Wednesday, December 22, 2010

The Last Two

After a quick side trip to the village of Santa Elena for Steve to see the "mummies", there were only two ruins left on our route.

Sayil and Labna.

The ruins at Sayil set aways back from the parking area and it is a hike through the "jungle" to get to them. There isn't really much left there. But what there is, is magnificent.

As we passed some of the lesser, unidentified building, I was once again struck by the work of the archaeologists in putting these ruins back together. This reminds me of building a house number-by-number.

The main building at Sayil is this residential house, also called The Palace. Probably the original condo, as many as 30 different families lived in this building. I would bet money that they were the aristocracy of the time.

This building has been compared to one found in Crete, Greece. Strange to me how different cultures developed along the same lines architecturally. Columns, both plain and decorated, dominated this structure.

As we walked from separated building to separated building, we could not help but notice these giant trees. I made a note to find out what I could about them later. They certainly are impressive.

I asked one of my native Yucatecan friends about them. He said that they are called a Pich (sounds like peach) tree. Once abundant in the area, they are becoming extremely rare. The reason is a sad story that we are all familiar without around the world. This tree depends upon deer who eat it's seed and then spread them throughout the forest in the form of seeds in the feces. Unfortunately, the deer population in the Yucatan is almost non-existent, having been hunted to near extinction in the area. Thus there is no carrier for the next generation of trees. Eventually, they will probably all be gone from the Yucatan. Pity.

This building always reminds me of an ornate entrance to a 60's bomb shelter! It is actually the ruin of a temple called "the rooster" because the ornate headdress at the top of the building was once painted a bright red.

Moving on down the road, we stopped at Labna.

The first building one comes to, after taking the long path from the parking lot, is the palace. It is the longest building known to exist in this area.

The building adornment can still be made out. There is a serpent's head with a human face peering out from between it's jaws. (maybe they had giant boa constrictors in the region?) This was supposedly the representation for the planet Venus.

The symbol for Venus.

I was hesitant to walk down this causeway. It was blazing hot that day and I knew that it would be pure torture with my leg problem. But I also knew that one of my favorite pieces of ruin was waiting to be viewed at the end. And I wanted to share it with Steve.

It's not much, but I love it. This was once the entrance way to some imperial family's home. I love to imagine what the house itself must have looked like!

Directly across from this is the structure known as "el Mirador", which means look out, or viewpoint, in Spanish. I'm sure one could see a long way from the top of it. But, what, I wonder, was there to see other than a bunch of trees?

For just a quick moment, as we walked back to the parking lot, I thought I was in Costa Rica again. There, running like obedient little soldiers, was a colony of leaf cutter ants. They are fascinating to watch.
In order to get even this good of a picture, I had to stir the scent of their path to momentarily confuse them. Or get them to pose, whichever you prefer!

We made a brief stop at the Caves of Loltun after this. We wisely decided to give them a miss. Maybe another time. It is a cave system that travels more than 2 miles underground and is just a wee bit difficult to walk. Especially with one of us having a leg problem and the other still recuperating from a zip line accident.
So then it was on to another one of my favorite cities in the Yucatan, Oxcutzcab, for the night.


Life's a Beach! said...

Amazing! I especially like the columns!

lisa said...

I loved it! Thanks for sharing! You have a wonderful Christmas!

Ann said...

I have enjoyed the trip around the Yucatan to the various ruins & hacienda. Thanks for sharing. Hope to run into you when we are on Isla--4 more weeks!

Anonymous said...

I'll bet I know what you're thinking.

"Here, we made all this efort to record these amazing ruins, and nobody responded. Heck with 'em!"

Anyways, I hope someday to have the time to visit all those places, as well as the many more that are scattered all over the Yucatan .... what a treasure trove..!!!

But, have a great holiday, and take care of the puppies and yer leg ...

O Robert

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