I have been to the following cities in Mexico:
I have visited Mexico City several times and always had a good time there. Also, the area around M'erida includes Chichen Itza and is one of my favorite areas to explore in Mexico. Please see the map and the geographical statistics for Mexico.
Click on this link to view more photos taken in the Yucatan Peninsula and Mexico City!
Here I am on top of the main platform of the Temple of the Warriors in Chichen Itza. This is a huge complex and the most important at Chichen Itza. It also clearly shows the influence of the Toltecs on Yuckatan for its general arrangement comes from the main temple in Tulum. This was the sanctuary of Tlahuizcalpantecuhtli dedicated to the Planet Venus as the Morning Star. This incarnation of Venus was incarnated by Quetzalcoatl.
This pyramid was composed of four stepped levels, its sides are covered with relief's that depict the symbols of the orders of Eagles and Jaguars alongside ritual scenes.
At the top of the stairs where I am standing is the recumbent Chat Mool, his upper body propped up on his elbows, holds on his belly a plate in which the hearts of sacrificial victims were placed. The two serpents on each side of me represent the rattlesnakes whose open jaws, ready to bite, guard the threshold.
Chichén Itzá and Uxmal are the two most important sites in the Yucatán Peninsula. Chichén Itzá had two periods of greatness, under the Maya from 600-900 A.D., then again following the arrival of the warlike Toltecs in the 10th century. For this reason two distinct architectural styles are visible, one belonging to the Classic-Period Maya, and the other developed in conjunction with the Toltecs, whose bloody practices were reflected in the artwork commissioned under them. The site is perceived as having two parts: Old Chichén (Maya) and New Chichén (Maya-Toltec).
The major structures include the Castillo or Kukulcán pyramid, sacred connote or well (site of human sacrifice), the ball court (largest in Mesoamerica, perfect acoustics), Warriors Temple and the El Caracol observatory. On December 8, 1988, Chichén Itzá was named part of UNESCO's "World Heritage" or "Patrimonio Mundial".
You can click on "The Perils of Pauline(s)" to view the problems encountered while Jon and I flew to, drove around in, and flew back out of Mexico!
We had rented a car and were driving all over the Yucatan peninsula. We followed one of the tour guides at Chichen Itza so we could get a feel for the ruins. He took the group to a cenote, a natural well formed out of the limestone rock. The rain water runs through the soft rock forming cavities of water and eventually the roof falls in forming these wells. The Mayan used these wells to irrigate as well as to drop sacrificial "virgins" and gold objects into them to appease the gods. I have better things to do with virgins and golden objects than to throw them away, at least if you can find any.
Don't ask me what was going on in my mind but I suddenly lost it. As the guide was telling us about the sacrifices, this is where the priests used to steam themselves to cleanse themselves of impurities before cutting out the heart of someone or throwing them and precious objects into the cenotes. I climbed onto the ruins of a building about 15 feet square and eight feet high and covered my chest and groin with my hands and did the dance of the Virgins. Everyone watching cracked up except the person I was with. Jon tried to ignore me. As fate would have it, I tripped and almost fell off of the ruins into the cenotes. The guide said that the building originally was a bath house where people were purified before being tossed into the cenotes and it looked like I was the next sacrifice.
It is no accident that the rain god has been given such a prominant place in the Yucatan. There are no rivers and the cenotes were used to store rain water to be used in the dry season. Being underground, the caves or cenotes are mysterious and dark and were important parts of the religious services when sacrificing the virgins, young men and women and golden objects.
My friend Jon, who traveled with me on this trip said, "Leave it to Chuck to find a bath house in the middle of no where!" Click on Tulum to see ruins that are fantastic and only a short two hour drive from Cancun.
I decided it was time to come down from the ruins because even if I fell into the sacred well, I wasn't a virgin so it would be a waste of good talent!
San Francisco California
Updated on: 2015.03.25