Tag Archives: Mayans

Cancun – The Mayans Could Never Have Predicted This

11 Jan

I guess you could say that this day was for me. While traveling, I like to see things that are interesting, and, on this day, we would see Chichen Itza, the Mayan ruins that have been named one of the new Seven Wonders of the World. A while back, I wrote a post about the Wonders that I have seen. Now, this one has been added to the list.Cancun 216

Now that I have looked back on that post, I realize that, last year, my wife and I added another Wonder to the list.

The adventure started out with a little drama. I knew that visiting the ruins was not high on my family’s list of things to do and offered to go by myself. However, my wife said that being that close meant that they should see it. When we told my stepdaughter, she went into a catatonic state while playing Rummy in the lobby. She absolutely did not want to go. She had learned about the Mayans in school and knew that they performed human sacrifices.

If that didn’t freak her out enough, then her teacher talked about her visit to some Mayan ruins. Apparently, her bus had to get on two wheels to keep from falling off a cliff. I don’t know where she went because the interstate we took was pretty smooth.

On Friday morning, we waited for the bus. I was excited, and my stepdaughter was sleepy. I am not sure how my wife felt, but I knew it wasn’t a good feeling when the bus pulled up to get us.Cancun - Bus

I am sure that we all thought the same thing. There was no way we were going to ride all day on that. Luckily, that was just the transportation to get us to the real transportation. Our other bus was nicer. It had bathrooms. They served breakfast. Plus, we had some interesting entertainment. I sat in front of a lady who spilled orange juice all over herself, and I saw behind a man who was, we think, spending his vacation with a male escort.

The trip wasn’t bad. I read a magazine about Pink Floyd and scanned the landscape as it went by. Before long, our guide was telling us all about the mysteries of Chichen Itza. The pyramid was the seat of power; a calendar; and a clock. He talked about the structure and the function of its parts. We walked around it and took pictures as he talked.

That’s when the unexpected happened. I was wearing my Cumberland University Cross Country t-shirt. A man walked up and asked if that was the Cumberland University in Lebanon, Tennessee. I said that it was and introduced myself. It turned out that he lived in Lebanon, too. We chatted for a few minutes, and he went back to his group. However, he came back to tell me that my teenaged nephew had taken his daughter on a date. Apparently, my nephew’s reputation with the opposite sex has gone international.

I think the guide was stunned by those events because he started talking about how aliens may have helped the Mayans. Here we go with the idea that those who were here before Europeans were not smart enough to do this themselves. They must have had help. Ridiculousness.

Anyway, we saw other interesting structures. There was the Temple of the Warriors where the sacrificing of humans took place.Cancun 218

There was the Skull Rack.Cancun 219

There was the Great Ball Court. The guide said that it was the site of theater and games, but no one knows for sure what those consisted of. It is known that this is the largest Mayan Ball Court ever discovered. Only the best performed here.Cancun 221

After spending several hours in historic nirvana, we headed to Valladolid, a Spanish colonial town that was founded in 1543. Along the way, we passed through several towns that were, to my eyes, the definition of poverty. This was what you don’t see at the resorts. Cinderblock houses with no doors. Burned out buildings. Stray dogs on the side of the road. People on the side of the road selling their wares. It looked as if the passing tourists were the only economy, and the tourists rarely stopped.

Valladolid was a bigger town, and every bus stopped there. We disembarked at the plaza, which looked a lot like the plazas I have seen before in Santa Fe, Albuquerque and Sonoma. Without a doubt, the Spanish took the same building plan wherever they went.Cancun 226

Did I mention that it was raining? Anyway, we walked a few blocks to what they called an authentic Mexican restaurant. It wasn’t authentic. It was a buffet that included french fries. It was a decently decorated restaurant, and I found this just past the bathrooms.Cancun 225

After the meal, we walked to a farmacias, but they didn’t have what we were looking for. That’s fine because they say laughter is the best medicine, and what happened next was super funny.

The last stop of the tour was a sinkhole. That’s right. A sinkhole. They said that the Mayans used it for something, but I think they just needed another tourist attraction.Cancun 228

Like everywhere else, there were people around the sinkhole selling their wares. As we walked out, this little girl with big brown eyes walked up to show us what she had. Barefooted. Been in the rain all day. In a sweet voice, my wife said, “No, no. No bueno.”

I thought for a second and said, “What did you say?”

“I said, ‘No, thank you.”

“You didn’t say that. You said that her stuff was no good. You told that little girl that she had bad stuff.”

My wife was mortified. She hadn’t tried to use Spanish the entire trip. Then, she said that. I couldn’t help but laugh. My stepdaughter tried to get her to go back and apologize, but she didn’t know how to say that. Instead, my wife said, “We just need to get on the bus.”

Somewhere in Mexico, there is a little girl traumatized because a lady told her that her stuff wasn’t any good.

After a long ride home, we ended the day with chocolate filled crepes. It was the best thing we had tasted in a while.

It was an awesome day.

How I Spent the End of the World

22 Dec

Ok, the world survived. Never mind that the world was not going to end, and the Mayans never said that it was. The Internet, pop culture, social media, and people in general took something (the Mayan calendar) that they didn’t understand and made something out of it that it never was. Shocking, I know. That never happens in modern times.

Some people prepared for the end that never came. Others joked about it. Some people had clever things to say on Twitter and Facebook. I spent 12/21/12 doing the following.

I was awake at midnight surfing the Internet and playing Slingo on my iPhone.

This is the guy that's going to cause the end of the world.

This is the guy that’s going to cause the end of the world.

In essence, I was succumbing to the same addictions that I succumb to every night.

I woke up to find the sun shining and the wind howling. In other words, it looked warm outside, but it was actually cold.

I took a shower, got dressed and did the only thing to prepare for the end of the world. I put on the t-shirt with “12.21.12.” printed on the front. In case it happened, I wanted everyone to know that I knew it was coming.

Once I was prepared for the day, I met the usual folks for our weekly Friday lunch at Gondola, the local Italian restaurant that is owned by Koreans.

I could only find a picture of the Gondola sign. I wonder if that is a sign of the apocalypse.

I could only find a picture of the Gondola sign. I wonder if that is a sign of the apocalypse.

We talked about sports, local politics, national politics and the end of the world. The end of the world part went something like this.

One of Them: When did the Mayans go extinct?

Me: They didn’t go extinct. They still exist. In fact, I read an interview with a few of them on CNN.

One of Them: You mean the Spanish didn’t kill them?

Me: No, the Europeans did not kill all of the Native Americans.

One of Them: I thought they killed all of the Indians.

Somewhere along the way, I changed the subject.

After lunch, I went to my parents because their phone lines had been knocked out. It was that howling wind that I mentioned earlier. It knocked lines down everywhere. Unfortunately, it also knocked out their Internet, which is almost like the end of the world.

After that, I sold 6 tickets and a parking pass for the Music City Bowl. Vanderbilt is playing in the bowl this year, which means that Vandy made a bowl game two years in a row. That’s a first for them and is a sign of the apocalypse if there ever was one.

Let’s see. Then, I bought one last Christmas gift before meeting my friends to go to a University of Tennessee basketball game.

They play here. It doesn't look like a Mayan pyramid, but it's a pretty good place to watch a game.

They play here. It doesn’t look like a Mayan pyramid, but it’s a pretty good place to watch a game.

We made the trip to Knoxville and got there just before tip-off. It was a victory by the Big Orange over Western Carolina.

We made it back safely. Now, I am writing this end of the world post while still wearing my end of the world t-shirt.