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A man of many words. Profane, profound, loyal to a fault and a right rat bastard. I love the finer things in life: expensive cigars, cheap women and all the salted, cured meats I can eat. A friend to dogs, lover of humanity and despiser of people. If I were King the world would be a better place, because, well...I would be King! Oh, and I like ice cream.

Friday, July 14, 2006

Ruins of Chichen Itza

In a stroke of brilliance we were up at 5:30 to catch the early bus from Merida to Chichen Itza. We arrived around 8:30, well in advance of the hordes of other tourists.

Chichen (not Chechen nor Chicken) as it's popularly called, was an important Mayan city in it's day. The Toltecs from central Mexico conquered it in AD987. It is well known for it's intricate carvings. This place saw LOTSof human sacrifice in it's time. The city was abandoned around 1224.

Love the Black and White Effect.

Your Intrepid Explorers

They used to line the top of this wall with the heads of the sacrificed.

This is the ball court. They had to get this six (or was it eight?) pound ball through the stone ring up on the sides of the court. No hands.

At different times the captain of either the winning team or the losing teams was sacrificed to the Gods. I think originally they offed the captain of the winners because they only wanted the Gods to have the best. But, when they developed the worst players possible (who wouldn't blow these games?) they developed the motivating tactic of taking the heads and hearts of the loser's captain. That's why soccer players from Central America are so good, fear they might bring that rule back!

This carving depicts a sacrificial heart in the talons of an eagle.

They would lay the poor bastards, still alive, on their backs on these sacrificial tables and carve out their hearts. The blood would then run down these grooves to the east and west (offerings to the Sun and Moon Gods). Then the heart was set afire so the smoke would rise to the heavens. I'm not sure when exactly the head came off. But at that point what's the difference?

It wasn't all fun and games and blood-letting with the Mayans. They were great studiers of the world around them. This observatory was useful in studying the night sky. The Mayans had a pretty accurate calendar. According to the Mayan "Long Count" time will come to an end on December 21st, 2012 A.D, Winter Solstice. So do your Christmas shopping early that year.

By 12:30 the hordes of other tourists were upon us. Outside of Tokyo I've never seen so many Japanese. And who is making all those BONNETS they wear? Incredible.

Chichen Itza may have been a big time city in it's day. But, it's a sure bet the Mayans NEVER foresaw the prospect of hundreds of fully loaded tour buses filling the parking lot each day. How I know this is, in spite of their advanced civilization, they neglected to actually BUILD a parking lot.

That's why they faded away. It wasn't climate change or Spanish Conquistadors or war or pestilence. It was lack of city planning.


Panhandle Mama said...

...you and Jason complement each other nicely!!!! those that don't take the time to read both versions are missing out.......oh, and I love the yellow socks....

mike247worldwide said...

Hey! Those are my Livestrong sox. They are the best sox you can have for travelling. They dry fast, look cool and profits go toward Lance's Cancer charity.

I even wear them with my suits. (Whenever I wear a suit, which is pretty doggone rare in my retirement dotage)