Uxmal Adventures

Tuesday morning in Merida was the late start that I really needed on Monday, after the countless hours of travel and four hours sleep.

Just the same, I was awake by 7.

The tour destination of the day was Uxmal. But first, the people.

October is a quiet time of year to be visiting Mexico, and I didn’t know how many people would be on my tour. The day before had been a small group, but steadily the minibus stops at more places, and the group fills out.

Among my companions for the day were a couple in their 20s or 30s who greeted us with a brief Buenas dias when they boarded, a group of Belgian and German girls, and two Mexican gentlemen I’d had the pleasure of meeting on my tour the day before.

They were pleased and surprised with my enthusiastic Hola amigos, to me their familiar faces were almost like old friends.

The minibus was noisy, but I strained to overhear the couple seated behind me, I couldn’t hear what they were saying, and I tried to pick up their accents.

The tour destination of the day was Uxmal. But first, the people.

October is a quiet time of year to be visiting Mexico, and I didn’t know how many people would be on my tour. The day before had been a small group, but steadily the minibus stops at more places and the group fills out.

Among my companions for the day were a couple in their 20s or 30s who greeted us with a brief buenas dias when they boarded, a group of Belgian and German girls, and two Mexican gentlemen I’d had the pleasure of meeting on my tour the day before.

They were pleased and surprised with my enthusiastic Hola amigos, to me their familiar faces were almost like old friends.

The minibus was noisy but I strained to overhear the couple seated behind me, I couldn’t hear what they were saying and I tried to pick up their accents.

Uxmal

I saw Chichen Itza recently described derisively as a hole by a Mexican person. Others commented that it was a flea market.

An article online had been reporting plans by the Mexican government to raise admission prices for foreigners to the site.  Most people were commenting on the article had been more interested in criticising the decision to let countless traders into the site.

One person mentioned that people should visit Uxmal instead, and another responded that it should be kept “secret” for longer.

It’s inaccurate to call it secret, but Uxmal was serene and almost deserted compared to Chichen Itza. And there wasn’t a single person trying to sell you anything within the site.

We walked up some steps into the site and were greeted with a view of a giant pyramid. A few of us paused to take photos and were told — this is the back, unadorned, side of the pyramid.

On the other side was not just a pyramid but a large city. You aren’t looking at one building, there is a palace, a pyramid, a ball court and much more. Uxmal is also remarkably well preserved.

We were there for hours. As we wandered around the grounds, feeling carefree, we silently admired the engraved Mayan lattices in the stonework.

From the top of one temple, if you look in the right direction off into the dense canopy jungle, you can just about see the top of another, crumbling stone building.

The cities stretch for miles, and there is so much still undiscovered across what was the Mayan empire.

Lunch that day was a restaurant our group had almost to ourselves. Over chocilata and beers, I found that the couple whose accents I hadn’t been able to make out on a noisy minibus were from Mandurah, a city a little way south of Perth.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *