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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.

Monday, July 24, 2006

The Ruins of Copan

Another UNESCO World Heritage site. The actual site is about a kilometer outside the town of Copan Ruinas. Archeological evidence indicates people lived here before BC 1200. The Mayan kings had some great names: Great Sun Lord Quetzal Macaw (whom later kinfs revered as the semidivine founder of the city), Mat Head (How'd you like to be called that?), Waterlily Jaguar, Moon Jaguar, Smoke Jaguar, 18 Rabbit, and my personal favorite, Smoke Monkey. Smoke Monkey wasn't a noted king, but the name appealed to me. In fact I took to calling Mick "Smoke Monkey."

Smoke Monkey surveys the Copan Museum
To be honest after Tikal the Copan ruins lacks the impressive temples jutting above the jungle canopy. However, it has it's own charm. The Mayans had clear-cut everything to build their sites and grow crops. When the population grew too fast it out-stripped the area's ability to support itself. Thus most of the Mayan sites were abandoned by AD 900, long before the Spanish arrived. Since Mayan blood still flows among today's Centroamericanos, that was probably a good thing.

The flatter stone is where human sacrifices were performed.



The ol' Ball Yard.







The Museum at the Ruins
We spent a couple hours kicking around, bought our first souvenirs of the trip (not counting tee-shirts). The rest of the day we enjoyed the laid back atmosphere of Copan Ruinas.

Mick has spent the past nine months working on an archeology internship in the US Virgin Islands. His main area of interest is the Taino Indians, those whom Columbus met. So he showed a good appreciation for the Mayans, often pointing out similarities in pottery, culture, etc.

We are different personalities, Mick and I. As you might expect we share many commanalities, views of life, morality and so on. Like most, if not all, fathers and sons we often disagree over things. What son doesn't believe his father is hopelessly adrift? For my part he can do no wrong. He's grown to be a hell of a man. I know his mother would have been very proud.

In the night I had a touch of what I came to call "Smoke Monkeys Revenge." The usual symptoms, which were easily handled by Immodium Advanced. Ah, better living through chemistry!

We had read of a museum in Copan itself. Sunday afternoon we stumbled upon a free museum just of the plaza. Turns out it was a children's museum. Two young guys, each about 12 years old were excited and happy to show us the rounds. Neither spoke a lick of English, but their enthusiasm was infectious.

I'm only sorry I didn't get their names

A little later we found the actual museum. Being Sunday it was closed. We would have time in the morning to visit before leaving Copan Ruinas for San Pedro Sulo and our rendezvous with Jason.

1 comment:

J.C. said...

Hey, I have actually caught up to you now - chronologically speaking that is - in reference to our blog entries that is. It was pretty easy, considering that after we split in Caye Cauker I did nothing much (unless you ask that English med student bird) but sit on my ass. Meanwhile you two did enough to fill four entries! Whew...

Did Mick find a place to live in Columbia yet?

PS - see the Belizean jibberish?