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New Cruiser: Expeditions

The travels of an all aluminum Land Cruiser and its owners…

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Chitchen Itza, Yucatan, Mexico

Written by Raenelle on Wednesday, November 5, 2003
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We spent a wonderful day walking around the ruins at Chitchen Itza. Among the many restored buildings on site was a large stadium-type structure called the ‘ballcourt’ where a complex game was played by the Mayans with a rubber ball and seven players on each team. The object was to keep the ball from hitting the ground by using their hips. Not only must the ball be kept aloft, but it also had to be strategically aimed through a vertical hoop attached to the side wall of the stadium about 12 metres above the players. All this using their hips! The leader of the losing team would be decapitated, and the leader of the winning team would be ceremonially sacrificed to the gods (a great honour). Either way, they ain’t ever gonna play the game again!

Chitchen Itza PyramidWe could see the intricate carvings on many of the stone buildings, and it was unbelievable to think that they have survived since about 500AD. The large pyramid in the centre of Chitchen Itza was easy to climb and the view was great from the top (according to Robin and Noreen it was a great view … personally, I had my eyes closed while up there … the tremendous height, lack of railings, and number of people walking behind me at the top of the pyramid made me shudder with fear. Now – take me skydiving anyday, and I’m fine, but put me on the top of a high pyramid without anything holding me in, and apparently I’m a wreck!). We explored the inner chamber of the pyramid which involved walking up a steep, narrow flight of stairs to a room deep inside the pyramid where there was a sculpture of a jaguar decorated with gems.

In the evening, we watched a light show at Chitchen Itza where they lit up the pyramids and buildings and told the story of the ancient Mayan civilization. It wasn’t too exciting because it was all in Spanish, and they had sold out of the headphones that translated the story to English! We headed back to our campsite for the night … hmm. The campsite. Yes – the campground deserves mention here.

We stayed two nights at a nice campground at the back of a motel. The property was gorgeous – lush R&R at Chitchen Itzagreen with a swimming pool, little palapa (palm-roofed) shelters for cooking under, etc. Robin and I ditched the rooftop tent for the night and I slept in a little tent with Noreen, while Robin rocked to sleep in a hammock. It was the perfect setting for a good night’s sleep, but alas – it was not to be! Firstly, let me say that we’ve been having a really hard time getting a full night’s sleep in mainland Mexico. If there aren’t loud trucks driving by, there are mosquitos and other bugs, or barking dogs, or howling wind, or roosters that think they need to cock-a-doodle-doo throughout the whole night! Well – at this particular campsite we had a different disturbance. Human disturbance of a very bizarre nature.

There was a group of about 18 people (mostly Americans) who were on a retreat to the Chitchen Itza area. It was some sort of spiritual/meditational type of retreat, but with a sexual slant! From what we gathered (from the loud discussions that continued in the campground till midnight), the underlying theme of the retreat was to work towards being able to control your sexual urges! We had no problem with the retreat itself, except for the fact that one person insisted on walking around the campground every 2 hours throughout the night shaking a morocco outside each person’s tent to wake them up (we think the idea was to wake up each person on the retreat perhaps so that they could control their meditation or something). But the result was that it woke everyone up in the campground! Needless to say, we didn’t get much sleep at all, and this happened both nights we were at the campground!

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