Friday, December 10, 2010

Tickled By Ticul

What's not to like about Tikul? (tee kool) It is a city of about 31,000, the largest in this ruin rich area. It is also famous for it's abundance of shoe stores and ceramic pots and wall hangings, glazed, painted or plain, made from the rich, red clay found in this area. Sadly, we were there on the Monday before Mexican Revolution Day. Since that holiday was on a Saturday, they decided to make Monday the official anybody-can-close-up-shop day.

The majority of the churches throughout the Yucatan (Merida being the exception) are almost all carbon copy images of each other. Some in good repair. Some not so. Ticul's is exceptional.

From the way the grounds are kept, the attention to keeping the facade clean and well painted and the amount of statuary around it, it is plain to see that Ticulians take pride in their church.

Detail of that window over the entrance doors.

Strangely, the church in Ticul was the only one we found during the whole week that was open. We found it incredible that the churches in other areas actually put padlocks on their gates and doors to keep people out.
These churches are long and full of hard, wooden pews. No falling asleep during the sermon here.

Details of the altar piece.

I had never paid that much attention, but Steve pointed out that this was one of the few times that he has seen a depiction of Christ in a Catholic church that shows anything but the pain of Jesus.

An outside view showing the length of this church.

As we passed through the central park/plaza, we encountered groups practicing for the upcoming Revolution Day festivities. As usual (in my humble opinion), these groups never seem to rehearse quite enough.

Right across the street from the entrance to our hotel, we encountered this.

I felt faint. I was sure that we were going to find that a carnival had been set up. I fully intended to get Steve to go on a tilt-a-whirl with me. If for no other reason than to show him that there are fun things to do without the danger of breaking bones!
But, alas, this was just a ride that seemed to be there all the time for the enjoyment of local kiddies. I told Steve that just because the tickets were cheap, that did not mean he could ride it twice!
Moving on past the merry-go-round and its' array of vicious looking animals, we encountered a local drum and bugle corp practicing. Luckily, they had just finished their last number and dispersed shortly after I snapped this photo. They probably could have used another hour of so of rehearsal. (imho)

We found a cute little restaurant off to one side of the square. They had tables and chairs outside and, since it was a nice night, we made a beeline for them. Food was great, service was great, conversation was great. The fact that we were the only customers did not bother us at all.
Steve pointed out to me how the bats that would fly up to the trees and bat the leaves to shake loose any insect trying to get a good night's sleep. Evidently one such insect thought that anything that was green was going to offer safe harbor from the onslaught of bats.

After we had played with this giant Katydid for awhile and taken enough pictures of it to fill a roll of old style film, Steve carefully walked it over to a nearby bush and placed it safely out of the reach of bats. I think that was the moment that summed up Steve's entire personality to me. What a fantastic person.
Ticul is also proud of it's Mayan heritage. Statues of various Mayan deities are prominently displayed on street corners and in traffic medians.

I particularly like the witch. I forget her name and I'm not going to look it up for you. Suffice it to say that she is scary and ugly.

But do you want to know what I love most about the Yucatan, and Ticul especially? The taxis!
They have regular car taxis, but what fun are they? I prefer the trici-taxis, both motorized and those still pedaled with hard labor.

We rode in all types but this was my undoubted favorite.
They remind me of the tuk-tuks of Southeast Asia. Well, actually they remind me of being on a float in a parade. I felt like we should be waving to people we passed. Or maybe even throwing candy. Cooler heads prevailed and I was not allowed to purchase candy for throwing. Even though I promised I would not throw hard candy!
Like I said, what's not to like about Ticul!


norm said...

The Mayan owl sitting atop the church has always touched my love of history. Ticul is one of those places where colonial history is on display, the church is built like a fort, firing holes down the walls, walls that would take a month to bash through, the few windows too high to get through without a ladder and the church built out of an old pyramid. The church sits on its base today. I never miss going to Ticul when I'm in Yucatan.

Islagringo said...

Norm: the stuff guide books leave out! I wish I had known this stuff about the church at the time. It sure brings it more to life. Thanks for sharing!

Billie said...

It use to be that the churches were open almost all of the time. Some did close for siesta. That was until they started having their saints and altar pieces stolen.

If you would like to know more about the 16th century churches in the Yucatan, google Richard Perry. He had written extensively about the churches in Mexico and his book about the churches in the Yucatan was unvaluable to me when I was photographing them. Not only to help me find them but they helped me understand the meanings of many of their architectural features.

The first time I saw Ticul there were almost no cars and only bike-taxis. When we were there two years ago I was both sad and glad to see the motorized taxis.

Barb said...

I would have liked to have gone to Ticul when we were down, but Hubs' mobility issues prevented us from doing a lot of sightseeing. Maybe next time.

For now, I'll read about your and Steve's travels.