I recently returned from a week-long trip in Mexico. As I mentioned in a previous entry, I took one of our giant AquaKnot bags, which I nicknamed Tehuantepec, as I was going deep into the central Yucatán area.
No, I’m not going to pitch you on how cool my AquaKnot bag was… at least not after this paragraph.
This is the mighty Tehuantepec in action; first, packed full of a week or more’s worth of clothes and such… and then rolled up at the airport.
I am not easy on my luggage or backpacks, and this bag handled it all really well. The material is burly, and the buckles and attachments are strong. After all, I’m the kind of guy that grabs these things by whatever point is closest to me, throws them into the back seat of the rental car, and later flops them down on whatever surface is nearest.
If you are interested in examining these bags further, follow this link:
Our burly Aquaknots
Now that we’ve gotten the business out of the way, I reward you with some pictures of where my AquaKnot went… though to be fair, it spent most of the time in my hotel room, guarding my socks and undies.
My friend and I flew into Cancún, then rented a car. If I were to draw you a map of this leg of the adventure it would look something like this:
Driving through the cities of Mexico is everything you’ve heard it is. Driving in the country was much better. We took the toll highway, 180D, which was well worth the 25 bucks or whatever it worked out to be. While not as scenic, the road was nearly empty of cars, speed bumps, and the narrow, crowded lanes of the villages. All I had to dodge was the occasional farmer. They hauled firewood down the highway on a sort of basket bicycle cart. Those carts were everywhere!
Our first stop was Chichen Itza, a fairly touristy, mostly Mayan temple site. If I were to draw you a map of that part of the adventure, it might look something like this:
A ton has been written about Chichen Itza. Detailed histories and maps can be found all over the web. Here are a couple examples:
More detailed, for the real historian in you
We played around for several hours. Here is my shot of the main pyramid, El Castillo:
Some poor woman fell down the stairs to her death a few years ago, so no one can climb it anymore. My friend had been there before when you could still make your way to the top. I saw her old pictures after we returned, and there are massive people on the steps. It was odd compared to how clean the temple looks in my pictures.
As a sports guy, I was very interested in getting inside their Ball Court. If you haven’t read about it, please check out this link to the Mesoamerican ballgame. Chichen Itza featured the largest ball game of any of the temple sites, so being in it was like being in the coolest sports arena you can think of and being able to walk around on the field. Times ten.
Here are a couple pictures. One shows part of a snake head, which was a common motif; the other, a scoring ring. If you think the ring looks easy to shoot a basketball through, maybe it was… if you think it’s easy to shoot an eight-pound basketball off your hip through a ring 20 feet off the ground and if your team loses, you might get your head chopped off.
Next up: Mérida!