So we walked in the rain and met with Rosalia. She explained that this piece of fascist manufactured paradise is infamous for that practice. Nevertheless we thwarted their nefarious plan and set off with Rosalia to visit Coba, the ruins of a sprawling Mayan community that covered some eighty square kilometers. On the way she explained that the wet season started early this year and has been exceptionally prolonged. When we arrived the parking lot was flooded and apparently has been for some time. Not inches of water, it was many feet deep and totally unusable so we had to park on higher ground and do a little walking.
As we entered the site we saw little frogs everywhere. All the standing water has allow for the frog population to boom and as we walked little waves of frogs would jump out of our way. The lake that is the parking lot is filled with tadpoles and I expect soon ruins will be overrun. As we explored I started recruiting frog soldiers to overthrow the management at our hotel. Once inside we rented bicycles so as to cover ground more quickly and off we rode.
The gravel paths are well maintained and the breeze from riding was quite refreshing. We biked a couple kilometers to the far side of the area open to the public and when we stopped I began sweating immediately. Our first stop was at the Nohoch Mul pyramid. It is one of the few Mayan pyramids that you can climb in the Yucatan and we made the ascent, one hundred and twenty steep slippery steps. The view from the top was quite nice and it proved that Rosalia was telling us, the landscape is completely flat and the trees are relatively short because there is only a thin layer of soil covering the rocky earth beneath.
Next we made our way to what people tend to call the observatory, a large rounded mound of stone construction. Rosalia said that it was really more of a marker to let travels on the ancient stone road know that they were approaching the pyramid that we just left. Given the protracted periods of rain the Mayans build stone roads that were raised so that seasonal flooding wouldn't impede travel. In some places these roads are nine foot high causeways.
We then moved on to a ball court. It was much smaller than those we saw in Xochicalco but it had the same general layout. There is a central aisle and angled ramps at the top of which was a stone ring on either side. The contests held were not for entertainment purposes but rather were rituals with religious significance and the current thought it that it might play some role in a fertility rite. We also found a large group of caterpillars munching on tree bark that I thought I would used as my air force once their metamorphosis is complete. I also found a small basilisk eating a spider that would make a good general and more frogs to use as navy seals.
Our final stop as at the church, another smaller pyramid near the entrance to the archeological zone. It was much like the larger Nohoch Mul pyramid but on a smaller scale. By this time there were more tourists arriving and we moved a little more quickly through the press to see what we could and move on. I recruited another larger basilisk to be a general in my army and we made our way out to where we parked so we could find some lunch.
Our meal was rather simple but tasty affair at a cocina economica, an economical kitchen, with a relatively limited menu. Francene and I shared a number of appetizers and all were delicious but there might have been a little too much cheese for my tastes. I guess I will have some odd dreams tonight.
Once we had eaten our fill it was back into the car and off to Punta Laguna nature reserve. Here we had a Mayan guide who walked us through the jungle in the hopes of finding some monkeys. I was looking forward to this because I need an admiral for my army and a monkey would be an ideal candidate. Within five minutes he stopped two and I quickly recruited them into my army. Holy war will be coming to the Grand Mayan Hotel!
Unfortunately it started raining pretty heavily so we took shelter as a wooden tower overlooking the lake. We all climbed to the top and waiting out the worst of the weather. It was a very pleasant way to spend fifteen minutes and we were soon making our way to a cenote. The opening was a small crack in the earth with barely enough room to squeeze through as we were lowered in a harness on a winch. Once through the aperture it opened up significantly and we were able to swim in the clean refreshing water. It was quite dark and we could see bats flitting past us but I think we all found it relaxing and refreshing. After a quick conference with the bats the agreed to anchor the moths in my air force.
By this time my army to overthrow the hotel management was quite large and satisfied with my progress we ascended the rope ladder one by one until we emerged from our little refuge. It was well into the afternoon so we all changed into dry clothes and got back into the car to the drive back to Playa del Carmen. On the was we decided to ask Rosalia for a restaurant recommendation explaining that if she dropped us off we would take a cab back to the hotel. After some thought she had a place in mind and after the relatively an hour and a half she was leaving us at a local seafood place. I had a filet of fish a la Mexicana and Francene and Evi split a seafood casserole. My fish was amazing, cooked perfectly and well spiced. It was probably may favorite meal in Mexico and we've already talked about going back for another excellent meal in the coming days.
Stuffed, we were able to hail a cab in the rain and came back to the room at our bastard hotel. With our early start we've all looked at our pictures from today, showered, and a getting ready for a good night's sleep.
Below is a picture of one of my new basilisk generals having a Shelob-snack.
Canon 1D X, Canon 100/f2.8L IS
100mm, f4, 1/160 sec @ 640 ISO