because of its rich history and the geography of the region.  And when you call a place like this home, you have to make an effort to see it as the cultural jewel that it is and experience it as if for the first time.
This spring we invited our Yucateco friends to Chichén Itzá, one of the modern 7 wonders of the world in our own "backyard." Although they had visited it in the past, they had not in recent years, so for their kids it was like going for the first time.  We chose a crazy, chaotic day to go - the Spring Equinox - when the shadows formed by the sun on the main pyramid, Kukulkan, form the body of a serpent.
We waited for what seemed like forever in the line to pay for our ticket to enter into the ruins.  Mexicans pay a minimal amount to get in, and foreigners like us pay a slightly steeper fee. Students get in at a reduced price. So as we chatted to pass the time during the heat of the day, the kids occupied themselves with various games.

Once on the grounds, you follow a pathway that winds its way past the many structures built by the Maya people.  The main attraction is the pyramid, but there are also a ball court, buildings with columns, and a cenote with an altar built in front of it where it is believed that sacrifices were given to various gods.  Because of the attraction it is, many vendors line the walkways with trinkets and souvenirs, t-shirts and hammocks, all to commemorate your special time in the Yucatan.

One vendor sells wooden figures.
On the far left is the serpent's head,
and the light in between the shadows
forms its body.
Here are some fun shots of our time there:

As you can see, we all had a fun time together enjoying this "modern wonder of the world."