Continued from here.
We woke up at 6.30 and were all set to leave by 7. We had already booked the tour and our driver waited for us in the hotel lobby. We packed our cameras, go-pros, swimwear, sunglasses, snacks and water bottles and left for Chichen Itza. It was almost two hour drive. Our driver knew enough english so communication was not a problem but he was a quiet person. We were just chit-chatting and S & S were giving us account of their day at X-caret. They had a great time and watched some spectacular shows.
On our way, we stopped at a rest area where we got some more snacks. There was a big shop by the rest area, laced with beautiful hand-crafted things. I felt like a kid in a candy store; I wanted to get everything. Most of the stuff was pertaining to Mayan culture which is the ancient culture of this part of the world. Some of it was Aztec culture inspired. There were hand painted leather tapestry with paintings of Gods from Mayan culture. Beautiful sculptures of these gods in wood, in limestone, in porcelain were in display. Also there was a lot of pottery items and knick-knacks from that culture. There was a lot of color around. Everything was bright and beautiful. And cost a bomb. Even tiny fridge magnet was 5-7 bucks. The assistants in the shop would tell you about the piece in broken English, talk about what is the meaning of the piece or its significance, and tell you that such art took so many hours/days for the artist and question that don’t they deserve a good price for their effort. I agreed and I had my heart set on so many things already. Finally S-man and I decided to get a beautiful Mayan calendar in stone that was 27 bucks after little negotiation. Both of us are bad at it and I think it shows. but I didn’t mind. It is a beautiful piece and adorns our house as one of the showcase item. S and S didn’t buy anything since everything they liked was super, super expensive.
We reached Chichen Itza after another hour drive and all of us took a small nap on the way. Our tour included the entry tickets but not the guide. Our driver got us the tickets and asked us to see meet after two hours or so. We decided to skip the guide and roam around on our own.
Chichen Itza is one of the main attraction in Cancun. This archaeological site is considered as ruins of a major Mayan city. It has fascinating architecture with a huge central temple, a huge court for Mesoamerican ballgame, a wall with sculpting of speared skulls implying the sacrifices, a temple of columns, an observatory, a palace for nuns and other buildings that I can’t remember anymore. There was also a central platform that seemed like a place for conducting sacrifices. We overheard groups with guides a few times and gathered some history. Like how serpents had a great significance in Mayan culture. Or how the people abandoned the hut if someone died in it, literally leaving the dead to rest in peace. And other interesting facts. One of the interesting things that I encountered there was that when you clap your hands in from of the Kukulcan temple (the main building in the city), the echo returns as a chirping bird. It was so much fun-clapping and hearing this amazing echo. People from ancient times were no joke. They were able to construct these huge buildings with such strong foundations and walls that stand tall till this day and also add architecture with such acoustic effects.
There was also a market area as you would walk from one building to another. The market had a lot of hand crafted items- sculptures of serpents and serpents heads, jaguar heads and a lot of masks and skulls. And these weren’t as expensive as in that shop but the quality of these pieces was not at par with that from the shop. Still pretty good stuff. There were colorful shawls and tapestry. There were these wooden pieces that when blown in correctly would make a jaguar’s howl. Only vendors were able to do it though. The vendors actually recognised us as Indians and were trying to attract us by calls of ‘Namaste’, ‘Modi’ and ‘acche din’. It was so funny. Their favorite phrase was ‘Almost free’ and ‘Only a dollar’. When asked they would show a tiny piece in super bad finish. We did get a mask and a fridge magnet from the market. I wanted to buy more stuff-everything was so beautiful but we were short on cash and S-Man didn’t want our house to look like we were Mayans so we didn’t buy anything else.
By the time we were done, it was super hot and sunny and we were hungry and little tired after this long walk. Our driver met us in the parking lot and we drove to Ik kil cenote.
This is a sink hole and is another famous attraction in Cancun. Our tour included the lunch and we had a nice meal at the restaurant buffet. After the meal we sat under shade for a short while and then changed into our swimwear. We also rented life jackets for everyone except S-Man. The place was bit crowded but not too bad. There were a lot of stairs taking us to the cenote and they were slippery. As we went downstairs, the air got cooler and was a great relief from the bright sun. And then we jumped in the sink hole. It was amazing feeling. This is like a natural swimming pool, inside a cave with huge cave walls all around you and only an opening over your head. It is really hard to explain how amazing the place is. We spent almost an hour in the water. S-Man fulfilled his wish of jumping off the cliff as usual and jumped from the highest point for about 8-10 times. I jumped 3-4 times from the height of 5 steps and that was enough for me. Most of the times I just floated and with the life jacket on I had to make no effort whatsoever. I was just relaxing.
We left the sink hole around 5 and left for hotel. Most of the 2-hr drive was spent taking small naps. After reaching our hotel, we freshened up and took a bus to the shopping mall. We just walked around leisurely and saw a spa shop that offered fish spa – the spa where little fish nibbles off dead skin from your feet. I was skeptical but also inquisitive so decided to try it. S and S walked around while S-Man and I had this spa. It felt scary in the beginning- the idea of fish nibbling my feet but I bravely placed my feet in the basin. All little fish rushed towards my feet and it was super ticklish but soon I relaxed. We also had our feet massaged as part of the package and it felt good, specially after the long walk we had in the morning. Then we grabbed delicious dinner at an Indian restaurant just by the lagoon. The ambience, the company, the food, our witty waiter, my mojito – everything was perfect.
Done with our dinner, we took another bus to our hotel and called it a day. Tomorrow was another day of adventure and it had an early start.