Day 20: Uxmal - Grampies Yucatan Return: Winter 2023 - CycleBlaze

January 19, 2023

Day 20: Uxmal

byp
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We much anticipated starting the day at the breakfast restaurant here at the hacienda. But two factors conspired to keep it from happening. Dodie was very eager to get on with going to the Uxmal ruin, and when we had to go chase up the lady just to get a menu, followed by not being asked promptly for our choice, she was bouncing up and down in her seat. Meanwhile I was looking at that menu, and try as I might to just enjoy these moments and not count the cost, being asked to pay $11 for two eggs, for example, does spoil it for me. So we both leapt from our chairs, each with their own reason, and scuttled back to our room. There I breakfasted happily on a two day old cinnamon bun and powdered coffee, while Dodie rolled out a jar of Nutella, and one of the buns that came with dinner last night. 

We were then off through the beautiful grounds, to the very nearby Uxmal ruins entrance.  At the ticket booth we encountered the now familiar but strange practice of having to pay two different amounts to two cashiers, each representing thier own government agency. The total cost of 500  pesos each is fine by us, given the superb level of preservation and restoration that has been done here. And paying more than a local resident is also no problem.

The way from our hacienda to the ruins starts here.
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409 for one agency and 90 for another, paid separately.
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The way into the ruins
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Info signs generally are like these
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The imposing pyramid of the magician.
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We did think at first that for the money they could at least hand out a pamphlet with a map and some brief descriptions. But it turned out that each of the ten or more main buildings had signage that was not only adequate, but more information than we could absorb.

We had arrived early, and there was only a small handful of intrepid other visitors. We took a "selfie" for a couple from Beijing, who impressed us by mentioning Vancouver, and our own famous Butchart Gardens. Other foreign visitors were from Germany, and especially Italy. One of the Italians impressed me by reading the English on one of those "too much information" signs and fluently speaking it to his little group in Italian. But mostly we felt almost alone in this place.

The first thing we came to is also probably the most famous structure here, the "Pyramid of the Magician". The  temple at the top is the legendary home of the Dwarf of Uxmal. The pyramid was according to legend created overnight by this "magician".  We do not go in for any kind of spiritualism, but if we did, this would be a place for it. You can in any event feel the power of the pyramid and the whole site, or at least marvel at its extent, design, and carvings.

With the early morning relative cool, the lack of any crowds, and the beautiful landscaping of the grounds, our multi-hour multi-km stroll was magical (magic dwarfs aside). We appreciated each new building and each new vista, something our snapshots may not be able to capture. Even so, here are a few views of buildings to give the general idea.

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This is the so called Nunnery Quadrangle. It was named by a Spanish friar because that is what it reminded him of.
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A view of the Nunnery Quadrangle.
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The carvings on the upper portion of the buildings are part of the so called Puuc style.
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A closeup from the above photo.
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More of those upper carvings and decorations.
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An eroded stella. There was no sign indicating what it might be.
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The "Governor's Palace"
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In front of the Governors Palace was the ball court, with its sloped playing surfaces and ringed shaped "goals". This ball sport has been revived and is played internationally again today.
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The Governor's Palace
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The steps to the Palace are darn steep, but this intrepid climber is into it!
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If you can read this on the screen, can you understand it?
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The jaguar throne. By the way, Dodie heard a staffer mentioning that a jaguar has been seen recently on the site by night.
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Carving on the Governor's Palace
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Carving closeups.
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A look at the ball court from the palace.
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House of the Turtles
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One of the turtles
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This building was hidden behind tape. It must be under development or research.
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We did spot some birds at the site, notably a lot of swallows, but also a fair number of Great Kiskadees, recognizable even by us for their yellow breasts and black eye band. However the stars of the fauna show were the iguanas, which were hanging out on most piles of rock and within the walls as well. 

Iguanas finding places in the walls
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Suzanne GibsonYou don't need a new camera!
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1 week ago
A lovely couple!
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These guys are clearly waiting for the game to begin.
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A bromeliad has found a place on a wall.
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Lots of Kiskadees
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A bright fungus. We have not seen a lot of fungus on the trip.
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These were from a medium height flowering, but leafless, tree.
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Bill ShaneyfeltFound a good image match: Ziricote.

https://www.inaturalist.org/taxa/209898-Cordia-dodecandra
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1 week ago
Steve Miller/GrampiesTo Bill ShaneyfeltGood finding! The reference says the fruits that will follow those flowers are used to make sweets, and the wood can be used for veneers, etc.

p.s. Botanical note - yesterday we got a drink called Chaya, which is made from pineapple and orange juice plus an extract or puree of the chaya plant. The restaurant guy patiently explained this to me, but I now see this is a common local recipe.
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1 week ago

Humans also provided some "amusement". One group picked up rocks and pounded them to drive iguanas away so they could occupy the ideal spot for a photo. Given that even walking on many of the structures is prohibited, this rock wielding was out of place, to say the least.

Why are these folks climbing on the ruins?
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Photo op, of course
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Other humans were working more constructively. One was atop the Magician's Pyramid with a spray bottle - herbicide maybe. And others were in a roped off area with ladders and stuff, doing something no doubt importantly archeological.

Way up on the pyramid with a spray bottle
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What is he trying to achieve?
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Workers in a taped off zone. They seemed to have transit type equipment.
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Spray bottle man, climbing
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Hand weeding?
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We found a restaurant at the site, with more reasonable prices than at the hotel. We got  a takeout - empanadas and fajitas con pollo. Quality was really good!

There is a book store of sorts at the Uxmal site, and it did have some additional birding books. But the one we already have is swell. Other books included ones on Yucatecan cooking, and also, we noticed, lots of copies of Landas book. Maybe the despicable guy is getting rehabilitated, or maybe his book is somehow authoritative? The nearby town of Mani is where Landa burned the Mayan texts.  

We also noticed quite a few books in German. This could reflect just a lot of German tourists world wide, or perhaps they have a special interest in this area. Definitely German  immigrants came here in the early 19th century, and also around 1867 there were some attempts to kick start German colonies in this region.

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German language guide books on offer.
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From the walk back to our room - so pretty
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Our takeout
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Dodie is rather sicker today, but still plugging along, with some cold tablets. We have her in bed now (4 p.m.) but there is still lots of potential fun if she is up to it. Tomorrow we want to walk at dawn off into the forest and see what birds we can spot. Then there is a version of the "Choco Story" here. We have seen this in Europe but have avoided it.  Could be interesting. They also have a small "Mayan planetarium" that could be worth a look. Dodie will also hopefully  recover a bit, before we pedal off Saturday, further into the Puuc region.

Today's ride: 5 km (3 miles)
Total: 888 km (551 miles)

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Douglas LotenUxmal is great to seeā€¦ so is another fav, Mayapan!
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2 days ago
Steve Miller/GrampiesTo Douglas LotenI think we passed near Mayapan, but missed it. Ok, next time.
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2 days ago