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15 - MEXICO

Yucatan  -  30/12/03 - 01/01/04

The next few days were a mad whirlwind of riding, climbing pyramids and avoiding crowds. We went to Uxmal, Chechen Itza and Coba. They are all amazing and very different sights. Our favorite pyramid was at Uxmal and the maddest was Chechen Izta.

Uxmal

Birds!!

In front of the main pyramid at Uxmal there was a large plaza called the Plaza of the birds. It had carvings of birds round the edges. We were standing looking around when we realized that flocks of birds were swooping around above us and dipping in to the plaza, guess thatís why it got its name. I didnít stay too long. The hotel we stayed in at Uxmal was really cool, the roofs were very high palapas and the rooms gigantic. We could see the top of the pyramid from the balcony.

Oval Pyramid

We also had a pet frog in the bathroom. He sat above the mirror all evening frozen in one position. I kept calling to him to join R in the bath but he didn't budge an inch. R was most relieved. I got up in the middle of the night and froggy had moved. He was in the bin, lurking in the coffee grounds we had thrown away. We decided he must be pretty desperate to get to some water so put the bin outside the room on it's side so he could hop off. Next morning we saw him by the side of a swampy pond, smiling......not really.

We were just leaving Uxmal when we saw bike after bike heading in our direction. They were all BMW's and we waved madly at them. They waved back but all looked a little confused as to why we were going the other way!

There were so many people at Chechen Itza all climbing the pyramid so we left it until last when all the coach parties had left. It has no levels to stop at. Ninety two stairs straight up and really steep. I can't work out why the steps are so deep. I thought the Mayan's were kind of short, but a lot of these steps come up to my knee. Still not very high you might think, but its bloody hard work.

El Castillio

Arhhhhhh!

We decided to go for it and not stop, got to the top, I turned round and freaked out a bit!

R reckons they are so steep so you can only approach the temples on the top with bowed heads.

Going down was worse. There was a guy at the top who I thought was going to be in real trouble. He was saying to his family that he would have to take some time and work out how to get down; his eight year old daughter suggested closing his eyes might help. At this point his wife quickly decided to take the kids down and leave him to work it out in peace! He did eventually get down, very slowly.

People die every year and I'm really not surprised.

There were Sound and Light shows in the evening at Uxmal and Chechen Itza, they were pretty lame but it was cool to be in the grounds at night and it was free. It was New Years Eve at Chechen Itza and we tried phoning our parents at their midnight without much luck. R managed to get through to his just as the show started and had to disappear off to shout at them over the booming Spanish commentary.

Sound & Light

Happy New Year!

We had a very quiet New Year as everyone seemed to be getting up mega early to see the sunrise or something, they take their sightseeing very seriously these Americans. We stunned the waiter by ordering a bottle of champagne. Three different guys came and checked to see if they'd got it right. It took so long we suspect they didn't have any chilled. Either that or they had to go to Mexico City for it. Eventually it arrived and we were able to see 2004 in properly if a bit quietly. We poured the last of it over the bike, just for luck.

Coba Sunset

In Coba we got the last room in the hotel near by. It was baking hot so we decided to see the ruins the next morning. A couple of hours later we went for a walk and motorbikes started to arrive. It was the same bunch we had seen at Uxmal.

It turned out they were the BMW Mottorad Club of Italy. They are here for two weeks touring the Yucatan. They were all very friendly and interested in our trip; it was pretty hard work though as we speak no Italian and they didn't speak much English. We all resorted to Spanish a few times!

They have all their gear carried for them in a big van and a mechanic back up. It was all very civilized and they came down for dinner in sparkly outfits and uncreased shirts.

We saw them off the next morning at 7.30 when we were off to climb another pyramid.

Italian Bikers

Top of Pyramid

The ruins at Coba are quite overgrown and in the middle of a large forest. We got to the top of the pyramid, the tallest one in the Yucatan, and all we could see was trees for miles around. Just the top of one of the other buildings was visible. Everything had been swallowed up. It's amazing that any of these places were found again.

Go to the gallery for Uxmal

Go to the gallery for Chechen Itza

Go to the gallery for Coba


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