Wednesday, December 01, 2010

Our Adventure Begins

Immediately after the farewell breakfast for the Blogger's Conference, Steve and I headed north. Our ultimate goal for the night was the seaside town of Progresso. But we had a stop to make along the way first. Steve's first Mayan ruin...of many to come!

Dzibilchaltun is one of my favorite lesser ruins. It lies along the route from Merida north to Progresso. It does not contain a lot of fancy buildings but I like it for two things: the church and the cenote.

I was pleased to pass this sign at the edge of the parking lot. It says that on Sundays local residents and foreigners living here enter free! I'm all about a free entrance!

But let's not discount Mexican arbitrary interpretations of the law. What the law, or rule, says is open to the interpretation of the person in charge at the time. Thus the frustration many of us have at the Immigration office each year. No two people will interpret the law and rules the same. I fell victim to that at Dzilbilchaltun.

We approached the ticket office and I presented my proof of residency in Mexico, expecting to be waved on it. Nope. Not today. The less than friendly girl manning the ticket counter merely pointed to this sign:

I was livid and sputtered at her things about discrimination and being treated fairly. She would not budge. I climbed onto my high horse and sat upright in the saddle. Steve and I withdrew a distance to discuss this turn of events. Now understand, it was not like I could not afford the entrance fee or that I would not have gladly pay it under other circumstances. After reading the entrance sign I was just purely astounded that they would blatantly ignore their own rule and discriminate like that. However, cooler minds prevailed. Steve reminded me of a story he had told me earlier about not letting one person or one mishap ruin an otherwise good trip. And he was right.

We paid our admission, although I was very clear in my disgust in doing so. (like she cared one way or the other anyway!) I'm glad I did and I am even more glad that Steve calmed me down so that I could really enjoy the visit.

This is one building on the site that I have never seen close up. And probably never will. It is way off in the distance and I just don't have it in me to walk that far to see an old building.

I was even feeling happy enough to pose for a picture. Doesn't look like I was happy though, does it. I was squinting something fierce. I'll explain why later.

We made our way over to the cenote. I think this was Steve's first and I do believe he was suitably impressed with it! It is one of the more beautifully rustic ones I have seen.

Since it was Sunday, and locals got in free, the place was semi-crowded with picnicers and swimmers.

There is easy access into the water and people just swim around the lily pads.

We were lucky that day. The lilies were in full bloom. A gorgeous accent point to an already pretty setting.

We spent quite a bit of time at the cenote. Just sitting and watching the people and staring stupidly into the water. It was mesmerizing and relaxing all in one.
Our bit of relaxation over, we moved onto some of the buildings, ultimately heading to the church.

The Spaniards build this from stones of temples and buildings they tore down. At least they made something majestic in their own style.

The last time I visited this site, a few years ago, the church was not roped off. One could go inside and really get a feel for it.
A few pleasant hours were passed at this site and then we loaded ourselves back into our little rented Atos and pointed it north for the beach community of Progresso.


Billie said...

I'm loving this travelogue with you guys. I too am sad that we can't go into so many areas of the ruins anymore. You are right, it was amazing when you could experience them from being on them or inside them. A different understanding altogether than just looking at them from the outside.

Ann said...

Thanks for sharing another interesting place to see in MX!

ronnie said...

We had the same discrimination when asking for a discount on the Punta Sam ferry. We showed our utility bills to show we are residents but they denied us and when we went to see the manager I shouted discrimination also. A resident of Isla Mujeres is a resident. Nationality has nothing to do with it. By the way, the Ultramar ferry had no problem with giving us discounts for being residents.

Theresa in Mèrida said...

I love that cenote!
Did you check out the museum? There is an exhibit where you walk over plate glass and look down on a wreck on the ocean bottom. The other exhibits are really good too.
The building at the other end is the House of the Dolls, Lynn (Crazy, Gone Native) did a really good post about going there for the equinox.

Islagringo said...

ronnie: we had the same problem with the car ferry. It took us 3 years to get a resident rate pass for our car. Keep trying. Go to their office every week and ask. (here on the island.) They eventually get sick of dealing with you and give you the pass. btw, we talked to a lawyer about this and he said that they are a private company and can make whatever rules, and exceptions to them, that they want.

theresa: the museum was closed. We would have liked to take a peek in. I could hardly believe that it was closed on a Sunday AND that they charged admission for it anyway!

lisa said...

The cenote would of had me. I love lily pads! I wouldn't of been a happy camper about the admission either! Still looks like you had a lovely time.

JBSK said...

Gringo, you should spend more time reading about the Mayan civilisation in order to get more out of visits to see "some old buildings". Dzibilchatun is reported to be the oldest continuously inhabited metroploitan area in the entire Mayan world - evidence of significant population 1,000+BC to the time of conquest. No other site comes close.

The building you photographed in the disatnce is the Temple of the Seven Dolls. The sacbe stretching out to the building and the stelae just in front of it are aligned with the windows of the tower to allow the the solar equinox to illuminate with a bright flash. The degree of precision of the alignment amazes those who measure such things. It is a unique structure and was originally constructed about 2,000 years ago.

The walk along the sacbe also gives one the opportunity to see the foundations of several simple residential compounds, not typically accesible in other sites.

Just north of Dzibilchaltun are salt flats that are used to produce salt from the evaporating salt marshes during the dry season. There is archealogical evidence that some of the salt beds have been in continuous use for over 3,000 years. It was the salt trade that kept the area prosperous.

Steve Cotton said...

My post tomorrow is Dzibilchaltún. There will be no doubt that we are on the same tour.

jackie said...

Those lilly pads are great! I like that you and Steve are writing about different aspects of your trip. That way we readers get a 2X1.

Theresa in Mèrida said...

Wayne, the museum used to be closed on Monday and included in the price of admission, along with the botanical garden! I am irked that it's closed on the day Mexican Nationals are most likely to go! For a few pesos they are keeping people from seeing their heritage.grumble,grumble,grumbleIt seems against the spirit of letting them in free in the first place!

Islagringo said...

theresa: exactly.

JBSK: thanks for the edification. I'm sure frequent readers of this blog, and people who know me, know that I have the utmost respect for the Mayan culture and ruins. The history of these ruins has been covered in this blog many times before and I do not feel the need to repeat it over and over to my readers. They are also free to do some investigating of their own if anything I say or show them piques their interest.